location22 Crissey Ave, Suite 100, Geneva, IL 60134

Free consultations


Can I Legally Adopt My Stepchild? 

 Posted on December 08, 2022 in Divorce / Family Law

Kane County Adoption AttorneyStepparent adoption refers to the adoption of the child of one's spouse. Stepparent adoptions are often done when the biological parent cannot be found or has abandoned the child, or if there is a need to change the legal relationship between the stepparent and stepchild. Although many stepparents are closer to their stepchildren than the child's biological parents, stepparents have very few legal rights. For example, if a stepfather helps raise a stepson and then he and the child's mother divorce, the stepfather has no right to parenting time with the child.

Fortunately, Illinois law offers a legal avenue for stepchild adoption. Once a stepparent adopts a child, he or she gains all of the rights and responsibilities associated with being a parent. If you are interested in adopting your stepchild, read on to learn more.

Illinois Stepparent Adoption Laws

To adopt your stepchild in Illinois, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a resident of Illinois for at least 6 months.

  • You must be legally married to the child's biological parent and live with that parent.

  • The other biological parent (the non-spouse) must either consent to the adoption, or have his or her parental rights terminated.

  • You must be approved by the court to adopt the child.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights in Illinois

Some biological parents agree to terminate their parental rights in order to allow a stepparent to adopt their child. However, if the other biological parent of your stepchild is unwilling to consent to the adoption, you can ask a court to terminate his or her parental rights. This is known as involuntary termination. A judge may grant an involuntary termination if it finds that the non-spouse parent has abandoned the child or is "unfit." Some situations that may lead to involuntary termination of parental rights include:

  • Incarceration

  • Abuse or neglect of the child

  • Severe mental illness

  • Abandonment of the child

  • Failure to communicate with or visit the child for at least 12 months

  • Drug or alcohol abuse

If a court grants an involuntary termination of parental rights, the non-spouse parent no longer has any legal rights or responsibilities towards the child. This will allow you to move forward with the adoption process.

Contact our Geneva Stepparent Adoption Lawyer

Adopting your stepchild gives you the same rights and obligations as a biological parent. If you are interested in adopting your stepchild, contact Kane County adoption attorney Reese Krajniak for help. Call Loire Krajniak Law, LLC at 630-448-2406 to schedule your free consultation.



Share this post:
Back to Top