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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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adoption, guardianship, Lombard family law attorneyWhile most people are familiar with the concept of adoption, many may realize that there are alternatives to adoption that can grant an individual certain authority over a child’s life. In Illinois, as well as other jurisdictions, it is possible to seek legal guardianship of a minor child. Guardianship, in many ways, is quite similar to adoption but is quite different in others. If you are looking to provide a loving home to a child in need, understanding the differences between the two can help you make the best choice for your specific situation.

Many Similarities

Guardianship of child grants you the legal authority to act as the child’s parent in virtually all areas of the child’s life. You become responsible for tending to the child’s day-to-day needs, as well as making medical, educational, and other decisions regarding the child. An adoption would provide you with all of the same authority and responsibilities regarding the child.  Both adoptions and guardianships in Illinois will only be granted if the child’s birth parents consent to the arrangement, have been found to be unsuited for providing such care for the child themselves, have passed away, or cannot be located.

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