In most cases, only a parent has the legal right to make decisions regarding a minor. However, in some cases, a parent simply cannot or refuses to make safe and rational decisions regarding their child. When this occurs, a person who is not the legal parent of the child may assume guardianship.

Assuming the legal guardianship of a child gives a person permission to make decisions regarding the child without the consent of the parent. A guardian may be a family member, but family relation is not necessary. Anyone familiar with the child and capable of providing them with a stable, caring, and supportive household may assume guardianship.

If you are considering becoming a guardian in Lombard, Illinois, you must understand the legal process behind guardianship.

Who May Become a Guardian?

The court or a parent names a guardian, but the person designated to take care of a child must meet specific standards. These standards prevent a child from ending up in an unstable or abusive environment. Anyone considering becoming a guardian in Lombard, Illinois must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Of sound mind
  • A criminal record free of felony convictions
  • A legal resident of the United States (courts may award guardianship to undocumented immigrants in extreme cases)
  • Physically capable of caring for a child
  • Capable of financially providing for the child

Individuals with some disabilities may assume guardianship of a child. For example, blind individuals could assume guardianship of a minor, as well as some individuals in wheelchairs.

Types of Guardianships in Lombard

Plenary Guardian

A plenary guardian must be approved by the court system, and they may be appointed if the parents are deceased or unable or unwilling to make rational decisions regarding their child. Guardianship could also be assumed by someone else if a parent abandons a child. However, before guardianship is transferred to another person besides a parent, both the parent and guardian must be notified via mail and attend a legal hearing.

If the non-parental party is awarded guardianship, they may not give up their responsibilities until the child reaches 18, the parent becomes able to care for the child again, or another person becomes willing to assume guardianship. In other words, a plenary guardianship essentially functions a legal parent.

Standby Guardian

A standby guardian must meet all the standards required of a plenary guardian, however, it is understood the parent may reassume their status after 60 days. To become a standby guardian, a person simply needs to sign a Designation of Standby Guardian form in the presence of at least two individuals who are at least 18 years of age. If a parent is still unable to make decisions for their child after the 60 days, both parties may go to court to extend guardianship.

Short-term Guardian

A short-term guardian serves the same functions as a plenary or standby guardian, but they may only do so for one year or less. Parties do not have to attend court to appoint a short-term guardian, but they must have a written agreement. Only one short-term guardian may be named at a time, and during their guardianship, they do not have access to the financial assets of the minor.

Let an Attorney Answer Your Questions About Becoming a Guardian in Lombard

Assuming guardianship of a child could be an enjoyable experience, however, you must be sure you do so legally. If you do not attend court or put your agreement with a parent in writing, the court will likely not honor your guardianship. For this reason, you should speak with an attorney, as well as, the person whose child you wish to care for in the event of an emergency.

Contact an attorney who values guidance, protection, and peace of mind if you have additional questions about becoming a guardian in Lombard.