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How To Get Guardianship of My Grandchildren

 Posted on December 22, 2023 in Guardianship

DuPage County family lawyerGrandparents are often an influential and loving presence in a developing child's life. In some respects, grandparents can act as secondary caregivers to their grandchildren. However, when the parents are unable or incapable of providing proper care to their children, for whatever reason, it is not uncommon for a grandparent to step in and fill the role. A grandparent interested in becoming a grandchild's guardian will wish to speak to an attorney regarding the legality of what must be done.

Reasons Grandparents May Want Guardianship of Their Grandchildren

When parents are deemed unfit to raise their children, it is because their presence in a child's life is no longer considered in that child's best interest. A grandparent may feel that a child is in immediate danger while residing with a parent or that the parent cannot adequately care for the child. The parents could fall into financial hardships, become incarcerated, find themselves addicted to drugs, suffer a mental illness, or even pass away, making all good reasons why a grandparent would want to take on the role of legal caregiver of their grandchildren.

Guardianship Types

Illinois recognizes several different guardianships. The most common include:

  • Guardianship of the Estate
  • Guardianship of the Person
  • Plenary Guardianship

Guardianship of the estate is most often reserved for handling the finances of a grandchild who has inherited a large estate. Guardianship of the person is more for grandparents looking to take on the parental responsibilities the parents used to or should be providing. A plenary guardianship is authorized to accomplish both financial needs and daily care for a child.

Any guardianship can be permanent or temporary. It is all based on the child's needs and the reasoning for the guardianship.

The Guardianship Process

Being awarded guardianship can be a simple process or a not-so-simple one, depending on the circumstances surrounding it. If a child's natural parents consent to the grandparents becoming guardians of their child, then the process is pretty straightforward. You must file a guardianship petition in court to start the process. However, just because a grandparent is nominated as a guardian does not mean they will receive guardianship. The grandparents must list the reasons for seeking guardianship in their petition, and a judge will need to review it before deciding.

When natural parents are opposed to a grandparent from becoming a guardian of their children, it is up to the grandparent to provide the evidence discussed earlier. It falls onto the grandparent seeking guardianship to show by a preponderance of the evidence that parents are unfit to care for a child or unwilling to keep their children safe. An Illinois court will examine the evidence presented and make a decision where the child's best interests are the focus.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney

Grandparents looking to take a more active role in the lives of their grandchildren do have options. Even if guardianship is not the answer, a grandparent can look toward alternatives, such as visitation rights. In any case, an experienced Naperville, IL guardianship lawyer, like those at Calabrese Associates, P.C., is ready and willing to assist in any way we can. Contact our office at 630-393-3111 for a low-cost introductory consultation to discuss your next steps.

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