Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) stepparents have the right to seek visitation and parental responsibilities for stepchildren. Many stepparents choose to exercise this right when a parent passes away and the stepparent wants to remain part of their stepchildren’s lives. However, the IMDMA defines “step-parent” as “a person married to a child’s parent, including a person married to the child’s parent immediately prior to the parent’s death.” The IMDMA does not explicitly include stepparents via civil union in the definition of stepparent. The issue of how the IMDMA applies to stepparents by civil union recently came before the Illinois Supreme Court. The Illinois Supreme Court extended those rights provided to stepparents by marriage to those who are stepparents by civil union.
If you are a step-parent by marriage or civil-union and need to explore your legal rights in relation to your step-children, call the law office of Allison Mosby-Scott to ensure your rights are protected.