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How to Obtain Guardianship of a Child in Illinois

McHenry County minor guardianship lawyerWhen a baby is born, the parent of that child has the immediate authority to make decisions on behalf of that child. Formal adoption of a child will also grant the same parental ability. However, unfortunate circumstances sometimes require the child to be cared for by someone who is not a biological parent, such as the death of both parents. In these cases, a guardian is appointed to care for and make parental decisions on the child’s behalf.

 

What Is a Guardian?

When both parents are unable to care for their child, a guardian will be appointed to step into the parental role. A guardian does not have to be related to the child, but the guardian must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States. A potential guardian must not have any legal disability preventing the ability to care for the child or a felony conviction that would endanger the child. In most cases, the circuit court appoints a guardian. The difference between adoption and guardianship is that guardianship ends when the child turns 18 years old.

 

Legal Steps for Guardianship

If you are trying to become a temporary or permanent guardian, a petition must be filed with the court. A Guardian ad Litem will be appointed by the Court to investigate whether the child requires a guardian and whether you are an appropriate person to appoint as guardian. Then, a hearing date will be set, and instructions to notify the parents and the family of the child will be given. During the hearing, the Guardian ad Litem will speak to the judge assigned to your case, and you and any objectors to the guardianship will be heard as well. A judge will order the guardianship after a hearing under the following circumstances:

• Both parents are deceased.

• The parents are unwilling or unable to provide for the child.

• The child has been abandoned by a parent with no intention of return.

• The parents consent to the guardianship.

A couple of weeks after the hearing, Letters of Office will be sent by the probate clerk, providing certified proof of your guardianship over the child.

 

Contact a McHenry County Family Law Attorney

If you are seeking guardianship of a child, you are most likely acting in the best interest of a child you love. The guardianship process can seem daunting, so it is best to speak to an experienced family law attorney who can explain your legal rights. To make sure the child receives the support he or she deserves, contact a knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney to learn more about the guardianship process. Call our offices at 847-426-7990 today to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075500050HArt%2E+XI&ActID=2104& ChapterID=60&SeqStart=12100000&SeqEnd=14300000

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