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Hillside, IL 60162

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Should I Legally Adopt My Stepchild?

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.

·         Inheritance Rights - Children have legal rights to receive an inheritance from their parents, unless a will specifies otherwise. Step-parents who do not have biological children may want to adopt their child to ensure that their step-child will inherit assets from them after they have died. While worrying about inheritance allocations may seem like an issue that will not need to be addressed immediately, it is always advantageous to prepare for an unpredictable future, with the help of an estate planning attorney.

·         Financial Benefits - Medical insurance coverage can also be one of the deciding factors for step-parents considering adoption. Like any other biological or adopted child, step-children are eligible to be included on a step-parent’s medical insurance policy once the legal adoption is official. Adoptive children will also be eligible to receive Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, and any other benefits which are available to a parent’s legal children.

The Step-Parent Adoption Process

The adoption process for step-children is not significantly different than other adoptions, aside from a lower cost and shorter wait time. Before the adoption process can begin, the step-parent will need permission from the other biological parents, if they are both still alive. If both biological parents are still alive, one parent must consent to have their parental rights terminated, since the child can only have two legally recognized parents. The step-parent will then need to file a “petition to adopt” to begin the legal process. This will be followed by a court hearing at which a judge will approve of the adoption. After the adoption is finalized by the court, the parents will need to apply for a new birth certificate for the child which names the step-parent as a legal parent of the child.

Contact a Hillside, IL Family Law Attorney

Step-parent adoptions may appear to be fairly straightforward; however, the process can become quite complicated, especially if a child’s biological parent does not want to give up their parental rights. At the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C., our adoption lawyer will work to make sure that your step-child has two parents who care for them, whether they are related by blood or not. With over 32 years of experience, Mr. Machroli has helped numerous clients grow their families by adoption throughout the Western Suburbs of Chicago. If you are a step-parent who is considering adoption, contact our Oak Park adoption lawyer at 708-449-7404 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

 

https://adoption.org/benefits-adopting-stepchild

https://adoption.org/9-things-know-adopting-stepchild

 

 

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