Understanding the Pros and Cons of Open Adoptions
Many people may not have heard the term “open adoption” before. The concept of an open adoption is a relatively new one–it started gaining popularity in the United States in the 1980s and 90s. Now, it is estimated that the vast majority of domestic adoptions (nearly 95 percent) involve some degree of openness. Open adoptions are gaining popularity due to the benefits they provide for birth parents and the children themselves.
What Is an Open Adoption?
In a traditional or closed adoption, the identities of the birth parents are kept confidential, and they have no contact with the adoptive family before or after the child is adopted. In these cases, the thought process tended to be that if the birth parents knew where the child was, they might attempt to take the child back at some point. However, this would be against the law, because once a child is adopted, the adoptive family is considered the child’s legal family.
In an open adoption, one or both of the birth parents are involved in the child’s life to varying degrees or have some form of contact with the adoptive family. There are no set types of open adoptions; rather, each open …
Changing Your Name After a Divorce in Illinois
There are many reasons why a person would want to change their name or the name of their child–adoption, marriage, establishing parentage–but for many people, a name change can be the last step in the divorce process. Many people–women, especially–change their last name to match their partner’s when they get married. In the event that you get divorced, changing your last name to what it was prior to the marriage is a way that many people emotionally detach themselves from the marriage and their ex-spouse. The easiest way to change your last name in the event of a divorce is to add it to the divorce decree, but you do not have to do it then. You can change your name at any time after the divorce.
Seven Steps to Changing Your Name After a Divorce
Changing your name in Illinois is a relatively easy process. As long as you have been a resident of Illinois for at least six months, and you have not been convicted of a felony or a sex crime, you can proceed with the steps to change your name.
1. Prepare the Forms Required
There are two forms required to change your name: a petition …
Adoption vs. Guardianship
There are two legal routes of establishing care for a child whose parents cannot provide them with an adequate home: adoption and guardianships. In some cases, adoption, which severs any legal relationship between a child and its mother, is not in the best interest of the child. This is when guardianship comes into play, usually as a temporary legal status.
In an adoption, the adoptive parents are given all of the legal rights and responsibilities that previously belonged to the birth parents. The birth parents either have to voluntarily give up their parental rights or have them involuntarily terminated. Adoption is a lifelong, permanent legal relationship.
An adopted child has all of the same legal rights as birth children if the adoptive parents die and do not have a will, meaning the child is entitled to any inheritance or survivor’s benefits in the event of a death. In an adoption, all decision making is up to the adoptive parents, including decisions about schooling, medical treatments, or visitation of birth parents, depending on the terms of the adoption.
Adoptive parents are financially responsible for the support of the adopted child and can decide the child’s legal name, meaning they …
A Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement Is Sensible Marital Planning
Most people are familiar with the concept of a “prenuptial agreement.” A legally binding agreement between two prospective spouses, a prenuptial agreement stipulates in advance how the assets and liabilities of the soon-to-be-married couple will be distributed in the event the marriage ends in divorce. Such agreements are relatively common when there is a sizeable age or wealth gap between prospective spouses, or when children from previous unions will be brought together by the new marriage.
Despite the statistic that between 40 and 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce, prenuptial agreements remain a rather touchy subject, perhaps because they are perceived as “unromantic” – the possible end of the marriage is the last thing one wants to contemplate prior to uttering the words “til death do us part.” Given the statistics, such a dismissive attitude is problematic. Prenuptial agreements, and their post-union counterpart, postnuptial agreements, are worth giving serious consideration to. With the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, it is possible to craft a pre- or postnuptial agreement without introducing excessive tension into a relationship. Really, it is just sensible planning.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Are Legal Contracts
Because prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are contracts much …
Legal Issues in Illinois Adoptions of Children Born Outside the U.S.
Adoption has been in the news more than usual of late. The reason: politics. Surprisingly, the issue of adoption is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice on the part of the current U.S. presidential administration. While some people believe that members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign met with Russian officials with the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election, the administration contends that its members met with a prominent Russian attorney to discuss the issue of the adoption of Russian children.
Beyond its political dimension, this news highlights the increased complexity of situations in which adoptive parents and children are of different nationalities. In these cases, it is important to secure the services of an attorney who understands the laws surrounding international adoption.
The Hague Convention Applies to Intercountry Adoption
For a strictly domestic adoption of a child by an Illinois resident or family, the Illinois Adoption Act is applicable. However, in the case of intercountry adoption, in which a citizen of one country adopts a child from another country, one must look to both the laws of the country of which the child is a citizen and the Hague Convention.