New Illinois law helps ‘psychological’ parents get legal rights

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Tuesday, July 5, 2016.

Many Illinois families do not fit the traditional mold of a married mother and father and a couple of kids. The most important thing is not who is raising the children; what matters most is that the children are safe, healthy and in the best possible situation to grow up in.

In some cases, this can mean granting child custody to a relative who is not biologically related to the little boy or girl. A new state law makes it easier for non-biological relatives to be granted custody or visitation rights.

In what might have been the first such use of the statute, a woman recently gained parental rights over a boy she once believed to be her biological grandson. Though a paternity test later proved this was not the case, the woman still pursued and won parental rights, arguing that she was the only person in the child’s life capable of caring for him.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the boy was born with opiates in his system. With neither the mother nor the purported father able or willing to care for the baby, the woman believed to be the paternal grandmother stepped in.

For nine months, she raised the baby by herself, but the fact that she did not have legal relationship with the child limited her ability to obtain benefits and other things. She later lost custody of the child and went to court to get parental rights as a “psychological parent.”

Over the mother’s objections, the judge granted exclusive legal child custody to the grandmother, along with parenting time.

Usually, it is in a child’s best interests to spend time with both parents. But in some cases, such as when domestic violence or drug addiction is involved, this is not possible. If you are involved in a complicated child custody case, you will need a skilled family law attorney to represent you.

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