Adoption is a process that brings families together. While this process is detailed and at times invasive, it can be easier and go more smoothly if you work with an experienced attorney. At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we represent parents adopting children throughout Illinois and have significant experience handling adoption, contested adoptions, stepparent adoptions and more.
Our adoption attorneys are compassionate and assertive and offer frank advice to our clients. Whether your family law issue is complex or straightforward, we will give you the attention you deserve and take a direct and thorough approach to preparing your case. We will analyze your specific situation and provide careful planning and professional guidance through Illinois adoption law, based on your individual needs. We will be there for you throughout every step of the legal process, answering your questions and addressing your concerns.
Adoption occurs when an adult who is not the biological parent becomes the legal parent of the child, with all the rights and responsibilities a natural parent. Adoption in Illinois is governed by the Illinois Adoption Act (750 ILCS 50/0.01, et seq.). The Act lays out the different types of adoption in Illinois, who is eligible to adopt and be adopted, the process for terminating the biological parents’ parental rights, and the process of petitioning for adoption.
According to the adoption laws, any child, any adult residing in the adoptive home for two years, and any relative may be adopted. The adoptive parent typically must be over the age of 18, have a good reputation, and establish residency in Illinois for at least six months (unless this requirement is waived by the court).
Illinois has five types of adoption:
Some adoption situations, such as an uncontested adoption of a relative or through an agency, may be relatively simple, while others, such as a step-parent adoption where there are objections by the biological parent, can involve complex legal processes. Our compassionate Wolfe Stec adoption lawyers understand how important adoption is for every member of the family, and we will do everything possible to fight for your rights and make the process go smoothly and quickly.
There are several steps to the adoption process in Illinois, and our adoption attorneys will be there to handle all of them.
This involves filing a petition for adoption along with a consent to adoption in the circuit court where the petitioners, the child, or the biological parents reside. The petition must be filed within 30 days of the time that the child became available for adoption, unless there is permission given by the court. The petition must be served along with a summons upon all required parties. These parties may include biological parents who have not signed voluntary waivers of service and the adoptive child, if over 14 years old.
The interim order hearing is then held to decide who will have temporary parental responsibilities for the child to be adopted, whether parental responsibilities must be terminated, and whether a guardian ad litem will be assigned to represent the child. An investigator will be appointed to investigate the home of the adoptive parents and run a criminal background check.
After 6 months from the interim order hearing, there will be a final court hearing to review the investigator’s report, the guardian ad litem’s report, and affidavits submitted by the parties. At this time there will be an order finalizing the adoption.
The adoptive parents submit a completed certificate of adoption form to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to obtain a revised birth certificate. This will show the child’s new name (if applicable) and list the petitioners as the child’s parents. The original birth certificate will be sealed and may only be viewed by court order.
It’s natural for prospective adoptive parents to have questions and concerns, and our legal team is here to answer them. Here are some answers to questions we are frequently asked:
An adult may be adopted after having lived with the prospective adoptive parents for more than two years prior to the filing of the adoption petition.
At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., our experienced family law attorneys are very thorough in explaining the adoption process for clients and make certain that questions are always answered promptly. We will help make this process as seamless as possible and work to identify and resolve potential issues before they even start. In addition to adoptions and contested adoptions, we also handle related issues such as guardianships and conservatorships.
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