Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162



How to Address Obstacles That May Arise During a Step-Parent Adoption

 Posted on October 05, 2021 in Family Law

Oak Park Stepparent Adoption AttorneyThe divorce rate in the United States is high, and after ending their marriage, former spouses will often begin new relationships or get remarried. Blended families are common, and stepparents will often build strong relationships with their stepchildren. A stepparent adoption may be used to solidify these bonds, making a stepparent the child’s legal parent who will have obligations to provide for the child’s needs and the right to maintain a close relationship with them. However, even when a stepparent adoption may seem like the best solution for everyone involved, some obstacles may arise during the adoption process, and parents will need to understand the best ways to resolve these issues.

Issues That Can Affect a Step-Parent Adoption

One of the primary challenges in a stepparent adoption is obtaining consent from the child’s other biological parent. In Illinois, a child can only have two legal parents, and before a stepparent can adopt the child, the other parent’s parental rights must be terminated. A parent can voluntarily agree to terminate their parental rights by signing a consent form, but in some cases, they may refuse to give consent, or it may be difficult to locate them to obtain consent.

There are some situations where a parent’s parental rights may be involuntarily terminated. In these cases, the other parent and the stepparent will usually need to demonstrate that the parent is unfit. A parent may be considered unfit in the following situations:

  • They have deserted the child for at least three months prior to the beginning of adoption proceedings, failed to visit or communicate with the child for 12 months, or failed to make a reasonable effort to meet their child support obligations;

  • They have not maintained a reasonable level of interest in the child’s welfare;

  • They have committed continuous, substantial neglect of the child or failed to protect the child from unsafe conditions;

  • They have committed abuse of the child or treated them with extreme cruelty;

  • They have engaged in open adultery or fornication;

  • They have exhibited habitual drunkenness or drug addiction; or

  • They have committed “depravity,” which may include convictions for a violent crime or three or more felony convictions, with at least one conviction occurring within five years before a petition to terminate parental rights was filed.

If a step-child is at least 14 years old, they will also need to consent to an adoption. If a child does not wish to consent, family counseling may be a good idea. During these sessions, the parent, step-parent, and child can discuss the child’s concerns and work to establish stronger family relationships, providing the child with a better sense of security and helping them understand the long-term benefits that a step-parent adoption will provide to their family.

Contact Our Hillside Step-Parent Adoption Lawyer

While stepparent adoptions are often the easiest and most straightforward types of adoption cases, there are some complications that may arise during this process. Parents can make sure they are prepared to address and resolve these legal issues by working with an experienced lawyer. At Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C., we can advise you of your rights and options and help you complete a stepparent adoption successfully. Contact our Oak Park family law attorney at 708-449-7404 to arrange a free consultation today.


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