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High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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The Benefits of Adopting a Stepchild Who Has an Absent Parent

Posted on in Family Law

Hillside stepparent adoption lawyerIn the United States, a divorce is granted about once every 36 seconds, adding up to approximately 2,400 marriages ended every day. Although the divorce rate is 40% lower for families with children, nearly 50% of children born to married couples will witness the dissolution of their biological parents' marriage by the time they reach age 18. Many studies document the negative effects of divorce on children, but having two parents who stay involved with their children can minimize many of these effects. However, if one parent is willingly absent, a stepparent adoption can provide many benefits to both parents and children.

What It Means for a Stepparent to Adopt

There are more blended families in the United States today than ever before in history. The “his, hers, and ours” family is becoming commonplace, along with same-sex family adoptions. It has become well established that the term “family” does not necessarily refer to any existing biological link, but refers instead to who you choose to love and who loves you in return. 

When a parent divorces and decides to remarry, the new spouse becomes a stepparent of the child, with existing but limited responsibilities. The process of adopting the child of a spouse creates a legal connection between stepparent and child, efficiently severing any connection produced by a biological tie. For all intents and purposes of the law, the adoptive parent assumes the same rights and responsibilities as a biological parent. A few of the legal benefits of adoption include:

  • Authority to make decisions regarding medical care, school, religion, and medical status;
  • Providing medical, dental and other benefits; and
  • Rights to parental responsibilities and parenting time in case of a divorce.

Benefits for the Child

Creating a link between a stepparent and stepchild gives the child a sense of stability. The benefits of love, security, and belonging often far outweigh the legal benefits. Often, a stepparent adoption efficiently reduces some of the negative impacts of divorce on the emotional, mental, and even physical well-being of the child.

Adopting a Child When the Biological Parent Is Absent

Illinois does not allow three or more parents to have a biological connection to a child. If a stepparent wants to adopt, the biological parent must give up their legal rights. If the parent refuses to terminate their link or is absent, statutory grounds exist for establishing the parent as unfit, such as abandonment or failure to maintain interest and responsibility for the well-being of the child. 

Custody and adoption cases often involve multiple parties with conflicting interests, which can make such cases complicated, stressful and messy. By working with an experienced Oak Park, IL adoption attorney, parents and children can alleviate many of these stresses and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. The Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. has over 30 years of experience assisting clients with cases like yours. Contact us today by calling 708-449-7400 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098&ChapterID=59

http://www.cookcountycourt.org/Portals/0/County%20Division/Basics.PDF

https://www.thespruce.com/children-of-divorce-in-america-statistics-1270390

https://www.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/notices/Documents/CFS_403-E_Birth_Parents_Rights_and_Responsibilities_in_Illinois.pdf

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