Court Rules - Particular Civil Proceedings - Adoptions
III. PARTICULAR CIVIL PROCEEDINGS
ARTICLE 21: ADOPTIONS
21.01 FILING OF PETITION
(a) The petitioner's attorney shall have the duty of notifying the Department of Probate and Court Services within five (5) days after the petition is filed, if consents are to be taken.
(b) The petition shall contain all allegations required by the Illinois Adoption Act.
21.02 DOCKET CALL TIMES
(a) The adoption docket call shall be at 10:00 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. The matters heard on this call shall be uncontested or shall be non-evidentiary matters. The matters that are set on the 10:00 a.m. call, either upon motion of any party, or on the Court's own motion, include:
- Initial presentment of the Petition for Adoption or related matters
- Appointment of a Guardian ad Litem
- Motion for Entry of Interim Orders
- Motion for Entry of Default
- Case Management Conferences
- Routine and Regular Motions
- Guardian ad Litem Fee Hearings (set by Court)
- Entry of Judgment (set by Court)
(b) Contested Matters, including, but not limited to, motions requiring evidentiary hearings, trials, termination of parental rights hearings, and best interests hearings shall be heard by the Court at 1:30 p.m. The Court shall set the date for said matters on its own motion.
(a) The following motions are considered regular motions and should be set on the 10:00 a.m. call:
- Motion for Leave To File Amended Petition
- Motion for Entry of Default
- Motion to Allow Examination of Court File by Petitioner's Attorney
- Motion to Amend Judgment (correct typographical error)
- Petition to Proceed as a Special Needs Adoption
- Motion to Delete Identifying Information
- Petition for Appointment of a Confidential Intermediary
- Issuance of Passport, Permission to Travel Out of the State of Illinois and Authorize Medical Care (prior to entry of final judgment)
(b) The following motions are considered routine and may be resolved without a court appearance:
- Certified Copy of Judgment for Adoption
- Appointment of Special Process Server
- Permission to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person
- Continuing Date Set for Entry of Judgment
- Motion by Adoptee for Access to Adoption File
(c) Notice must be served on the Guardian ad Litem if the Motion seeks relief affecting any named or unnamed party, changing a court date set by prior order or the status of the adoptee as established by the Interim Order entered in the matter.
(d) Routine Motions not requiring notice to any other person or party can be dropped off with the Court any day during regular business hours. Every effort will be made to enter the appropriate order by 12:00 p.m. for orders received in the morning and 9:00 a.m. on the succeeding court day for motions delivered after 12:00 p.m.
(e) To facilitate the Court's business, every Routine Motion should be accompanied by a Notice of Motion, regardless of whether notice is required, stating that the matter is to be heard on the Routine Motion Call and containing the date that counsel wishes to have the order entered.
21.04 COURTESY COPIES
Courtesy copies of all Petitions for Adoptions without exhibits or attachments and motions which are intended to be filed or presented on the 10:00 a.m. call shall be delivered to the Court no later than 3:00 p.m. on the court date prior to the intended date of presentment. Failure to comply with this directive may result in a delay or postponement of the initial hearing on the Petition and/or request for an Interim Order (750 ILCS 50/13) relating to the child's custody and care during the adoption proceeding.
(a) Consents to adoptions, acknowledgments of information exchange authorizations and denial of exchange authorizations shall be taken before a person authorized by administrative order to take such consents.
(b) If the Department of Court Services is to take the consent for adoption from the biological parents, petitioner's attorney will contact the Department of Court Services providing therewith the following information:
(1) The child's full name and gender;
(2) The child's date of birth or due date;
(3) The child's place of birth;
(4) Names, addresses, telephone numbers and ages of biological parents;
(5) Names and addresses of petitioners; and
(6) Case number.
(c) All consents not governed by 750 ILCS 50/10(O) (Consent to Adoption in a proceeding under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987), shall be general in nature and be in a form substantially similar to that as provided by statute. In addition, where the consent is executed by the biological mother, she shall also contemporaneously execute an Affidavit of Identification and an Affidavit of Non-Support. Such Affidavit of Identification and Affidavit of Non-Support shall be filed with the Court prior to the entry of Judgment and shall become a part of the Court record. Provided nevertheless, upon a showing that the jurisdiction where the consent was taken allows specific consents to adoption, the Court will accept such consents as required by 750 ILCS 50/10 (L). A Guardian ad Litem or attorney for minor birth parents will only be appointed after the initiation of adoption proceedings.
(d) If counsel believes an interpreter is necessary for the effective acknowledgment of a consent or surrender, counsel shall be responsible for providing an interpreter (one who is not related to any party, parent or child in the adoption matter). Request shall be made by motion to the Court.
21.06 INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS
All investigative reports prepared by licensed child welfare agencies and the Department of Court Services shall comply with the format for such reports as established by Administrative Order of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and be dated not later than twelve months prior to the date of the filing of the Petition for Adoption.
21.07 INTERIM ORDERS
In order to comply with the requirements of 750 ILCS 50/13, such orders will be entered in the following situations:
(a) In cases where all parental rights have been surrendered, otherwise terminated and provided no other placement orders are in effect, or their identity is unknown because the child was found abandoned and turned over to a licensed child welfare agency, the Court will enter an Interim Order placing the child(ren) in the Petitioner or Petitioners' care, custody and control pursuant to an interim custody order upon a showing, in adoptions other than that of a related child or through an agency, that such person or person will provide suitable temporary custodial care for such child or children. (750 ILCS 50/13 A);
(b) In cases where one biological parent has consented to adoption or surrendered their parental rights and the child or children have been placed by the biological parent or an agency with the Petitioner or Petitioners, upon a showing that the whereabouts or identity of the other biological parent is unknown, an interim custody order will be entered. In order to make such a showing, the Court will require, at a minimum, an Affidavit of Identification and/or an Affidavit showing factually what steps have been taken to locate and notify the absent biological parent;
(c) In all other cases, no order relating to custody will be entered unless the Court has obtained jurisdiction over the absent biological parent by service of summons or publication and such person has been served with notice of the hearing requesting such relief in accordance with the Rules. Provided, nevertheless, that any party may seek such relief in all cases without notice in accordance with 750 ILCS 50/18 (f).
21.08 GUARDIANS AD LITEM
(a) Appointment. In all cases for adoption, with the exception of adult adoptions, a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) shall be appointed to represent the best interests of the minor child(ren) to be adopted.
The appointment shall be made at the time of initial presentment or the entry of any Interim Order providing for the care, custody or control of the person sought to be adopted. It shall be the duty of counsel for the Petitioner(s) to furnish the appointed GAL with a copy of the Petition for Adoption, Interim Order, consents and surrenders, and any other material normally provided to the GALs in similar cases.
In adoptions where the GAL is appointed as investigator, counsel for the Petitioner(s) shall deliver a completed affidavit from each Petitioner concerning their background, including medical history, religious background, general demographic information, together with any exhibits required.
(b) Duties. In all cases, the Guardian shall file an appearance as Guardian ad Litem for the adoptee within 14 days of appointment. From the date of appointment, the GAL shall receive notice of all requests for relief made to the Court by any party as required by either the Rules of the Illinois Supreme Court or the Circuit Court of for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit.
The GAL may file any response deemed necessary to advance the best interest of the adoptee.
If the GAL chooses, an answer may be filed on behalf of the adoptee. This pleading must comply with 735 ILCS 5/2-610. No default will be entered against a child for the failure to file an answer absent an order compelling the filing of such pleading.
The GAL shall, in addition to the above, do the following:
- Review the Court file in each case to make certain that pleadings are proper, service is effected on all necessary parties, and that all parental rights have been finally and properly terminated.
- Verify that the search of the Illinois Putative Father Registry has been completed.
- In all cases where the Petitioner(s) are related to the child-adoptee as defined by 750 ILCS 50/1 B, and where investigative report has been prepared by a licensed agency or the Department of Supportive Services, the GAL shall have the discretion to meet with the child-adoptee in an appropriate setting to determine the child's position concerning the proposed adoption. In such cases where one of the Petitioners is the step-parent of the child, the GAL shall obtain and review all documents necessary to determine whether the child is available for adoption and the Petitioners' legal relationship to each other and the child(ren).
- The GAL is appointed to represent the child's best interest and not the expressed preference of the child. In those cases where an irreconcilable conflict arises in those positions, the GAL shall request the Court to appoint separate representation for the child.
- Remain apprised of all situations that affect the child-adoptee's status quo as it existed at the time of the entry of the Interim Order.
- Attend and participate in all contested and/or settlement hearings or conferences in the case.
- Conduct all necessary discovery in connection therewith.
- In cases where an agency has conducted a home study of the petitioners' home, the GAL is not required, but is permitted, to conduct a home visit. If no home study has been completed, the GAL should conduct a home visit.
- In cases where the parental rights of the adoptee's biological parents have been terminated in a Juvenile Court proceeding which remains pending, contact the child's GAL in those proceedings to determine if anything has arisen in the child's life that remains to be brought to the attention of the Juvenile Court Judge which that person believes would be relevant to the decision to be made by this Court. In such instances, the GAL may desire to contact the Assistant State's Attorney and the Case Worker to determine if such information is material to a determination of whether the adoption is in the child's best interest. The accounts received should be analyzed by the GAL to determine whether such information should be brought to the attention of the Court. If so, the GAL should file the appropriate motion for leave to obtain any and all supporting material which the GAL deems relevant to the child's best interest. In exercising discretion in this area, the GAL should consider that this Court is not sitting in review of decisions made by the Judges of the Juvenile Division of this Court.
- Review the investigative reports prepared in connection with the adoption and investigate any issues that arise in the report which adversely impact what the GAL believes is in the adoptee's best interest. Absent the known existence of contrary facts or an inherent inconsistency in the investigative report, the GAL is presumed to be acting in a reasonable manner by relying on the facts set out in the investigative report without undertaking any independent investigation.
- If no investigative report by a licensed agency has been required by the court or the separate social history investigation has been waived and it comes to the attention of the GAL that a petitioner who is not the biological parent of the adoptee has committed any offense involving sexual abuse of any person, physical abuse or abandonment of a child, or been convicted of any felony offense as defined by the laws of the jurisdiction in which it occurred, the GAL shall petition the Court to order an investigative report prior to the entry of a judgment of adoption. Nothing herein shall preclude the GAL from requesting the Court to order a new or additional investigative report in any case where the GAL believes that such information will be relevant and necessary to the Court's resolution of the matter.
- In all cases, in lieu of an answer, file with the Court a recommendation as to what is in the best interest of the child based upon a review of all available data.
- If the GAL wishes to support or oppose any relief sought by the movant, a proper pleading must be filed which advances the GAL's position. Copies of such pleadings must be served on all parties as required by the applicable rules.
(c) Fees for Guardians ad litem. Prior to the entry of Judgment for Adoption, the GAL shall prepare and submit to the Court a Petition for Award of Fees and Costs, with supporting billing records or invoices. The Court will address the reasonableness of the fees at the entry of Judgment for Adoption or set a hearing on said fees, if contested.
(d) There shall be no appearance fee charged by the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the GAL's appearance in an adoption proceeding.
21.09 TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS BY DEFAULT
(a) Petitioners seeking to default any necessary party to an adoption proceeding based upon service by publication must file a supporting affidavit establishing factually the action taken that demonstrates honest and well directed efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of the person sought to be defaulted by such service. Said affidavit shall detail search efforts, including, but not limited to, searches of military records, the Illinois Department of Corrections, administrative agencies (i.e., the State Disbursement Unit), and all other search efforts.
(b) The factual showing of the inability to serve or locate the person sought to be defaulted has also been defined as a showing of due diligence or more succinctly a showing that would lead a reasonable person to conclude "that kind of search or investigation which a diligent person intent on ascertaining a fact, would usually and ordinarily make." An affidavit as to military service status of any named person sought to be defaulted must also be filed in all cases where the identity of a putative father has been made known to the Petitioner or any other party to the proceeding.
(c) Counsel seeking an Order of Default terminating the parental rights of any person should make certain that at the time of service, either personal, substitute or by publication that the complaint on file is legally sufficient to support a termination of parental rights.
21.10 VERIFICATION OF FINALITY OF PARALLEL PROCEEDINGS
(a) In adoption cases where the parental rights of a biological or legal parent have been terminated in a Juvenile Court proceeding, this Court is unable to enter a Judgment of Adoption until the appeal rights of each such parent have been exhausted. This must be established by counsel for the petitioner(s).
(b) If the termination proceedings were conducted in the Circuit Court for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, upon motion, the Court will direct the Clerk of Court to certify the status of any appeal from an order terminating parental rights. Counsel is responsible for preparing an appropriate motion, order and verification statement.
(c) If such proceedings occurred in any other circuit court of this State or another State, counsel for the petitioner must file an affidavit stating with particularity the status of any such appeal. Such affidavit may reflect the hearsay statement of an identified court official who has advised counsel of the information. Counsel would be well advised, however, to obtain a certified copy of the docket or mandate issued in such cases.
21.11 APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL/EXPERTS
(a) A biological or legal parent who appears in an Adoption proceeding is entitled to have legal counsel. If that person is indigent, the Court is required to appoint counsel. If an individual seeks appointment of counsel, an Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities must be completed and presented to the Court for review on the 10:00 a.m. call.
(b) Said counsel will be appointed from a list of attorneys maintained by the Presiding Judge of the Chancery Division or in accordance with the policies and procedures of the DuPage County Legal Assistance Foundation.
(c) Fees in such cases cannot exceed the hourly rate for appointed counsel set by Supreme Court Rule. Requests for fees must be made by Petition either verified or supported by an affidavit detailing the time expended and work performed which was necessary in representing the client's interest. To facilitate payment, the petition should also include a copy of the Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities signed by the client and the order of appointment.
21.12 SETTING MATTER FOR JUDGMENT
(a) As part of any Interim Order entered by the Court, the Court shall select a proposed date for entry of Judgment of Adoption on the 10:00 a.m. call.
(b) The Court may, in its discretion, waive the six-month waiting period for entry of the Judgment of Adoption.
(c) Counsel for the Petitioner shall, two (2) business days prior to the date for entry of Judgment, submit to the Court and the GAL a proposed Judgment of Adoption. The matter will be heard on the date set for judgment by Court order.
(d) No later than two (2) business days before the date scheduled for entry of Judgment, the GAL shall cause to be delivered to the Court and counsel and/or all parties, either a completed Report of the Guardian ad Litem consenting to the entry of judgment or a pleading stating why judgment should not be entered. Copies of either document shall be served on all parties of record as required by the Rules. If the GAL raises issues that may be informally resolved, the parties are directed to exercise their best efforts to reach a resolution prior to the date set for judgment.
(e) In the event no order is submitted to the Court for entry on the date set for judgment, the Court, on its own motion, will continue the matter for 21 days on the 10:00 a.m. call and notify counsel to appear. Failure of counsel to appear on the continued date will result in a vacation of all existing orders and a dismissal of the matter for want of prosecution.
21.13 STANDBY ADOPTIONS
(a) Petitions seeking a judgment of adoption in accordance with 750 ILCS 50/1S shall file a Petition which alleges the required elements for a judgment of adoption.
(b) The petition shall be filed by the person(s) seeking to adopt the child. This petition should also allege that a judgment will not be requested until the death or request of the person's biological and or legal parent(s).
(c) Consents to such adoptions by the living parent(s) shall be taken as required by the Adoption Act and local Rule, provided nevertheless, that a party may petition the Court for the taking of a consent at a hospital or other medical facility where the consenting party's physical condition will be compromised by such travel and a treating physician certifies that such person is mentally capable of giving such consent.
(d) Upon entry of an Interim Order, the matter will be set for status three (3) months from the date of the Interim Order at 10:00 a.m.
(e) In the event all of the minors who are sought to be adopted in such proceeding attain their majority, the matter will be dismissed as moot unless the petitioner timely moves to amend the matter to seek adoption of an adult person.
21.14 ADULT ADOPTIONS
In accordance with the provisions of the Adoption Act, the Court need not conduct a hearing for entry of an Interim Order, nor appoint a Guardian ad Litem, in adult adoptions. Upon proper service on or consent of the adult to be adopted, the Court may proceed to Judgment, upon receipt of satisfactory evidence of the basis for the adult adoption, in compliance with the Adoption Act.
21.15 CO-PARENT AND SECOND PARENT ADOPTIONS
(a) In all matters where two unmarried persons seek to adopt a child who is not related to either person (a co-parent adoption), the petitioners shall comply with the provisions of the Adoption Act and this Rule 21 of the Circuit Court for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. In addition, the petitioners, in the petition for adoption, shall provide the court with information about the length, nature, and character of the petitioners' relationship.
(b) In matters where a person seeks to adopt the child of another person, and said persons are not married to one another (a second parent adoption), the petitioners shall comply with the provisions of the Adoption Act and this Rule 21 of the Circuit Court for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. In addition, the petitioners, in the petition for adoption, shall provide the court with information about the length, nature, and character of the petitioners' relationship.
21.16 ACCESS TO COURT FILES
(a) At the time of initial presentment, Counsel may obtain an Order granting future access to the Court file for the instant adoption, but in no event shall access be granted for more than 30 days after the date of entry of Judgment of Adoption.
(b) The Clerk will furnish the petitioners' counsel of record with unlimited certified copies of the judgment within 30 days of the date of entry of Judgment of Adoption.
(c) Any other party to the proceedings may petition the Court for access to the court file. This request must be made on the 10:00 a.m. call. Notice of the motion must be served on all parties who have a privacy interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the court record. Access to confidential adoption information can also be obtained under the confidential intermediary program established by the Adoption Act (750 ILCS 50/ 18.3a).
21.17 APPOINTMENT OF CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARIES
(a) Proceedings to obtain the appointment of a Confidential Intermediary (750 ILCS 50/18.3a) are to be scheduled on the 10:00 a.m. call.
(b) A petition for the appointment of a Confidential Intermediary may be filed by the following persons:
- an adopted person 21 years of age or over;
- a surrendered person 21 years of age or over;
- the adoptive parent or legal guardian of an adopted or surrendered person under the age of 21;
- a birth parent of an adopted or surrendered person 21 years of age or over;
- an adult child, adoptive parent, legal guardian, or surviving spouse of a deceased adopted or surrendered person;
- an adult birth sibling of an adopted or surrendered person whose common birth parent is deceased and whose adopted or surrendered person is 21 years of age or over; or
- an adult sibling of a deceased birth parent whose surrendered child is 21 years of age or over.
(c) Any person seeking the appointment of a Confidential Intermediary must accompany the Petition filed with the Court with proof of registration with the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange (750 ILCS 50/18.04).
(d) The Confidential Intermediary, if appointed by the Court, will have the authority to conduct an investigation in order to locate and contact the person being sought. This may include access to certain court and other confidential records that would not normally be available for review. However, no investigation can be undertaken if there has been a Denial of Information Exchange filed with the Illinois Adoption Registry by the individual who is the subject of the inquiry. The Confidential Intermediary will not have access to medical information protected by federal law unless the person whose information is being sought grants permission for access to this information in writing.
(e) At the hearing, the Court will review the Petition and consider any additional information supplied by the Petitioner in open court. If the Petitioner has established the right to the appointment of a Confidential Intermediary, the Court will enter the order that day. The statute requires the Court to appoint as Confidential Intermediaries persons certified by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The Confidential Intermediary Service of Illinois is administered by the Midwest Adoption Center. The Court will select a Confidential Intermediary randomly from the list provided by the service agency.
(f) If a Confidential Intermediary is appointed, the Court will continue the matter for one year to allow the completion of the investigation. The Court will forward a copy of the Order of Appointment to the Petitioner and the appointed Intermediary. Midwest Adoption Center will normally contact the Petitioner within three weeks of the appointment at which time the fees will be due.
(g) These matters are formal court proceedings, and as such, procedural rules must be followed. After the appointment of a Confidential Intermediary, the Petitioner should communicate directly with the designated Intermediary and/or with the service agency, Midwest Adoption Center. Any communication to the Court by either the Petitioner or Intermediary should also be sent to the other person and should be styled as a Motion or Petition requesting the Court's official action. The correspondence should be sent to the Court and other party no later than 5 business days prior to the requested court date.