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Key Things to Know Before Pursuing Stepparent Adoption in IllinoisIn Illinois, related adoptions are the most common type of adoption that takes place. Stepparent adoption, specifically, is the most common type of related adoption. Typically, a stepparent adoption takes place when one of the child’s parents is married or remarried to a person who is not the child’s biological parent. The spouse of the child’s parent would legally assume the rights and responsibilities to the child, but in some cases, it is easier said than done. Many children who have stepparents also have both biological parents who play a role in their lives and who might object to the adoption. Any type of adoption can be a complicated legal process, but in some ways, a related adoption can be even more difficult.

Facts to Consider Before Adopting

Many families pursue stepparent adoption because it gives the stepparent a way to formally and legally declare him or herself a parent to a non-biological child. Other families may pursue stepparent adoption as a way to establish two legal parents for a child if one parent is not involved in the child’s life. Either way, here are a few things you should consider before you begin the adoption process:

  • A child in Illinois is permitted to have only two legal parents at a time. If you are trying to adopt your stepchild, you will have to make sure that your child’s other parent either relinquishes his or her parental rights or petition to have his or her parental rights revoked.
  • Judges only grant stepparent adoptions to the stepparent who is married to the parent that the child spends the most time with. In other words, if a child’s father remarries and his new wife wants to adopt the child, but the child lives with his mother 75 percent of the time, the judge will probably not allow the adoption.
  • Typically, adoptions require a home study to be completed, which assesses the relationships and inner workings of the family that will adopt the child. Since stepparent adoptions are related adoptions, the home study requirement is waived.
  • Consent with related adoptions and stepparent adoptions can become complicated. Not only do you have to gain the consent of the child’s other biological parent, but in some cases, you may also have to gain the consent of the child. In Illinois, any child who is 14 or older must give their consent to be adopted.

Complete Your Family With Help From a DuPage County Adoption Lawyer 

In some ways, a stepparent adoption can be an easier process to go through than the traditional adoption process. In other ways, the stepparent adoption process can prove to be even more legally challenging. If you want to adopt your stepchildren but their other biological parent is objecting to the adoption, contact our knowledgeable Bolingbrook, IL, stepparent adoption attorneys today. At The Foray Firm, we understand that adoption is not only a legal process but an emotional challenge, as well. Contact our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Plainfield prenup lawyer family lawPrenuptial agreements used to be a taboo subject. In the past, it was often believed that if you got a prenup, you were expecting to get divorced. However, in this day and age, many Americans are waiting longer to get married, which means that they are entering marriage with more property and debt than those in past generations. Because of this, prenuptial agreements have become more and more common. 

A prenuptial agreement can help set guidelines for how you will go about your divorce if your marriage ever ends, and it can protect the assets you bring into the marriage and prevent you from being responsible for debts your partner may have. If you are wondering whether or not a prenuptial agreement is right for you, here are a few situations in which you may want to consider a prenup:

1. You or Your Partner Were Married Before

One reason why prenuptial agreements are becoming more common is because many people are entering second or subsequent marriages. If you or your spouse have been married before, a prenuptial agreement can address any obligations you may have from your first marriage.

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DuPage County adoption attorneyFor many couples who cannot or do not want to conceive a child, adoption is a great option for them to grow their family. There are thousands of American children in the foster care system and in private agencies waiting to find their forever families. However, adoption is a long, complex process that requires patience and a thorough knowledge of Illinois adoption laws. 

One issue that can be a point of contention during adoption is consent. There are certain people who must consent to an adoption before it can be finalized. If you are in the process of adopting, or even just thinking about adopting, it is important that you understand the consent requirements that must be met.

Who Is Required to Consent?

According to Illinois law, the birth mother and the birth father who has established paternity must consent to an adoption if they still hold the legal parenting rights to their child. In the case that the birth parents no longer have legal rights to their child, there are a few other entities that must consent. These can include:

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Will County paternity attorney family lawIt is widely understood in this day and age that children thrive when both of their parents play active roles in their lives. A father is just as important as a mother, even if the mother and father were not married when the child was born. Ideally, the father will play just as large a role as the mother, though that does not happen all of the time. 

It is extremely important to establish the paternity of your child, because without doing so, your child only has one legal parent. It can be a lengthy and complicated process to establish your child’s paternity if you were not married to the other parent at the time of the child’s birth, but it is not impossible.

Automatic Paternity

Paternity is the term used for the legal tie that a father has with his child. In cases where the mother is married or in a civil union at the time of the child’s birth or within 300 days before the child was born, the man she was married to or in a civil union with is automatically presumed to be the child’s legal father. If the mother was not married or in a civil union, then she must go about establishing the paternity of the child in a different manner. The parents may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, or paternity may be established through legal proceedings, which may order genetic testing to be completed.

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Joliet prenup attorneyTalking about divorce even before getting married is never something that couples want to do -- but sometimes it is a good idea. Prenuptial agreements are gaining more and more popularity with younger couples, especially because the average age of marriage is higher than it has ever been before. This means that couples are more likely to bring their own significant assets into a marriage, such as real estate property or retirement accounts. Prenuptial agreements (commonly known as “prenups”) can be tricky to create, especially since they can be declared invalid if they are not constructed carefully and correctly. Here are three mistakes you should avoid making when drafting a prenuptial agreement:

1. Not Being Truthful About Your Assets

When entering into a prenup, both spouses are required to fully disclose their assets to each other, including all property and debts. If one spouse tries to hide or undervalue certain assets, the entire prenuptial agreement could be dismissed by a court.

2. You Did Not Obtain Independent Counsel

Though it is not technically required by Illinois law to have an attorney when you enter into a prenuptial agreement, it is a good idea. When you and your spouse each have your own independent legal counsel, this tells the court that you both knew what you were signing and understood what the terms of the agreement meant. An argument could be made that one spouse did not fully understand the contract if he or she did not have an attorney, and this could be a reason for the agreement being found to be invalid.

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