In the event that a child’s biological parents may no longer care for the child, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian who can provide appropriate care for the child. Illinois laws, however, are specific about how a guardian is appointed and what steps to take. To ensure that you are following the right steps, seek legal guidance from the knowledgeable Chicago family law attorneys at The Taradash Group, P.C. We can assist you in guardianship matters in locations throughout the Chicago area and elsewhere in Illinois, including DuPage, Will, and Lake Counties.Child Guardianship in Illinois
A legal guardian may take over the typical responsibilities of a child’s parent in the event that the parent is no longer able to care for the child. A guardian must be at least 18 years of age, a United States resident, and of sound mind, among other requirements. In order to obtain guardianship over a minor in the State of Illinois, a person must first file a petition with a court in the appropriate county.
The petition for guardianship must set forth information such as the name, birthday, and residence of the child. It also must include the names and residences of the child’s relatives, including parents and/or siblings. Other information required is the name and address of the person wishing to obtain guardianship and information about the child’s estate, if any.
A petition for guardianship must provide notice of a hearing to any child who is over the age of 14, as well as biological parents and adult siblings. The court will determine the best interest of the child and appoint a guardian accordingly. In general, a court in Illinois will not consider a petition for guardianship when a child has a living parent or adoptive parent who still retains parental rights and who is willing to care for the child. A court will presume that a child’s parent is willing and able to make parenting decisions and carry out day-to-day care. However, that presumption may be refuted by certain evidence, such as substance abuse or a pattern of violence toward the child. Ask an attorney familiar with this area for details.
After guardianship is established, an Illinois court will not discharge the guardianship unless it finds that there has been a material change of circumstances in the time since guardianship was granted. Recent changes in the law state that a guardian must then show, by clear and convincing evidence, that terminating the guardian relationship would go against the best interest of the child. When analyzing the best interests of the child, an Illinois court will consider various factors, including:
- The relationship of the child with the parent and other household members
- The parent’s ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child
- The stability of all parties as well as the child
- The connection the child has formed with his or her home, school, and community
- The nature of any visitation between the parent and child
The court also may consider any other factors that may be relevant.Seek Legal Guidance in Your Chicago Guardianship Matter
If you wish to apply for guardianship over a child, or are seeking to dissolve or change a guardianship, consider speaking with a family law lawyer in the Chicago area. Let the attorneys at The Taradash Group help you navigate through the legal process and answer your questions and concerns. To learn more about child guardianship and how guardianship laws apply to your case, contact us online or call (312) 775-1020 today to schedule a free initial consultation.