Adopting Children with an Absent Parent

Many people do not know that they can complete an adoption even if they are not able to locate the other parent. If, however, you do know the whereabouts of the other parent, Illinois law mandates that you provide notice to the other biological parent. Illinois law further provides the grounds for adoption. The attorneys at The Taradash Group, P.C. have the knowledge and skill to help you through the adoption process.

Grounds for Finding a Parent is Unfit

Far too often, one parent is frustrated because the other parent does not pay child support and/or does not have any involvement with his/her child. They feel that they should be able to simply terminate the other parent’s parental rights. This, however, is not that easy. Illinois law allows for the termination of a parent’s rights through an adoption or through Juvenile Court proceedings. Pursuant to statute, some of the grounds for finding a parent unfit are:

  • Abandonment of a child (actions by a parent which demonstrate that the parent has relinquished all parental responsibilities and duties)

  • Abandonment of a newborn child in a hospital

  • The failure to show a reasonable degree of interest in a child’s life

  • Desertion of a child for at least 3 months prior to the beginning of an adoption proceeding

  • Extreme and/or repeated cruelty towards a child

How Does a Parent Fight a Charge of Abandonment?

There are ways to fight allegations of abandonment. The following types of conduct can be used to negate an allegation of abandonment:

  • Attempts by the parent to maintain a relationship with the child

  • Paying child support to the other parent

  • Attempting to, or actually, visiting the child

  • Proving that the other parent has prevented visits or efforts to pay child support.

How to Begin an Adoption Proceeding with an Unfit Parent

The first step is to file a Petition for Adoption. It is imperative that you incorporate the proper allegations regarding the prospective parents who wish to adopt the child, the child and the absent parent. Perhaps most importantly, the Petition must allege the grounds that the other parent is unfit. Once the Petition is filed, the other unfit parent must be given Notice of the adoption proceedings. Courts give great deference to the protection of parental rights, so it is imperative that proper Notice be given. Proper Notice means that if the other parent knows where the absent, unfit parent is, he/she must attempt to actually serve him/her with Summons and a copy of the Petition for Adoption. You can also serve via publication, but only if the parent does not know the whereabouts of the absent parent and upon due diligence and upon due inquiry, he/she cannot be found.

Considering Filing a Petition for Adoption?

If you are contemplating filing a Petition for Adoption because the other parent is absent and unfit, you should have competent representation. The Chicago family law attorneys at The Taradash Group, P.C. have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through the adoption process. Feel free to click here or call (312) 775-1020 to speak to one of our attorneys. We proudly serve clients throughout the greater Chicagoland area and in Lake, Will and DuPage counties.