Adoption Law | Child Custody | Child Neglect | Child Abuse

Adoption Law in Illinois

Illinois residents who are considering adoption should be aware of the legal procedures involved.  Adoption in Illinois is a legal transaction governed by the Illinois Adoption Act under which parental rights are legally transferred from the birth parent(s) to the adopting parent(s). Adoptive parents assume the same rights, duties and obligations to the child as the birth parents.  In certain instances, adults may be adopted. 

The following are general guidelines for adoption according to Illinois Law:

  • Both single/divorced individuals and couples (married or same-sex) may adopt
  • If the adopting individuals are married, the spouses must jointly petition unless they have been separated for more than a year
  • An individual wishing to adopt must be a resident of Illinois for at least six months, unless they are related to the child, or the child is placed by a licensed agency
  • A child who is 14 or older must agree to being adopted

The adoption process includes three basic procedures:

  1. The adopting parent(s), along with the child or children who are being adopted, are required to appear together before a judge, usually when the Petition for Adoption is filed.  If the adopting parents are unrelated to the child or children, an investigation of the home must be conducted by an authorized agency or individual appointed by the court after the Petition has been filed.
  2. If the home is found to be suitable, a judge will enter a temporary order of custody in favor of the adopting parent(s).
  3. The lawyer representing the adopting parent(s) will present the proper documents to the judge, who will enter a “Judgment for Adoption.”  In most cases, neither the parents nor the children need to be present at that time.

After the adoption is complete, a new birth certificate is issued for the child. The new birth record will show the adoptive parents as if they were the parents at the time of the child’s birth. The original birth certificate is sealed and can only be opened by court order.

Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page.

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