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Can I Lose my Parenting Rights in Illinois?

Kane County family law attorneyWhen an individual becomes a parent, they are generally entitled to certain rights regarding their child. However, there are a variety of circumstances that can result in a parent losing their parental rights in Illinois. From undetermined paternity to a lack of parental fitness, an individual’s right to parent their child can be revoked. Suppose you have had your parenting rights taken away. In that case, a family attorney can help you uncover your options towards establishing custody, parenting responsibilities, or visitation time with your child.   

Lack of Parental Fitness

In order to understand how the state can revoke parental rights, it is crucial to be familiar with parental fitness guidelines. Being a fit parent includes having the physical, emotional, and mental ability to care for your child. Ways that a parent can be deemed unfit include: 

  • History of child abuse or neglect
  • History of sexual abuse or assault 
  • One year or more of habitual substance abuse 
  • Living in an unsafe environment 
  • Consistent lack of accountability for childcare responsibilities 
  • Mental illness that impacts the ability to care for a child 

If a parent is deemed unfit to parent, the court could terminate their parenting rights, including custody, the right to visitation, or the right to make legal decisions for the child. These unfit qualities are especially reviewed during a divorce. If a couple is pursuing a custody battle while dissolving their marriage, the unfit parent may lose their parenting rights as a divorce agreement is drafted.  

Unestablished Paternity 

Fathers with unestablished paternity may also lose parenting rights if it is proven they are not the biological or adoptive father of a child. If you are a father looking to protect your parenting rights, it is in your best interest to establish biological paternity for your child. Fathers can do this through voluntary paternity testing or a test mandated by the state. If the child is not your biological son or daughter, you can also research adoption options in Illinois to establish parenting rights.  

Voluntary Relinquishment of Parenting Rights 

The last way a parent can lose their rights as a parent is by voluntarily relinquishing them. Sometimes, parents decide that they are unfit, unable, or unwilling to continue taking care of their children. In this case, the parent will surrender their rights to the children. In Illinois, parents are usually only allowed to terminate their own parental rights and custody if another willing adult is prepared to adopt the children. However, there are circumstances where a parent without someone willing to adopt can surrender their children to the state for adoption.  

Which Rights Could Be Revoked?

Parents who are unfit to take care of their dependent children or unwed fathers who have not yet established paternity could have their right to parent terminated. The rights that the state could revoke include: 

  • Visitation time
  • Legal custody
  • Ability to make legal or medical decisions for the child 
  • Ability to have a say in other childcare decisions made for the child 

Speak to a St. Charles Family Law Attorney Today 

Parents who have had their parenting rights revoked should immediately seek the help of a skilled family attorney who may be able to assist a parent in reinstating their rights. At Weiler & Lengle P.C., our experienced Kane County parental rights lawyers have many years of combined experience working in family legal matters, including parenting rights and paternity. Please call us at 630-382-8050 to meet with an attorney. 

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000500K1

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098&ChapterID=59 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3638&ChapterID=59 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000

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