Chicago Grandparent Adoption Attorney
Children often have several loving adults in their lives that care for them, and protect them when their lives are disrupted. Often, it is the grandparents who take on parenting duties. According to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), about 100,000 grandparents are raising their grandchildren in the state. A grandparent may come to the decision to adopt and take full responsibility for the child or children. A skilled family lawyer can help you explore your legal options for grandparent adoption, and guide you through the process.
Unfit Parents: Illinois Law
Parental rights may be terminated by the court if the parents are deemed unfit. Some of the situations that will lead to a parent losing parental rights include:
- Abandonment of a child.
- Abandonment of an infant.
- Desertion of the child for more than three months.
- Substantial neglect of the child, continuous and repeated.
- Extreme or repeated cruelty to the child.
- Physical abuse of the child.
- Depravity – parent convicted of murder, or three felony offenses.
- Habitual drunkenness or addiction to drugs.
- Various others.
Adoption establishes the grandparents as the legal parents, and gives them the full rights and responsibilities of a natural parent. Adoption is permanent, but is only granted to grandparents under specific circumstances. It may be necessary to take action to have parental rights terminated, and our firm can help with every detail.
When a Grandparent Can Adopt
Various circumstances make it possible for grandparents to adopt their grandchildren, including:
- At least one parent is deceased, and the other is unfit to parent. In the case of a death in the family, a grandparent may be the most natural choice of guardian. Grandparents can provide the love and support a grieving child needs, and may be in the best position to care for them long-term.
- Substance abuse or incarceration. Even when birth parents are alive, they may be ill-equipped to raise a family, or incarcerated.
- Abuse or neglect. Children need to be protected when parents put them in harm’s way through neglect, or in cases in which the child was a victim of abuse. Grandparents may be the best option for providing a safe and secure home environment for an abused or neglected child.
For grandparents to adopt, certain conditions must be met. If living, the birth parents must consent to the adoption, unless their parental rights have been terminated. A home study by a licensed social worker will be performed. However, if an adoption is to occur, grandparents (and other relatives) will get preference in placement decisions.
How to Begin the Process
If you are a grandparent wishing to adopt your grandchild, get help from a Chicago adoption lawyer. The process can be fairly lengthy and complicated, based upon your situation. It is important to have a legal advocate to guide you. At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we are available to discuss grandparent adoption, and what needs to be done for you to gain full legal custody and parental rights for your grandchild or grandchildren. Contact us to schedule a consultation. We can be reached at (312) 332-2915.
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