location 166 W. Washington St., Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60602
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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Cook County Minor Guardianship Lawyer

Inverness IL child guardianship lawyer

Family Law and Probate Attorney for Guardian Appointments for Children in Chicago and Surrounding Areas

In Illinois, it is important for children under the age of 18 to be under the care of a responsible adult who can provide for their needs. Often, this care comes from a child's parents, but unfortunately, there are many situations in which parents are unable to provide adequate care. In these cases, it may be necessary to appoint a legal guardian for the child.

Minor guardianship cases have much in common with family law matters like the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, but they are handled in probate court rather than family court. If you need legal assistance in a guardianship case, it is a good idea to work with an attorney who has experience with both family and probate law. At The Law Office of George J. Skuros, we have the knowledge and experience you are looking for, and we can help you make the case for guardianship that protects a child's best interests.

When Does a Child Need a Guardian in Illinois?

In most cases, when a child has at least one living parent who is willing and able to care for them, the parent will maintain custody and the responsibility for caring for the child. In fact, Illinois courts will usually not consider a petition for guardianship when this is the case. However, a number of circumstances could result in the need for guardianship of a minor child, including:

  • The death of one or both parents
  • A parent's incapacitating illness or injury
  • A parent's imprisonment or deportation
  • A parent's disappearance or abandonment of the child
  • Any other situation in which the parents are unable to care for the child

It is important to note that even if a guardian is appointed, living parents still maintain their parental rights unless a situation arises in which termination of those rights is warranted.

Types of Minor Guardianship in Cook County

Depending on the situation, guardianship of a minor can take a variety of forms. For example:

  • A guardian of the person has the same essential responsibilities and duties as a parent who has been allocated parenting time and parental responsibilities. This includes providing a home for the child, performing childcare functions, and making important decisions about the child's health and education.
  • A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing property and assets to which the child is entitled, which generally includes safeguarding them and using them for purposes related to the child's best interests. A guardian of the estate can also be appointed as guardian of the person, and vice versa, but it is also possible to appoint separate guardians of the person and estate.
  • A standby guardianship is established in advance of the need for a guardian, usually by parents who want to provide for their children's care in the event of their death or inability to provide it themselves. A standby guardianship takes effect only when the parents become unable to care for their children.
  • A short-term guardian is appointed for a period lasting up to 365 days, usually when a parent knows they will need someone else to care for the child for a limited period of time. Short-term guardians typically only have the responsibilities of a guardian of the person.

Appointing a Guardian

Aside from petitioning for a standby guardianship, parents can also nominate a guardian in their will or another written document. Children who are at least 14 years old are also allowed to nominate their own guardian, and the court will take this nomination under consideration. Additionally, other parties seeking guardianship of a minor child who needs it can file a petition in probate court.

The court will review nominations and petitions to determine whether a person is qualified to be a guardian under Illinois law. In order to qualify as a guardian, a person must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the U.S. They must also be of sound mind, without an adjudicated disability for which they would require guardianship themselves, and usually without any felony convictions on their record. If there are multiple petitions for guardianship, the court will make a decision based on the child's best interests.

Contact an Arlington Heights Minor Guardianship Attorney

If you are a parent or another relative or interested party seeking guardianship of a child, we can help. For a free consultation on your case, contact us at 312-884-1222. We serve clients throughout Cook County, including Arlington Heights, Chicago, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Mount Prospect, Inverness, Schaumburg, the North Shore, and the surrounding areas.

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