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Kane County family law attorneyWhile many parents would like to be able to simply end their ex’s right to be in their children’s lives, it is not possible in Illinois to do so unilaterally. Terminating a parent’s rights in Illinois is a process that requires the involvement of both parents in most cases, and in some situations, it can get extraordinarily complex. It is imperative, for the sake of your children, to ensure you understand the process before trying to assert your parental rights over those of their current caregivers.

When Can Rights Be Terminated?

In Illinois, there are very limited occasions on which a parent’s rights may be terminated. According to current law, there are only two: either in a case under the Adoption Act or in a juvenile court case. This may seem extreme, but Illinois legislators and courts have been firm in asserting that children benefit more from having both parents in their lives, unless the parent has been convicted of offenses that would signify their posing a danger to the child in question.

Posted on in Family Law

Geneva family law attorneyMany couples who want children are unfortunately unable to have them naturally, due to health issues, infertility or other possible factors. More and more couples are turning to surrogates as an answer. Once thought of as a solution mostly for same-sex couples, heterosexual couples are using surrogates to help ease their fertility problems. However, if you are not careful, some complex legal tangles can crop up over a surrogate’s maternal rights.

The Gestational Surrogacy Act

Illinois’ laws about surrogate parents are actually some of the most well-defined and specific in the nation. The Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act (IGSA) was passed in 2005 to specifically clarify the rights of both the intended parents and the surrogate mother.

Kane County family law attorneyMost parents would do absolutely anything to keep their children safe and happy. Thus, when there is a suspicion of abuse, parents and authorities typically act quickly to address the concerns. This can get especially tricky in divorce cases, however. Sometimes abuse allegations have merit, and sometimes they are used as weapons by an estranged or bitter ex-spouse. It is important to know how to handle both situations.

The Law on Abuse and Neglect

The statutory definition of child abuse in Illinois is somewhat complex, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Essentially, an abused child is one who has been the victim of any act that either causes or intends to cause severe physical, emotional, sexual or mental harm. If a mother grabs her son’s arm to pull him out of traffic and gives him bruises, such conduct is likely not abusive, but if she dislocates his shoulder while trying to get his attention in a supermarket, it may be considered abuse.

kane county family lawyersIn juvenile court, it is sadly not uncommon for parental rights to be terminated if doing so is deemed to be in the best interests of their children. Parents with a history of violence or substance abuse problems, among others, may be deemed unfit. However, the system does not always shut the door irrevocably. If a parent is able to demonstrate that he or she has changed and that it would now be in the best interest of the child to allow the parent to have time with the child, there may be a way to get it.

Each State Has Its Own Laws

Most states do not permit restoration of parental rights in any but the most unusual cases. Illinois is one of nine states that does have a procedure to restore parental rights in certain situations; the other 41 generally do not. The general prevailing view is that certain faults can be corrected if proof of a significant change in circumstances is shown.

Geneva family law attorneyAs a parent, you will always want what is best for your child. By law, you also have a number of rights and responsibilities related to his or her upbringing and support. Exercising your parental rights can be challenging in the wake of divorce, especially if your ex-spouse has been allocated a majority of the parenting time and decision-making authority. When your ex gets remarried, your situation can become even more challenging, especially if his or her new partner expresses interest in legally adopting your child. If you are concerned about your parental rights being threatened, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself.

Stepparent Adoption Requires Consent

In order for your ex’s new spouse to adopt your child, in most situations, you must grant voluntary consent. This means that you willingly terminate your parental rights and responsibilities for your child, as the law permits a person to have only two legal parents. A stepparent adoption is not a mere formality; it expressly transfers full parental authority and creates a legal parent-child relationship between your son or daughter and the stepparent.

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