Step-Parent, Adult & Relative Adoption
A step-parent adoption is the most common type of adoption. In this type of adoption, the court can waive the requirement that the adoptive family have an adoption study done. Most courts will do this as long as the step-parent has been married to the legal parent for more than one year. If an adoption study is required, it is usually done by the adoptive parents' county social services.
If the birth father of the child is listed on the birth certificate, was married to the birth mother, was adjudicated the father by a court, or has paid child support, his rights must be dealt with before the step-father can adopt the child. This can be done either voluntarily by the birth father signing a Final and Irrevocable Consent to Adoption or involuntarily by a court finding that he is an “unfit person” under the Illinois Adoption Act.
An adult can be adopted by another adult under Illinois law. There is no requirement that the parents of the person being adopted agree to the adoption since the adoptee is an adult. The person being adopted must have resided with the adoptive parent for a period of two years and must sign a Consent to Adoption. Generally, no adoption study is required since the adopting person will not be raising a child. The motivation for adoption may be to legally recognize an already existing parent/child relationship, to insure inheritance, or to derive some other benefit.
A relative adoption is a legal process by which the adoptive parents, one or both of whom are already related to the child, become the child’s legal parents. Examples of relative adoptions: those that occur when one or both of the adoptive parents are the child’s biological grandparent, brother, sister, step-grandparent, step-brother, step-sister, uncle, aunt, great uncle, great aunt, or cousin of first degree. The Adoption Act requires that the child be legally “available” for adoption in these cases. In preparation for drafting the petition for adoption in a related case, it is necessary to review the child’s birth certificate, the marriage license of the petitioners, any dissolution orders of the petitioners, and any custody orders related to the child to be adopted. The object is to make certain that the adopting parents meet the requirements set by Illinois law of persons who are able to adopt a child.