How to Get Temporary Guardianship of a Minor in Illinois

By John Cromwell

A short term guardianship in Illinois lasts for 365 days or less and allows an adult to take responsibility for a child if the parent is unable to care for the child. The process of getting effective temporary custody does not require going to court, but does require the consent of the child's parents. However, if the parents contest this process, you will need to file a petition for guardianship with the court in the county where the child lives.

Determine if the parents would be willing to grant you temporary guardianship. If the parents are willing to do so, no legal proceeding is necessary. All you will need is for the parents, or the custodial parent to sign a document granting you guardianship. You will also need to sign the document.

Attempt to get filing costs waived, if appropriate. The court will waive court fees if it determines that asking you to pay the court costs would pose a significant barrier to you bringing suit. You will need to file with the court an application to sue as an indigent, and an affidavit detailing your financial status. If successful, you will receive an order to sue as an indigent person, allowing you to waive costs. Keep several copies of the order.

Complete all the requisite forms for the suit. The two sets of documents you need to prepare are the petition for guardian of minor and the notices to all the related parties to the case. The petition describes the basis for why you want to seek guardianship over the children in question, and providing notice to the adult relatives of the child is required by law. Remember that the court will assume that the best place for the child is with her parents, so you must present a compelling case in the petition to overcome that assumption.

File the court documents. File the petition and notices with the clerk of court in the county where the children live. When you file the petition you will receive a court date, which is when you will need to appear before a judge to present your case. Print at least five copies of the petition and three copies of each notice, as you will need multiple copies for when you file.

Notify the adult relatives. Via certified mail, contact each adult relative of the child in question. Send each relative the original notice of motion and a copy of the petition. This should satisfy your notice requirement.

Attend court on the day of the hearing. Bring copies of your state ID, the child's birth certificate and the return receipt of the certified mail notices. Get to court early, dress nicely and be sure to remain calm and treat the judge with respect, regardless of how stressed you may be. Answer all of the judge's questions.

Get certified copy of the order. If the judge grants custody, the clerk in the court should help you fill out the order. After the judge signs the order, get it certified at the clerk of court.

About the Author

John Cromwell specializes in financial, legal and small business issues. Cromwell holds a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting, as well as a Juris Doctor. He is currently a co-founder of two businesses.

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