Father filed in parentage court.  He wanted custody, visitation, and child support from Mother.  He said that he had adopted his former fiancee’s daughter, when he and fiancée were together.   She had adopted the orphan child from Slovakia. Father could not adopt then, as the parties were not married and he was not a Slovak.

Father always knew that he had to adopt the child formally. But, that never took place.

The court proceeding lasted 17 days.  The court said that Father had never adopted the child. But, the parties had discussed it.  The parties had lived together for several years with the child.

But, the court said no adoption had taken place. Father’s case was dismissed.  He simply was not the child’s biological or legally adoptive father. And, he could not assert his rights as a nonparent. The child had always been in Mother’s physical custody.

Father argued that he should have rights as an equitable parent. Equity should prevail.

He also argued that the court should recognize that today’s families often do not fit the traditional picture.

In a separate Illinois Supreme Court case, it was pointed out that the concept of equitable adoption had not been recognized.  But, it had not been rejected either.

The court held that an equitable adoption could be recognized in Illinois.  But, only when there is enough evidence of an intention to adopt. And, a close family relationship.

The case was sent back to the trial court.  The facts had to be reviewed further. Was there an equitable adoption or not?

In re Parentage of Scarlett Z.-D., 2014 IL App (2d) 120266-B.

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Buffalo Grove Law Offices