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If you’ve stumbled upon this article, you most likely have questions about temporary guardianship of a child in Illinois. What is temporary guardianship of a minor in Illinois? Illinois refers to temporary guardianship of a minor as short-term guardianship. There are many reasons why someone would want to ask for short-term guardianship of a minor in Illinois. You can expect a streamlined process with no court involvement if all you are looking for is short-term guardianship. Read on to learn more about getting temporary or short-term guardianship of a minor in Illinois.  

woman hugging children after getting temporary guardianship


What is Temporary or Short-Term Guardianship?


Illinois recognizes three types of guardianship. Short-term or temporary guardianship, plenary guardianship, and standby guardianship.  


Plenary guardianship is the term used for a “permanent” or, more accurately, a “long-term” guardianship. In a plenary guardianship, the guardian is appointed for the child and/or the child’s estate. The guardianship will most likely not be permanent and will end when the child reaches their majority. In some circumstances, an adult with disabilities will need to have permanent guardianship in order to ensure their safety and well-being.  


Standby guardianship is when the child’s parent is sick with a long-term or fatal illness. A parent can designate a standby guardian with the proposed guardian’s consent. If necessary, the standby guardian can exercise guardianship over the child or children for up to 60 days. Before the 60 days expire, the standby guardian must petition the court for something more permanent, like plenary guardianship.  


A short-term or temporary guardianship is the focus of this article. This guardianship is also sometimes referred to as “temporary guardianship.” This guardianship can last no longer than 365 days; in other words, it can last for one year. It is not expected to be a permanent situation. Furthermore, it is unnecessary to go to court to obtain short-term guardianship.  If you are looking for more information on permanent guardianship in Illinois read our article, Your Ultimate Guide to Illinois Guardianship.



Who Qualifies for the Role of Temporary Guardian of a Child?


You must be 18 years of age. You should be a resident of the United States, although the court will make exceptions in certain circumstances. You cannot have a felony conviction on your record. You must be of sound mind. You cannot be legally disabled. You do not have to be a relative of the child or children in order to become their short-term guardian.  


How Do I Get Short-Term Guardianship of a Child?


To understand how to get short-term guardianship of a child, you must first understand that it is not a permanent court order. You do not need to file in court to get short-term guardianship in Illinois. The parents of the child or children will have to sign off on the guardianship. This type of guardianship is intended for people who might have a longer-term period of care for the child or children, but the intent is not that it becomes permanent. Here are some examples of when a short-term guardianship might be necessary:  

  • A parent has to leave on active military duty  
  • One or both parents are taking some other kind of extended trip and want to leave the kids with the grandparents, who may need legal authority to enroll in school or obtain healthcare for the kids  
  • A parent is too sick at the time to care for the kids  
  • Parent or parents have been arrested and must serve time in jail  



There can only be one short-term guardian at a time. Their parties do not have to go to court for the guardianship to be effective, but there must be an agreement in writing for the short-term guardianship to be legitimate.  

what you need for short term guardianship to be valid

It is important to note that the Illinois courts will not recognize a short-term guardianship executed by one parent when there is another parent who has not had their parental rights terminated and who is willing to care for the child or children during whatever period of time the other parent will be unable to do so.  


The parents can revoke the guardianship at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all. The parent can communicate the revocation of the short-term guardianship in any manner; it does not have to be in writing to be effective. The granting parent can also amend the short-term guardianship, which means the parent can make changes to the short-term guardianship agreement.  


What is the Difference Between Guardianship of a Person, Estate, or of Both Person and Estate?


It is essential to point out that you can have guardianship over a person, their estate, or both. Guardianship over a person means that you have a say in what they do daily, where they live, where they go to school, and how they otherwise spend their time. A person’s guardian has broad discretionary powers regarding what their ward does. Guardianship of the estate is when you have a custodial position over their finances. A guardian of the estate will monitor and manage the ward’s assets but cannot or should not access or control them. A guardian of the estate will be expected to keep accurate records and explain any money spent from the estate, otherwise known as accounting. A great deal of the time, there is guardianship over the person and their estate, where the guardian exercises complete control over the safety and well-being of both the person and their money. While this is something a short-term guardian might not consider, in the event the guardianship becomes permanent, it is something to keep in mind.  



If you are considering short-term guardianship or want more information about your options, feel free to give O’Flaherty Law a call, we would be happy to help.  

November 7, 2022
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