Adoption comes in all different forms. Some expand their families with unrelated adoptions, adoptions within the family or stepparent adoptions. Some choose second parent adoptions. Here, we will help you understand second parent adoptions and if they are right for you.

What is second parent adoption?

Second parent adoption is also known as co-parent adoption and same-sex adoption. Same-sex couples typically use this type of adoption to allow both parents to have legal rights to the child. Sometimes in same-sex relationships, one party will be biologically related to the child, like through surrogacy.

This means that though both parties may take on an active parental role in the child’s life, only the one who is related to them has legal parental rights. In a second-parent adoption, the party who is not related to the child adopts them as their own, giving them legal parental status and rights. This does not take any rights away from the “first parent,” who is biologically related to the child. Second-parent adoption is especially important if the couple gets divorced, as it would allow both parents a chance for custody rights.

How can I adopt as a second parent?

Illinois allows second-parent adoption for both married and unmarried couples. If you are a “second parent,” or the parent in a same-sex relationship who is not biologically related to the child, you may want to consider legally adopting the child. Here are some of Illinois’ requirements for adoption:

  • The parent applying for adoption must be a resident of Illinois, meaning they must have lived here for at least six months. That period of residency can also be waived by the court.
  • The adoptee must be an adult (over 18) who has lived in the home for 2 years, a child or a relative
  • Consent is needed if the adoptee is age 14 or older
  • Adoption must go through the Department of Children and Family Services or the Circuit Court

If your family wants a second parent adoption, it’s always smart to work with a family law lawyer who is experienced in this area. This is an important part of your life and working with a legal professional will help make sure it goes smoothly.