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How to Become the Guardian of a Minor in Illinois

Posted on April 03, 2020 in Guardianship

How to Become the Guardian of a Minor in IllinoisThere are situations in which a child’s parents may be unable or unavailable to perform their basic duties as a parent. If that happens, another adult can become the legal guardian of the child, either on a short-term basis or until the child becomes an adult. The guardian is authorized to make decisions about the child just as if they were the child’s parent. If you wish to become a child’s guardian, you will need to receive court approval. There are several important facts about guardianship in Illinois that you should understand.

Who Can Become a Guardian?

You do not need to be related to the child in order to be their guardian, but it is in the child’s best interest if you have some history of interaction. The basic requirements for being a guardian in Illinois are:

  • Being at least 18
  • Being of sound mind
  • Being a U.S. resident
  • Not having a legal disability
  • Not having a felony conviction related to harming or threatening children

When Is Guardianship Allowed?

Granting guardianship presumes that the parents are unable to make decisions regarding their child. Courts will not transfer parental rights to another adult unless there is a strong reason, such as if the parents:

  • Are deceased
  • Are incapacitated
  • Are incarcerated
  • Have abandoned the child
  • Have agreed to the guardianship

Becoming a Guardian

Guardianship is granted by a pre-existing agreement with the parents or by filing a petition for guardianship in court. Parents can designate a standby guardian in the event that they are both dead or incapacitated. Standby guardianship begins immediately after there is a qualifying event but lasts only 60 days unless the standby guardian petitions to extend their guardianship. Parents can also appoint someone as a short-term guardian for a year or less if they know when they will be unable to care for their child.

To become a guardian without an agreement with the parents, you must file a Petition for Guardianship of a Minor. The court may grant guardianship if it determines that doing so is in the best interest of the child. You will need to show that you can provide a safe and stable environment for the child and that the child would be comfortable with you as their guardian. If the child is 14 or older, they must consent to you becoming their guardian.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Family Law Attorney

When parents are unavailable or unwilling to care for their child, the child is likely better off under the care of a trusted guardian than becoming a ward of the state. A DuPage County family law lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you create a guardianship agreement or petition for guardianship. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.


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