Parents in Illinois who are struggling with a chronic or terminal illness may reach the point where they feel unable to care for their child properly. When this happens, or when a parent anticipates it will happen in the near future, he or she may decide to share their parental rights with someone who can better care for the child.
A standby guardian is a person who willingly takes parental rights on behalf of a child’s custodial parent who is very sick, disabled, or deceased. Just as a parent would be, a standby guardian becomes responsible for caring for the child’s needs. If you are considering appointing or becoming a standby guardian, this blog may be helpful to you.
Who Can I Appoint as a Standby Guardian?
A parent can appoint anyone who is eligible to become a legal guardian in Illinois and who is willing to take on the parental rights and responsibilities for a child. Depending on the situation, a standby guardian may be the child’s other parent, a grandparent, the parent or child’s sibling (if over the age of 18), or even a good friend.
A parent who wants to appoint a standby guardian will work with an attorney to write a Designation of Standby Guardian form. The parent can designate a date or event that starts or ends the guardianship, and the arrangement must be signed in the presence of two adult witnesses.
Once appointed, standby guardians do not immediately receive exclusive parental rights; neither they do not take away the rights of the child’s parent. Rather, they share in parental rights and completely take over parental rights only during an emergency or if a parent passes away. While the child’s parent is still alive, he or she retains all of the same parental rights and responsibilities as they had before appointing a standby guardian.
When a standby guardian does assume parental responsibilities, they must file a petition with the court within 60 days. If the child’s other parent is alive, he or she must be notified of the petition. The court will approve guardianship, pending a review of the parent’s health, the best interests of the child, and whether the guardian is capable of taking on the responsibilities of caring for a child.
Speak with a DuPage County Standby Guardianship Lawyer
Nobody ever expects to find themselves in a situation where illness makes them unable to care for their child. But for a parent in these circumstances, it is essential to work with a Naperville standby guardianship attorney who understands Illinois law and can help make the necessary arrangements. If you are wondering whether standby guardianship would benefit your child, call the offices of Calabrese Associates, P.C. to schedule a confidential consultation today. Contact us at 630-393-3111.