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Lombard family law attorneyToday, families in the United States come in all varieties. More single parents and unmarried parents are raising children than in the past. Same-sex couples are also raising more children than they did twenty years ago. Families are often blended, with children from several relationships living together under one roof. Grandparents are also increasingly taking the place of biological parents in children’s lives. 

Voluntary Relinquishment

There are several ways that grandparents can get custody of their grandchildren. The first way is through petitioning the court for custody of the grandchildren. Both parents of the child must voluntarily relinquish their parental rights to the child unless there is another issue like abuse. Parents may give up the rights to their children for many deeply personal reasons. Sometimes addiction issues or mental health concerns make a parent unable to raise their child. Other times, very young parents relinquish their parental rights so that a grandparent or grandparents can adopt the child.

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Lombard family law attorneysNo one wants to think about their own mortality, but it is an issue that must be faced eventually. This is especially true if you have minor children. Provisions must be made for them in case the unthinkable happens. While it may seem alarmist, it is actually quite common to draw up a plan or mechanism to ensure that your children are well cared for if you are suddenly removed from the proverbial picture. The most often used method of guaranteeing that stability is to set up a guardianship, but there are other possible options.

Superior Rights Doctrine

As one might assume, if you are married to your children’s mother or father (or once were), Illinois courts will usually grant custody to him or her under the so-called “superior rights doctrine.” There is a general presumption that a biological parent is the best person to raise children, and this will often be followed as long as the parent has not been found unfit. However, there is one doctrine that carries more weight than the superior rights principle, and that is the best interests of the child. Illinois public policy explicitly states that the best interests of the child are the primary concern when ruling on issues in family law, such as parenting time or allocation of parental responsibilities.

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Lombard family law attorneyThe term “parental alienation” refers to the process through which a person psychologically manipulates a child into having ill feelings toward their parent. This most often occurs when parents divorce or separate. Parental alienation is a form of psychological abuse and it can be devastating to both the child and his or her parents. There is even evidence to suggest that a child who has been manipulated in this way will have a higher chance of mental and physical illness. Parental alienation is inexcusable.

Why and How Does Parental Alienation Occur?

Parental alienation most often happens to children whose parents are separating or divorcing. Of course, it can also be an issue for children of parents who were never married to one another. When the parents are in conflict, they can start to bring their child or children into the conflict. A parent who is jealous or angry toward the other parent begins to encourage their child to take “their side.”

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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard guardianship lawyersIn Illinois and indeed all over the country, there are children and disabled people who require a bit of extra help to have their needs met. While most often, people have family members to act for them, those who do not may need temporary or permanent guardians. There are specific procedures one must follow to become one and specific rules to be followed once one has the position.

General Guardianship Information

Most guardianship proceedings are conducted through the probate court. However, guardianship of a child differs slightly from seeking the guardianship of a disabled person in that guardianship of a minor automatically ceases when that child turns 18. Able-bodied adults over 18 are entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they can handle their own affairs. As such, obtaining guardianship for a 17-year-old may be more difficult and less practical than seeking guardianship over a 10-year-old simply because it would expire so quickly.

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Lombard family law attorneysDisabled adults are in a difficult position in our society. Some require extensive support in their daily lives. Others require far less, but still may have markedly different experiences than able-bodied people. Each person’s situation is unique, and Illinois maintains guardianship laws that allow for maximum flexibility. The goal is to ensure that some of the most egregious abuses of the disabled occur far less frequently in the state than in others with more traditional guardianship regulations. If you are the relative of a disabled adult and are considering applying for guardianship, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with Illinois regulations.

Degrees of Guardianship

Illinois law makes allowances for the fact that there are varying levels of mental and physical disability, and that one level of guardianship is not sufficient to encompass the varied experiences of such people. Unlike many other states, Illinois law states explicitly that the mere existence of a mental or physical disability is not sufficient grounds to require guardianship. It must also be shown that the disabled person is incapable of making or communicating responsible decisions about their personal care, their finances, or both.

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