Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

What are my options if I am worried about a young relative?

It is an unfortunate reality that oftentimes parents in Rockford and other parts of Illinois, for a variety of reasons, are either unable or unwilling to take care of their children properly. As a result, many kids in Illinois have to deal with abuse or neglect as part of their daily lives. While these children's other relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and the like, may be very worried about their young loved ones, they may not have any idea what they can do about the situation other than hope it gets better.

One option is, of course, simply to contact the police or other authorities. But, there are good reasons why a relative might not want to do that. For instance, once the state steps in, the fate of the child is, to a large extent, out of the family's hands, even if they are allowed to have a relationship with the child or even take care of the child on a daily basis.

Other options a concerned family member might consider are filing for a guardianship or petitioning for third-party custody under Illinois' custody laws. Each one of these options come with several legal requirements a relative must be able to satisfy before he or she can obtain a legal award of custody over a child that, while related, is not legally "theirs."

Boiling it down, the adult is going to have to demonstrate clearly that the children's parents are not able or are not willing to care for their children, unless of course they can get the parents to agree to hand over custody.

Although they can be complicated and difficult legal affairs, sometimes a concerned relative will still have no choice but to step in and try to help a child with whom they have family bonds. When having to do so, it is usually a good idea for the relative to have help from an experienced family law attorney.

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