The make up of today’s families are far more diverse than 50 years ago. More and more children are being raised by single parents, grandparents, and extended families. Illinois law has changed so as to consider the changing family dynamics within the State. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which is also incorporated into the Illinois Parentage Act, states as follows:

A proceeding for allocation of parental responsibilities is commenced in the court: by a person other than a parent, by filing a petition for allocation of parental responsibilities in the county in which the child is permanently resident or found, but only if he or she is not in the physical custody of one of his or her parents.

In short, the Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Act and the Illinois Parentage Act do not limit those who can file a Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to parents of minor children. Third parties can also take advantage of the laws’ protections so long as the child is in their care. However, if you are seeking to take over the care of a minor who is not in your care you must pursue guardianship through the probate court. To be granted parentage in a probate court the court must determine that the parent who has the care of the minor child is unfit.

If you are a third party caregiver for a minor child and need to protect your rights, or if you need to seek custody of a minor who is not in your care, contact the office of Allison & Mosby-Scott. Our attorneys have extensive experience in guardianship matters as well as in obtaining parenting rights for grandparents, aunts, uncles and other third parties via the Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Act and the Illinois Parentage Act.