How grandparents can obtain custody
As this blog has explained previously, grandparents’ rights are somewhat limited in Illinois, as the law of this state expresses a strong preference for a child’s legal parents to raise that child and make important decisions on his or her behalf.
However, there is a way, called a guardianship, for Springfield grandparents to obtain child custody over the grandchildren, although this way is only available in limited circumstances, such as when neither of the child’s parents are willing or able to care for their child.
A guardianship is a court action and will likely involve a child’s grandparents having to attend a court hearing. The grandparents should expect to have to prove two things to the judge overseeing the case. First, they must show the child actually needs a guardian.
This means the child’s parent either has to agree to the guardianship, or the grandparents will have to show clearly that the child’s parent is not in the position to make decisions on the child’s behalf.
Even if they can prove their grandchildren need a guardian, they still have to show that they are the best people for the judge to appoint to that role. There are also minimum qualifications the grandparents will have to meet if they want to be considered for appointment. For instance, they must not have a felony related to child abuse on their criminal records, and they must not also be suffering under a legal disability.
In Illinois, the guardian of a child has custody and, with that, has the right and responsibility to care for a child and provide for his or her needs. Thus, grandparents who become guardians over their children will, in almost every respect, have the same rights as the child’s parents, at least until one of them can show he or she is able to care for the child again.