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DuPage County family law attorney parental rights

When a mother gives birth to a child, she automatically receives legal privileges and responsibilities referred to as “parental rights.” If the mother is married, her husband is presumed to be the baby’s father and therefore he gains parental rights as well. Unmarried fathers can establish paternity and obtain parental rights by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). However, there are some circumstances in which a parent may wish to give up his or her parental rights. Often, a parent seeks to terminate his or her parental rights so the child can be adopted.  

Voluntarily Giving Up Your Parenting Rights

Parental rights include the right to parenting time, the right to object to the child being placed for adoption, and much more. However, being a child’s legal parent may also incur certain responsibilities such as a child support obligation. Children can only have two legal parents. If a stepparent wishes to adopt his or her stepchild, the other parent may need to terminate his or her parental rights. The court also has the authority to terminate a parent’s rights against his or her will in situations involving abandonment, abuse, or other issues that endanger the child. 

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Wheaton family law attorney for termination of parental rightsIllinois courts presume that it is in a child’s best interests to have both parents involved in their life. However, it takes a great deal of responsibility and attention to adequately care for a child. If a parent cannot satisfactorily provide for a child’s needs, or if spending time with the parent may put the child in danger, the parent may be considered “unfit.” When a parent is declared unfit, the courts no longer presume that it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with that parent. When addressing family law issues, the parties involved will want to understand how parental fitness laws may affect the outcome of their case.

Illinois Law Regarding Parental Fitness

The issue of parental fitness is often explored during adoption. Typically, consent from both biological parents is required for an adoption to occur. However, if a parent is found to be unfit by “clear and convincing evidence,” the parent’s parental rights may be terminated. The adoption may then be permitted even without that parent’s consent. An unfit parent is typically defined as a parent who does not have the child’s best interests at heart. In Illinois, parental rights can only be terminated through a juvenile case initiated by the state or in conjunction with the Adoption Act. During a parental fitness hearing, the burden of proof is on the party claiming that the parent is unfit.

The following issues are often used as grounds to establish that a parent is unfit in Illinois:

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DuPage County family law adoption attorney

Deciding to adopt a child can be one of the most rewarding choices of your life. Adoption can change the future of the adopted child as well as yours. According to recent statistics, there are over 100,000 kids waiting to be adopted in the United States, and more than 400,000 children are in foster care. However, it is important to note that adoption requires more than just welcoming a child into your home and lots of paperwork. Below are some practical tips to help you prepare mentally for expanding your family through adoption. 

Consider the Responsibility

Make sure you are on the same page as your partner. Adopting a child can be a long and taxing process that will require much work from both of you. If one of you is having doubts, or if your heart is not in the process, then things between the two of you may become difficult and lead to arguments. Make sure adoption is something you both want before taking this monumental step.

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Naperville adoption attorney

Choosing to adopt a child is a wonderful opportunity and a chance to give a child in need a loving and healthy home. If you are considering adoption, you need to know that the process can be lengthy and complicated. It is important to find a qualified adoption lawyer to help you meet your legal requirements and ensure that nothing will stop you from providing a loving home to an adoptive child.

Naturally, there are differences between raising an adopted child and a biological child. You will likely want to discuss the adoption with your child, and the way you approach these conversations can be different, depending on the child’s age, the circumstances of the adoption, and your relationship with them. While conversations about adoption can be tricky, and they are likely to provoke a variety of questions from a child, planning for how to address these issues can ensure that you approach the subject in the right way, strengthening your relationship with your child. Here are a few tips to make the conversation easier:  

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Naperville adoption attorneyThose who are looking to adopt a child may give an orphan the opportunity to have a future family and home, and this can be very beneficial for everyone involved. There are children all over the world who need homes, and international adoption allows parents to provide these children with the family life they need. However, the adoption process can be lengthy and difficult, and if you are considering adopting a child from another country, the legal steps to follow can be even more complicated and stressful. In recent years, countries like Ethiopia, South Korea, Romania, Guatemala, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia have all reduced the number of international adoptions allowed. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, international adoptions dropped by 72 percent, decreasing from 46,000 to 12,000, with only 5,500 children being adopted by U.S. parents.

Claims Regarding the Safety of Children

When reducing the number of international adoptions, some countries have stated that these decisions were made to ensure the safety of adoptive children. When banning or curtailing international adoptions to the U.S., Russia and Ethiopia both cited cases of negligence from American parents which resulted in a child’s death. However, research has shown that in the past two decades, only 19 children who were adopted from Russia by U.S. parents died because of abuse or neglect, out of a total of 60,000 adoptive children. This statistic has led some to believe that these bans are not motivated by a desire for child safety, but are in fact related to international politics.

Politics and International Adoption

International relations heavily impact whether or not a country will allow its children to be adopted by parents from another country. For example, Russia stopped adoptions to the United States two weeks after the U.S passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. This law imposed sanctions on some Russian officials who had been accused of corruption, and the adoption ban was apparently implemented in response. This is far from the only instance of adoption bans being motivated by politics; South Korea temporarily banned international adoptions after a bad year at the 1988 Olympics, and it was believed that they no longer wanted to “export their greatest commodity.”

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