Legal Guardianship of a Child

When a divorce involves children, it is not uncommon for parents to become entrenched in a lengthy, stressful dispute over parental arrangements regarding their children. Illinois courts always seek to allocate parental responsibilities—formerly known as child custody—based on considerations that will promote the child’s overall well-being. As a result, courts do not consider the mother to be the default parent following a divorce and will hear all perspectives—including the child’s.

In most cases, both parents are actively looking to safeguard their children’s best interests, but, sometimes, one parent may be more interested in looking after his or her own needs than worry about those of his or children. Even more rarely, the court will decide that neither parent offers a suitable and healthy situation for the child. In these cases, custodial rights may go to a legal guardian. Other times, parents may select someone to receive custody if they feel they cannot provide for the child.

Guardianship of a Minor

When a court chooses to grant custody of a child, or ward, to a guardian, it is doing so because the nature of the situation is such that the guardian provides the best possible scenario for the child. As such, it is the responsibility of the guardian to provide a stable living environment. This includes not only the child’s basic, everyday needs, but also providing the child with access to healthcare and education. A guardian is also given control over the child’s property and financial concerns.

Because guardianship is a legal designation, there are certain benefits that are available to those who take in a ward. These may include healthcare, public assistance, housing and college education assistance, and more depending on the financial situation. Guardians should always be aware that they are doing more than simply watching over a child; they are acting as the child’s legal caretakers in every sense of the law.

We Can Help

Appointing a non-parent guardian for a child is a drastic measure and one that an Illinois court will take only if such action is in the child’s best interests. If you are currently facing a divorce or are interested in receiving guardianship of a child, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney at Kezy & Associates. We will work with you in exploring your available options and help you protect your child as well as your rights. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation at any one of our three convenient office locations.