Dec 13, 2017 | Family Law

Oftentimes, grandparents in Rockford, Illinois, have to step in to raise their grandchildren when the children’s parents are unable to do so for whatever reason.

In some cases, the child’s parents may have tragically died or developed a serious medical condition, while in other cases, the parents may be struggling with drug or other issues that makes it hard for them to raise a child safely.

Outside of going through the state’s formal child welfare system, grandparents who feel the need to step in under these circumstances, or who have already been shouldered with the responsibility of raising their grandchildren, can use a guardianship as a means of establishing legal custody over their children and getting the authority and protection they need to raise them and keep them safe.

Basically, a guardianship is a court order appointing responsible person, such as a grandparent, to have custody over a minor child when that child’s parents are not available. The order may also give the guardian authority over the child’s property. Grandparents obtain these sorts of orders by going to court and asking for one.

As a word of caution, though, the law is going to assume that children belong with their parents, and that a child’s parents therefore are the best people to have custody over their own children. Without a child’s parent signing off on the guardianship, it can be an uphill battle for grandparents trying to obtain custody. At a minimum, they will need to show specifically why the parents aren’t good custodians for their own children.

Rockford grandparents who feel that a guardianship might be right for their situation should consider speaking with a family law attorney.