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How Can Parental Rights Be Terminated in Illinois?

 Posted on April 30, 2020 in Family Law

DuPage County family law attorney parental rights

Although Illinois family law prefers a child to have two parents actively involved in his or her life, there are times when it is in the best interests of the child to terminate one of the parent’s parental rights. Once an individual’s parental rights have been terminated, he or she is no longer responsible for the child, meaning he or she does not have to pay monthly child support payments and cannot make decisions on the child’s behalf. Illinois has strict and specific rules regarding the termination of parental rights, so it is important to understand them if you are ever involved in a legal dispute regarding your or your former partner's rights regarding your child. 

The Illinois Adoption Act and Parental Rights

Typically, a parent is not allowed to give up his or her rights in order to avoid parental responsibilities or paying child support. In addition, one parent is not allowed to petition to revoke the other parent’s rights as part of a child custody dispute. Typically, parental rights will typically only be terminated if the child is being adopted by a step-parent or another party. Under the Illinois Adoption Act, parental rights can be only involuntarily terminated if:

  • The court has found the parent to be unfit. 

  • The parent is speculated to have committed sexual or physical assault toward the child.

  • The court believes the presumed parent in question is not the biological or adoptive parent of the child.

  • The parent is incapacitated and unlikely to return to his or her previous state, making it difficult to care for the child. 

A parent can be deemed “unfit” if he or she has failed to show a reasonable amount of interest in the child, abandoned the child, avoided taking concern or responsibility for the child’s well-being, neglected the child, or treated the child with severe or ongoing abuse. Parental rights can only be terminated on the basis of “unfitness” through an adoption case or a juvenile case. One parent's rights will need to be terminated in cases where one of the biological parents remarries, and the new spouse would like to adopt the child. A parent may also voluntarily relinquish parental rights to allow the child to be adopted by a step-parent or other adoptive parents.

Opposing the Termination

If one parent is not in favor of the termination, he or she can provide evidence in hopes to counteract the decision. Such evidence may include records of child support payments, proof of efforts to create and maintain a relationship with the child, utilizing parenting time (visitation) rights, and explaining how keeping parental rights would be in the best interest of the child. To ensure that a parent can maintain a continuing relationship with their child, it is extremely important to obtain professional legal representation to challenge the termination of parental rights. 

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney 

In any family matter, your child’s best interests should always come first. If you have questions or concerns regarding your parental responsibilities, or if you believe you are at risk of losing your parental rights, contact a knowledgeable and compassionate DuPage County child custody lawyer from A. Traub & Associates today. We will advocate on your behalf to protect your rights and help you maintain a relationship with your child. Call or text 630-426-0196 to schedule an initial consultation.



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