How do I obtain custody of a minor child that isn’t my biological child?

 

Many times parties will want to file for custody of a minor child that is not their own biological child.  Aunts, Uncles, siblings, grandparents and other adults often times will find themselves in circumstances where they wish to file for custody.

In Illinois, you must have standing in order to file for custody of a minor child that is not your biological child.  Illinois law prescribes specific situations where a specific type of non-parent may file for custody of a minor child.  Generally, if you are a non-parent that wishes to file for custody of a minor child under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, you may only do so if the minor child is not in the physical custody of one of their biological parents.  So, for example, if a minor child is in physical care of their maternal grandmother and paternal grandmother wishes to file for custody, they may do so.  If the minor child is in the care of her mother and her paternal grandmother wishes to file for custody under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, they may not do so, because the child is in the physical custody of one of their parents.  There is a presumption under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in favor of the biological parent of a minor child.  In the event that a non-parent wishes to file for custody of a minor child and the minor child is in the care of one of their natural parents, you must meet a much higher standard and prove that the natural parent is unfit; see the Adoption Act and the Juvenile Court Act for more information.  You don’t need to prove that a natural parent is unfit under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to obtain custody, but you do have a rebuttable presumption in favor of the biological parent.

Generally, if you wish to obtain custody of a minor child that is not your biological child, you must research on your own or speak with an attorney in order to determine whether or not you have standing to do so.  If you are facing an issue such as this and wish to retain counsel, please feel free to call our office to set up a consultation.

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