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How Is Guardianship of a Minor Established in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

West Chicago guardianship attorney

Typically, only parents are allowed to make decisions based on their child’s well-being. However, in certain situations, parents may be unable or unwilling to care for their children, and someone who is not the parent of the child may become their legal guardian. A guardian is able to make sound decisions for a child and assume the parental role in the child’s life. It is important to note that guardianship can also apply to disabled adults. Before anyone takes on this responsibility, it is crucial to understand what it entails by seeking professional legal guidance from an experienced family law attorney. 

Types of Guardianship

There are three different types of guardianship in Illinois:

  1. Standby guardianship: This type of guardian refers to when an individual will be the presumed guardian in the event the child’s parent is chronically or terminally ill and/or disabled and therefore is unable to care for or make the day-to-day decisions for his or her child. After a specified period of time, if the child’s parent cannot resume care, another more permanent legal guardianship arrangement will be established.

  2. Short-term/Temporary guardianship: In these cases, an individual assumes the role of guardian for a brief amount of time, usually less than one year. This typically occurs when a parent has an illness, is on extended travel for work, or is on active duty in the military and is stationed away from home. 

  3. Long-term/Plenary guardianship: Once a legal plenary guardianship has been arranged, this is typically meant to be a permanent arrangement, and a plenary guardian may continue to be responsible for the child until they turn 18. The guardian will have the power to make decisions about personal care and/or finances for the minor.

Who Can Become a Guardian?

Within the state of Illinois, an individual must meet the following criteria in order to become a legal guardian of a minor:

  • They must be a resident of the United States.

  • They must be at least 18 years old.

  • They must not be physically or mentally disabled.

  • They do not have any felony convictions that involve potential threat or harm to the child.

  • They are of sound mind and able to make decisions based on the minor’s best interests.

Filing a Petition

Before someone can become a legal guardian, he or she must file a petition for guardianship and receive the court's approval. The petition includes the name, date of birth, and address of the individual who is in need of guardianship. Once a petition is filed, the court will set a date for a hearing. At the hearing, any parties who have an objection to the guardianship, such as either of the child's parents, may testify or present evidence to the court. The judge will decide whether granting guardianship is in the child's best interests.

Contact a Winfield Family Law Attorney 

If you are looking to assume the role of guardian for a minor, The Law Office of Christina Martell is here to help. Christina and her skilled legal team will help you file your petition and guide you through the process, providing you with representation in court hearings and ensuring that you will have the tools to provide the care the child needs. Consult with a knowledgeable and compassionate DuPage County guardianship lawyer to learn more about how we can help you establish guardianship. We offer consultations for $100, which will be credited toward your bill moving forward. Call our office today at 630-717-2772 to schedule a confidential appointment. 



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