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

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Oak Park IL family law attorneyIn today's world, there is no such thing as an "average" family. Years ago, the traditional mother, father, and baby set-up was the norm, but nowadays, things are much different. According to the 2018 American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau, more than 6 million people lived in a household with a child who is not biologically related to them, including in a stepfamily. One reason for this is that many people who get divorced end up getting remarried, which often creates blended families, bringing children from prior marriages together in one household.

One question that may go through any stepparent's mind is whether they can adopt their stepchild. While there is definitely a legal way to adopt a stepchild, it can be a somewhat complicated process. There are many details pertaining to the adoption process that you will have to understand and address before you are able to adopt your stepchild.

Determining Adoption Eligibility

Before you can adopt your stepchild, you must be sure that you actually qualify to adopt him or her. In Illinois, adopting a stepchild requires:

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Oak Park family law attorney prenuptial agreement

The idea of signing a prenuptial agreement (prenup) is often thought to be a taboo topic to bring up with your spouse or loved one. Some people may think that wanting a prenup is a sign that you do not trust your soon-to-be spouse, or that you do not see the marriage lasting. While these perceived negatives do exist with regard to prenups, many millennials are still deciding to enter into this legal document. In the past, many couples got married right out of high school or college, with little or no savings or income, and also filing for divorce was considered giving up too easily. But times have changed, and so have views regarding marriage. With many couples waiting to get married until they are in their 30s or even 40s, such individuals often have many more assets to bring into a marriage, making them want to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement.

A Financial Gap

The most common reason that you may have heard of prenuptial agreements is that many celebrities enter into them to protect their assets in case of divorce. While not everyone is a rich and famous celebrity, it is fairly common for individuals to come into a marriage with very different financial situations. One spouse may have a large sum of money in savings, or perhaps he or she received an inheritance from a family member, while his or her partner is not as financially fortunate. Upon getting married without a prenup addressing this kind of a large asset difference, oftentimes most assets will then be considered marital. This could mean that your spouse might be able to receive a portion of your money in the event a divorce occurs. However, if you address this asset gap before the marriage in a prenup, your savings are more likely to be protected and reserved for you.

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Oak Park family law attorney for step-parent adoptionIt is common for divorced or unmarried parents to eventually move on from their previous partner and seek out a romantic relationship with someone new. When starting a new relationship, parents will need to consider the manner in which their children will relate to their new partner. Relationships between step-parents, and step-children relationships, can be tricky to navigate, especially in the beginning stages. However, by using the tips below, a step-parent can build a healthy and loving relationship with their step-child. And over time, a step-parent may decide that legal adoption is a further step they want to take.

The Dos and Don’ts of Step-Parenting

There is no tried-and-true playbook on how to parent, whether you are a biological parent or a step-parent. However, boundaries are often one of the main issues that step-children have with their parent’s new partner. Step-kids can often feel as if their step-parent is trying to replace their biological parent, and boundary issues can arise when a step-parent tries to discipline their step-child. 

It is important to have a conversation with your partner about what the parenting dynamics in your relationship are going to be. Some parents may expect their new spouse to take on a more involved parental role, while others may wish to avoid the issues that can arise regarding boundaries and discipline. There is no right or wrong approach, but discussing expectations can help eliminate any gray areas that may arise.

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Posted on in Family Law

Hillside step-parent adoption attorney Step-children and their step-parents have unique relationships. Sometimes, step-parents can have a role similar to the child’s biological parents, while other times, step-parents and step-children may simply co-exist in the same household. This relationship can evolve over time, especially for children whose biological parent has passed away, or who still have a relationship with both of their biological parents. For step-parents who have a close relationship with their step-children, it may be beneficial to officially adopt their child. While doing this may not be the choice of every step-parent, some do choose to legally recognize the relationship with their step-child, with the help of an adoption attorney.

What Are the Benefits of Step-Parent Adoption?

Many step-parents who decide to adopt their step-children do so to officially recognize their relationship in the eyes of the law. This can make the relationship more legitimate, not just legally but also personally, and it can often bring a step-parent closer to their step-child. While there may be emotional benefits to adopting a step-child, there are also a variety of legal advantages that come along with this process:

·         Legal Parentage - One of a parent’s biggest concerns is ensuring that their child will be cared for if anything ever happens to them. Adoption can ensure that a child has another parent who will retain custody of the child if one parent dies. This can be beneficial for those who have lost a spouse, or for children who do not have two responsible biological parents. By adopting your step-child, you can ensure that the child has two legal parents who are able to care for them if a life-threatening emergency ever occurs.

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Oak Park prenup attorneyNowadays, it’s common for two people who are planning to marry to create and sign a prenuptial agreement. While it was once considered a document that was only necessary for the rich and famous, a prenup can actually provide benefits for couples at all income levels. This type of agreement can help a couple determine ahead of time how their marital property will be divided in the event they decide to part ways and get a divorce. It may also spell out how assets or property will be handled during the marriage, such as whose name will be on mortgages, car loans, insurance policies, retirement benefits, etc. 

When creating a prenuptial agreement, being open and honest regarding what each person brings to the marriage can lay a solid foundation of trust. With a prenup in place, a couple can make decisions that can help avoid conflict if the marriage does not work out. 

Issues to Consider In a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that an engaged couple signs before getting married. The agreement becomes valid on the day the marriage takes place. Illinois prenuptial agreements can address any of the following subjects:

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