In this article, we will answer, “How do courts determine who will be the guardian of a minor in Illinois?” Our Illinois guardianship attorneys will answer:
In some cases, a minor may need to live with a legal guardian other than their parents. This guardian assumes most of the responsibilities a legal parent has, including providing food and housing. Essentially, a guardian takes care of a child’s needs when a parent is unable to.
In Illinois, a person who wishes to become a guardian must meet the following criteria:
There are three different types of guardianship in Illinois.
A plenary guardian is a long-term guardianship that requires a court case to establish. The following scenarios may require a plenary guardianship.
With this type of guardianship, the guardian cannot give up responsibility of a minor, unless a judge determines that the child’s parent can care for the child again or if someone else is willing to become the new guardian. This type of guardianship automatically ends once the child turns 18.
A standby guardian is similar to a plenary guardian in that it is permanent. It differs though in that this type of guardian is decided by the parents of the minor in need of a guardian. A designation must be in writing and witnessed by at least two people who are at least 18 years old. A standby guardian can also be designated in a will.
A short-term guardianship does not require a court case. This type of guardianship lasts for one year or less and the parent chooses the short-term guardian. While court is not necessary, the agreement must be in writing.
The answer to this question depends on what (or who) the guardian is responsible for.
If the guardian is responsible for a minor, they have broad power to make decisions for the child. They uphold physical custody of the child and must provide food, shelter, education, and medical care. They can also consent to the minor’s medical treatment, desire to enlist in the armed forces, and marriage.
If the guardian is responsible for the estate of a minor, they can only make decisions about the minor’s money and property. The funds may only be used for the benefit of the child.
In order to determine who will be appointed as guardian of a minor, the court will hold a hearing at which the prospective guardian must demonstrate to the court that the appointment of the prospective guardian will be in the best interests of the child. If there is a dispute as to who will become guardian to the child, all parties will have the opportunity to present evidence to the court to support their arguments.
The court will usually appoint a guardian ad litem in guardianship cases. A guardian ad litem is an attorney responsible for representing the interests of the child, investigating the child’s best interests, and reporting to the court with a recommendation as to the situation that will be best for the child.
Courts will consider all relevant facts to determine the best interests of the child when determining guardianship. These include:
If your child is included in someone’s will, you may need to become their guardian. This will make you legally liable for inherited assets and their management. Without the obligations guardianship entails, the assets could be mishandled.
O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in: