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Can I Become the Guardian of My Sibling in Illinois?

 Posted on November 09, 2021 in Divorce

dupage county guardianship lawyerLife is complicated and unpredictable, and sometimes unexpected events cause a parent to be incapable of caring for their child. Whether due to mental illness, substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, or death, children in Illinois sometimes need care from an adult who is not their parent. If no family members are available to care for a child, the child may have to enter a foster home. But if a family member like a sibling or a grandparent is available, they may be able to get legal guardianship of the child. 

Legal Guardianship

Children moving into the care of the Illinois foster system have often been essentially taking care of themselves for many years, and many have the help of an older sibling. However, unless the older sibling is an adult and applies successfully for legal guardianship, they do not have the legal authority to fully care for the child once the state intervenes. 

Obtaining legal guardianship allows an adult to take legal responsibility for the care of a child, making important decisions and taking on the responsibility for providing the child with what they need. This includes day-to-day care, like a child’s hygiene and nutritional needs, as well as long-term needs like their education and medical care. If an older sibling, grandparent, or even uncle or aunt are already caring for a child in these ways, they can continue doing so if they are appointed the child’s legal guardian. 

Who Can Be a Guardian? 

When a child needs to have a guardian appointed by the court, the court will make decisions based on the child’s best interests - even if the child or their other family members do not see the court’s decisions that way. A court can consider many different factors when hearing a guardianship case, but a potential legal guardian in Illinois must at least meet the following qualifications: 

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Be a legal resident of the United States (although sometimes undocumented immigrants may be given guardianship of family members) 

  • Be sufficiently mentally and physically capable of caring for a child

  • Not have a felony conviction that involves harm to a child

In addition, the court can consider the wishes of the child (if age appropriate), the quality of the relationship between the potential guardian and the child, the child’s quality of life in their current situation, and the physical and emotional needs of the child. 

Work with a DuPage County Guardianship Lawyer

Guardianship cases can be complex and emotional, as the circumstances surrounding them are almost always difficult. The experienced Naperville, IL child guardianship attorneys with Calabrese Associates, P.C. can help you pursue guardianship of the child you love and keep them out of the custody of strangers. We have an extensive history of helping clients with family law matters and will address even the toughest issues with compassion and skill. For help filing for guardianship of your loved one, call our offices at 630-393-3111 to schedule a confidential consultation today. 



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