Courts in Illinois strive to keep families together and protect parental rights whenever possible. However, certain circumstances may warrant consideration of other parenting alternatives when it comes to raising and caring for children. In some cases, it may be in the best interests of the children for grandparents to have custody. Here are a few situations that may result in grandparents getting primary custody of children.
Death of parents
If one parent passes away, the surviving parent typically gets custody. However, if there is no surviving parent, child custody may go to the grandparents. If the parent(s) designated grandparents as the guardians in their wills and the grandparents can raise the children, then the court will likely grant custody to the grandparents as guardians. However, even if the parent(s) didn’t designate a guardian, grandparents can petition for child custody.
Parents can be declared unfit if it is found that they cannot provide a minimum level of care for their children. This can happen in situations of neglect, abandonment or abuse. In these instances, a court hearing will be held to determine if the parents meet the standard of care. If the parents are declared unfit, grandparents can petition for temporary custody of the children. When parental rights are completely terminated, grandparents may petition for permanent custody.
Obtaining legal help
Before filing for custody of grandchildren, grandparents need to ensure they present a relevant and comprehensive petition. Grandparents will likely also need evidence showing that granting custody is in the children’s best interests. To get help with obtaining child custody, it may be beneficial to speak with an experienced legal professional. A knowledgeable family law attorney can give guidance on how laws work in Illinois and what courts require.