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Can I Become My Sibling’s Legal Guardian in Illinois?

 Posted on July 31, 2020 in Guardianship

Can I Become My Sibling’s Legal Guardian in Illinois?Unfortunately, not all children have two parents who love and properly care for them. Some children must endure the tragedy of losing one or both parents at a young age, while others have their parents stripped from them as decided by the court system. In most cases, these difficult decisions being made by the court are in the best interests of the child, even if the child is too young to see it that way. If family members are unable to care for the adolescent, they will be entered into the foster care system to be taken care of by volunteer foster families. However, for those who have siblings age 18 or older, they may have an alternative option: legal guardianship.

What Is Legal Guardianship?

Many children who are on the brink of joining the foster care system have spent much of their lives caring for themselves or have been lucky enough to have an older sibling who has taken on a parental role in their lives. However, without legal guardianship rights, the child will not be able to remain in their care. Illinois law allows all adolescents to have at least one legal guardian, and in the absence of their parents, a close family member may take on this role. Children over the age of 14 can grant consent to guardianship requests, but those under this age must rely on the court’s decision. In Illinois, anyone who is age 18 or older, is of “sound mind,” has not been convicted of a serious crime, and is deemed acceptable by the court can apply to be the person’s guardian. The qualifications may seem somewhat minor, but the court’s impression of the guardianship applicant can make or break your case.

What Does the Court Look For?

As is the case with all Illinois legal proceedings involving children, the court’s main purpose is to make a decision in the best interests of the child. There are a few considerations that the court will keep in mind when hearing a guardianship case:

  • The intentions and wishes of the potential guardian and his or her ability to meet the child’s specific needs
  • The wishes of the child who is under the age of 14 or the permission of the child who is older than age 14
  • The interactions and quality of the relationship between the child and prospective guardian
  • The child’s adjustment to their current home, community, and school
  • The child’s need for consistency and stability in their relationship with their guardian
  • The physical and mental health of both the child and the prospective guardian

Contact a Naperville Guardianship Lawyer

Guardianship cases can become emotional and contentious, especially if multiple family members are vying to become the child’s legal guardian. At Calabrese Associates, P.C., we fight to make a difference in a child’s life by helping their family members become their legal guardians and avoiding the child being placed in the hands of a stranger. Our DuPage County guardianship attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience working with family law matters in Illinois. To help gain guardianship of your sibling or family member, contact our firm at 630-393-3111 to schedule your initial consultation.


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