In this article, we discuss the procedures and required documents for a related adoption in Illinois and answer the following questions:
- What information should be obtained at the initial meeting?
- What documents are required for a related adoption in Illinois?
- What are the normal court procedures for a related adoption in Illinois?
What Information Should Be Obtained At the Initial Meeting?
The adoption process can feel taxing and at times unnecessarily cumbersome, but the system is meant to operate with the child’s best interest in mind. A simple adoption process with few checks and balances would greatly increase the likelihood of child trafficking and children ending up in potentially dangerous or life threatening situations. Even in related adoptions when the child knows the adoptive parents there are still many steps that must be completed before an adoption is considered final. Much of the information will be collected during the first meeting between the attorney and the clients, including:
- Confirming the relationship between the clients and the child;
- Obtaining the child’s birth certificate;
- Obtaining the clients’ marriage license (if applicable) and prior divorce decrees;
- Any court orders affecting the custody of the child, including those associated with the biological parent;
- Obtain information regarding the whereabouts and status of the biological, legal, and/or putative parents;
- Check if the biological father is listed on the child’s birth certification and if enough information can be gathered to check the Putative Father Registry (this is only necessary of the information to confirm the child’s father is not already present);
- A search of the putative father registry is not necessary if the father’s parental rights have been terminated, evidence that the child was born during marriage, the father’s name is on the birth certificate, the father is dead, or the father has consented to the adoption.
- If the child is 14 years or older the child’s consent must be collected; and
- In the case of a single parent, it should be determined if the parent is divorced, widowed, etc and any explanation as to why the situation is what it is
What Documents Are Required For a Related Adoption In Illinois?
There are number of documents that must be completed throughout the related adoption process, including:
The Petition For Adoption: The petition for adoption is the primary document containing all the information usually gathered by the attorney and his or her clients during the initial meeting. The petition must contain information such as:
- The legal names of all parties involved;
- Residency information;
- All the information on the child to be adopted;
- The relationship of the child to each petitioner;
- Information on the biological parents;
- The name of the child to be used after the adoption is finalized; and
- Any prior legal orders, judgments, etc affecting the adoption;
The Interim Order: The Interim Order appoints a guardian ad litem to the child’s adoption case as well as an investigator. If the biological parents’ parental rights have been terminated the interim order serves to grant or confirm temporary custody to the adoptive parents.
The Case Management Order: The case management order exists to set the date for the entry of judgment on the adoption case.
A Motion For Default and Default Order: If the biological or legal parents’ parental rights have not been terminated and they do not consent to the adoption the motion for default order will be used to request that their parental rights be terminated prior to the judgment order for the adoption.
Judgement Order For Adoption: The judgment order for adoption is the court document indicating that a judgment has been entered and that, presumably, the child is now the legal child of the adoptive parents. It also contains much of the same information as the petition for adoption, including what name the child will go by.
Certificate of Adoption: This document is required to order a new birth certificate for the adopted child.
Information Affidavit For the Investigator: This contains the information gathered by the investigator handling the adoption case and reviewed by the guardian ad litem.
What Are the Normal Court Procedures For a Related Adoption In Illinois?
The process for a related adoption is fairly standardized, the steps can be found below:
- It’s encouraged to e-file the petition for adoption;
- Pick a date for the family to “appear” before the court for the initial presentment of the case and the entry of the interim order. This must be done within 30 days of the filing of the petition unless this is not possible (such as in the case of military service);
- Once a date has been finalized the adopting parents (or more likely their attorney) should contact the County Division Adoption Clerk;
- Determine if one or both of the parents plan to sign the irrevocable and final consent to adoption in court. This information should be relayed to the adoption coordinator;
- When the case is called in court the family should hand the judge and all other appropriate individuals the interim order, case management order and any other pertinent documents related to the adoption. After this the family’s court appearance is considered complete;
- Deliver copies of all the same information to the guardian ad litem and pay the GAL fee;
- File a Motion For Default if the biological or legal parent’s parental rights still need to be terminated;
- From here the attorney should see the process through and make the appropriate follow-ups as needed. As long as everything proceeds normally the attorney will send the adoptive parents the judgment order certifying that the adoption is complete. A new birth certificate should arrive shortly thereafter.
Working with an experienced family law or adoption attorney will help to make the adoption process proceed smoothly with as few issues as possible. If you have any questions on related adoption please give us a call at 630-324-6666.