Legal guardianship can be a complicated and overwhelming process.  Knowing the steps and having a minor guardianship lawyer in Chicago to support you will make the process easier to navigate.

When Can I Seek  Guardianship of a Child?

You may begin the process to become the legal guardian of a child when a parent cannot care for a child or chooses to not care for a child. As a legal guardian, you will be able to take full responsibility of the child and make all decisions related to the child such as healthcare, education, and any other factors affecting the child’s well-being.

Are There Different Types of Guardianship?

To be the legal guardian of a child, you do not have to be related to them.  There are three different types of guardianship. Your minor guardianship lawyer in Chicago can explain to you which type would be appropriate for your situation.

Plenary guardianship is long-term guardianship where the guardian has full legal responsibilities and duties to care for a child. This type of guardianship is granted when the court finds the parent is incapable of caring for the child. Plenary guardianship is permanent, and the guardian cannot give up this responsibility unless a judge rules otherwise. When the child turns 18, the guardianship ends.  A court would approve a plenary guardianship for the following reasons: the death of the parents; the inability or lack of desire of the parents to care for the child; the abandonment of the child by the parent; or the parents’ willingness surrender of guardianship.  A legal parent can later seek termination of the guardianship, but a court will need to find that the termination of the guardianship (and return to the parent) is appropriate.

Standby guardianship is a situation where a person is designated to care for the child in the event that a parent or guardian becomes sick, dies, or lives without the child for a period of time. This guardianship is designated by a specific form and must be witnessed by at least 2 people. It may also be designated in one’s will. If an event occurs that would trigger the standby guardianship, such as death or illness, the standby guardian has 60 days to apply for further guardianship in court.

Short-term guardianship is elected in cases where the guardian will only be responsible for the child for one year or less. In this case, the court is not involved in the process, but the agreement must be in writing and witnessed by two adults. It is important to note the exact date the guardianship ends as short-term guardianship cannot last longer than one year.

Beginning the Process To Become a Guardian

As your minor guardianship lawyer in Chicago, an attorney at the Law Offices of J. Jeltes will explain the process and support you through this transition.