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  • Writer's pictureAngela Larimer

Understanding Second-Parent Adoption in Illinois 

Second-Parent Adoption in Illinois | Family Law Attorney

If you would like to understand and complete a second-parent adoption successfully in Chicago, call Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600 for assistance.

Second-parent adoption gives both parents equal legal rights to a child and is necessary for several situations. It is essential when one parent already has legal rights to a child, but the other parent does not. For instance, second parent adoptions help LGBTQ families solidify his or her parental rights. Second-parent adoption is also referred to as “co-parent adoption.” Anyone considering second-parent adoption in Chicago can learn more about it by contacting family law attorney Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600.

The Significance of Second-Parent Adoption

A second-parent adoption legalizes a non-birth parent’s parental relationship with a child. As a result, the non-birth parent gets the authority to make important decisions for a child and represent the interests of the child in school, medical settings, and other matters.

Avoiding Problems with Other States

Illinois recognizes parents of children born during marriages even if there is no biological connection between one of the parents and the child. However, many states are not required to recognize the non-biological parent if the parental relationship is only based on the birth certificate.

Birth certificates are administrative documents, which do not carry the same weight as court orders. Other states are not obliged to recognize administrative documents. However, other jurisdictions have to recognize a court-ordered adoption judgment or decree that formally declares a person as a co-parent.

Therefore, even if one is married, he or she may want to secure parental rights for himself or herself over the child by completing a second-parent adoption. That provides legal security if the family moves to another state or experiences an issue during an out-of-state vacation.

Legal Security After Divorce or Death

Failure to get a second-parent adoption could jeopardize the parental rights of a non-biological parent after the child’s biological parent becomes incapacitated or dies. If there is no decree or judgment of adoption, a guardian court or state agency may place the child with a legally recognized relative or in foster care. The non-biological parent lacks any legally recognized relationship with that child. He or she may be excluded from parenting decisions and be denied visitation. The parent and the child may even lose all contact.

A second-parent adoption prevents this scenario from happening. It also secures the non-biological parent’s parent-child relationship in the event of a separation or divorce.

Who Can Get a Second-Parent Adoption?

Illinois is adoption-friendly. A person seeking a second-parent adoption in the state has a good chance of getting it. In Cook County, unmarried couples can also get a second-parent adoption.

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