Why not remove the title as stepfather to become the kids “father?”
You love your stepchildren. From the moment you met them to the day you married their mother – you committed to having a hand in raising them. They feel as if they are your own. Along with your spouse, there’s a feeling to make it official. Yes, you may legally be their father. Since both you and your wife agree, this makes the process much easier to get done – especially living in Illinois.
The simplest process to adopt as a stepparent in Illinois
First, you as a stepparent must be legally married to the mother before filing for adoption at your county court. Next, the biological mother must consent to adoption. Even when you are married, in this situation, the mother still has to grant consent for you to adopt the children. Third, if the biological father is still alive then he must forfeit his rights as a parent. In the state of Illinois, those are the steps to adopting stepchildren.
What can make adoption as a stepfather complicated?
There are several factors that can make the adoption process more complicated.
If the child is 12 years of age or older, then they will have to grant consent as well. In Illinois, there cannot legally be three parents given rights to a child. If the odd parent out decides not to waive their rights over the child this would drag out the process. To counter this, the stepparent would have to prove the other is “unfit” to be a parent for the child. There are may be a few avenues a stepparent can take when making a case the parent is unfit.
Benefits of stepparents adopting their children
Legally, being granted the rights as the father of your stepchildren makes you in the truest form “their father.” This could also help your spouse to move on from their previous relationship with the biological father. The parental arrangements once granted by court to the other parent, whether it was custody rights or visitation, will be terminated. This may reduce the role of the biological father to allow your family to function as a traditional family.
Once the adoption process is final, a new birth certificate may be made for the children with your name as the father. There is also the option of giving your stepchildren your last name.
If you have been raising your stepchildren for years and shown care for them as if they were your own, then why not make it official by legally adopting them as your own.