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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 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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