Is Consent Required for Adoption in Illinois?

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights | Illinois Consent to Adoption Explained

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will explain voluntary termination of parental rights and consent to adoption in Illinois. We will answer "What Does it Mean to Terminate Parental Rights?", "When Can Parental Rights Be Voluntarily Terminated in Illinois?", and "Can a Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights Be Reversed in Illinois?" and we will also discuss How to Voluntarily Relinquish Parental Rights and Consent to Adoption.

Is Consent Required for Adoption?

In Illinois, prior to an adoption, the parental rights of the biological parents must be legally terminated.  In situations where a step parent seeks to adopt his or her spouse’s child, the parental rights of the other biological parent not involved in the marriage must first be terminated.

Termination of parental rights can be accomplished either voluntarily or involuntarily.  To learn more about involuntary termination of parental rights, check out our article: Termination of Parental Rights in Illinois Explained.  In this article we will discuss voluntary termination of parental rights.  In this context, termination of parental rights is generally accomplished through a consent to adoption.

What Does it Mean to Terminate Parental Rights?

When you voluntarily terminate your parental rights, you are no longer entitled to see the child or have any say in parenting decisions.  In addition, you will no longer be required to financially support the child, meaning that you are not required to pay child support.  

When Can Parental Rights Be Voluntarily Terminated in Illinois?

Adoption Laws explained in Illinois

Voluntary termination of parental rights requires court approval.  This approval is most typically only granted when an adoptive parent is prepared to step into the biological parent’s shoes.  Courts do not favor termination of parental rights in favor of the other biological parent when a second parent is not prepared to adopt, because it is generally in the best interest of the child for a second parent to have financial responsibility for supporting the child, even if that parent is not entitled to any parenting time or responsibility.  

In cases where an adoptive parent is not prepared to take over parental responsibility, a hearing is generally required during which it must be established that voluntarily relinquishing parental rights either to an adoptive parent or the the state is in the best interests of the child.

Illinois provides a mechanism for parents who can no longer care for their child to surrender their child to the custody of the state.  This is accomplished by submitting a Final and Irrevocable Surrender to an Agency for the Purposes of Adoption form to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.  

How to Voluntarily Relinquish Parental Rights and Consent to Adoption

When parental rights are being terminated as part of an adoption, a Consent to Adoption form will be filled out and signed by the biological parent along with an affidavit stating that he or she is the biological parent of the child, that he or she acknowledges that the child is being considered for adoption, and that he or she consents to the adoption.  Both forms are generally filed with the court along with the adoption petition.

Can a Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights Be Reversed in Illinois?

A voluntary termination of parental rights can be reversed in two situations:

  • When the termination was the result of fraud or duress; or
  • If the Illinois Department of Family Services files a motion to reinstate parental rights based on the best interests of the child--this typically occurs when the child has either not found a permanent home or is found to have been abused or neglected in his or her new home.  

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What Does it Mean to Terminate Parental Rights in Illinois?

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