SECOND PARENT ADOPTION?
In Cook County, Illinois, the courts have held, and the appellate court affirmed, that same sex parents do have standing under the Adoption Act to petition the court for adoption.
Cook County, Illinois, handles a large number of "second parent" also called "co-parent adoptions" also referred to as "same sex adoptions". The Cook County courts have allowed the adoption of children in cases where one of the adoptive parents is a biological parent as well as in cases where there is no genetic relationship, allowing both parents to adopt at once. Many other counties are becoming familiar with Co-parent adoptions and I have filed these cases in other counties as well.
IMPORTANT: Where one parent is a biological parent and the second parent is already on the child's birth certificate, it is still important for the second parent to adopt the child in order to legally establish some parental rights for themselves over the child. The failure to take this step may jeopardize the non-biological parent's parental rights should they decide to separate or divorce. (See FAQ below)
Overall, Co-parent adoptions have become fairly routine in many counties in Illinois and they are treated very similar to other stepparent adoptions.
I do represent Co-Parents from counties all over Illinois in these kinds of adoptions.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING SAME SEX ADOPTIONS:
1. If we are married or joined in Civil Union do we still need to adopt?
While legally it is not required as Illinois law directs that both of your names go on the birth certificate, many professionals recommend gay couples follow up with an adoption to avoid problems that may arise with other states in the future. Birth certificates are administrative documents and not the same as a court order. Other states do not have to recognize administrative documents but must recognize another state's court order and give it full faith and credit. To protect your parental rights you should absolutely do an adoption.
2. If both of our names are on the birth certificate should we still do an adoption?
YES! A birth certificate is a presumption of parentage, not proof, of parentage. There are some jurisdictions where the presumption has been found NOT to apply to same-sex couples. As stated above other states do not have to recognize administrative documents but must recognize another state's court order and give it full faith and credit. To protect your parental rights you should absolutely do an adoption.
3. Do we have to file in the County we reside in?
No, you can file in any county in Illinois.
4. Will we need to have a homestudy done?
No, you should not have to have one completed.
5. Can we get started on the adoption before the baby is born?
No, you should wait for the birth of the baby.
6. We used a known sperm donor do we have to terminate his parental rights?
Yes, as part of the adoption a known donor should have his parental rights terminated in court, unless there was a contract signed, each party had their own attorney, and the donation was made in doctor's office.
7. How much does is cost to do a co-parent adoption in Illinois?
The fees will vary depending on your circumstances and which county you choose to file in (if you live in Illinois you can choose any county in Illinois to file in). For an idea of costs visit the Legal Fee page on this website or your can call 847-925-9072 for a more exact quote.