The family law attorneys at Granholm & Gynac can assist you in establishing a guardianship over a minor child. We can also petition to end an existing guardianship when it is no longer needed or in the best interests of a child.
Guardians for children are typically appointed when a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for their child. In Illinois, anyone can implement a temporary guardianship for up to one year by simply executing the proper paperwork. A child’s existing parents must consent to the temporary guardianship, signing the form and having their signature notarized. However, such a temporary guardianship can be revoked at any time and is not intended for longer-term situations.
In order to become a lasting guardian over a minor child, it is necessary to file a court case and have the guardianship approved by a judge.
Basics of Guardianships for Minors
In order to be a qualified guardian over a minor child, an individual must be at least eighteen (18) years of age; be a U.S. resident; have no felony convictions; be of sound mind and not legally disabled. The reasons why minor child guardianships may be needed are many and varied:
- The child’s parents are deceased
- The child’s parents are incarcerated
- The child’s parents have abandoned the child and/or cannot be found
- The child’s parents have had their parental rights terminated due to abuse or neglect
- The child’s parents are sick or disabled
- The child’s parents are unfit parents, such as due to alcoholism or drug addiction
A parent may also name and give authority to a standby guardian in anticipation that they may become too ill to care for their child in the near future. Guardianships can also be put in place if a parent will be traveling or living apart from their child for an extended period of time.
Guardianships are an important tool to protect the interests of minor children, granting legal authority to concerned individuals who need to enroll a child in school, take them to the doctor, and make any necessary life decisions when the child’s parents are unable or unwilling to do so.
Whether you’re a grandparent, relative or friend of the family, it may someday become necessary for you to become a guardian for a child. Our attorneys are here to help.
Petitioning to Terminate a Guardianship
Just as establishing lasting guardianships over a minor child require people to go to court, revoking a court-approved guardianship also requires a court order. At Granholm & Gynac, we can file this petition and represent you should the need arise.
The situation that necessitated a guardianship for a period of time can sometimes change. Biological parents may have improved their life circumstances, such as establishing a safe and stable home environment or becoming drug-free or sober. If that’s the case, you may be able to prove to the court that you’re ready to take your child (or children) back and be a parent to them once again.
In such situations, the burden will be on the parent to demonstrate to the court that their circumstances have changed. Judges will consider a number of factors in weighing such a request, including reviewing the minor child’s relationships with everyone involved; how long the parent has been apart from a child; and what sort of contact you may have had with your child while the guardianship was in place.
With so much at stake, we don’t recommend trying to challenge or revoke a guardianship with legal representation.