Posted .

Being a parent is hard work, and sometimes, the job is made even more difficult by the inappropriate actions of the other parent. Whether as a result of a divorce case, an abuse case, or a case involving domestic violence or other improper or illegal act, there may be a situation in which you wish to ask your ex to sign over their parental rights. Consider the following about the termination of parental rights in Illinois, and call our law firm for information specific to your case–

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Termination

A parent can terminate their rights in Illinois either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Involuntary termination of parental rights. A court may terminate a parent’s rights in the event that the parent is found to be “unfit,” as defined in 750 ILCS 50 as, “Any person whom the court shall find to be unfit to have a child…” In determining whether or not a parent is unfit, the court will consider:

  • Abandonment of the child;
  • Failure to maintain a responsible degree of interest in the child’s welfare;
  • Desertion;
  • Neglect;
  • Abuse;
  • Addiction;
  • Mental impairment; and
  • Incarceration.

However, even if one of the above is present, a court will typically give the parent an amount of time to reform himself or herself before terminating rights. The process may be expedited in severe cases, such as when the parent is facing murder charges or sexual abuse charges.

Voluntary termination of parental rights. It is also possible for parents to terminate their rights voluntarily, although this is typically only done in the case of adoption (including stepparent adoptions). Typically, a court will only grant voluntary termination if there is good cause for the request. For example, a parent should not try to forfeit their parental rights simply to avoid paying child support.

Working Out a Custody Arrangement with Your Ex

Except for in extreme cases, it is generally considered a good thing for a child to have a relationship with both parents. While you may be very frustrated with your ex, unless your spouse is unfit to be a parent for one of the reasons named above or/and your child is in danger because of your ex, terminating his or her parental rights may not be the best course of action. Instead, you may want to consider a parenting time arrangement where you are given the majority parenting time of the child (formerly known as “residential custody”) with limited visitation.

Our Lawyers Can Help

Determining what is best for a child can be difficult. If you have questions about the termination of parental rights or how to create a parenting time-sharing arrangement that keeps your child safe and happy, our Naperville family law attorneys can help. We are here to answer all of your tough legal questions and provide you with support along the way. For a free consultation, please call or email us today. We serve cities throughout Illinois, including Wheaton and Downers Grove.