Family Law

Your Top-Rated Family Law Attorney in Jacksonville Illinois

Family law issues can be some of the most complex legal matters, which makes it important to have an experienced family law attorney by your side. Luckily for you, Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law is that experienced family law attorney in Jacksonville, Illinois.

With over 32 years of experience resolving legal matters pertaining to guardianship and adoption, we are confident that we have the legal services you need. The pathway to guardianship or adoption can be lengthy, but it is also a major commitment. We are there every step of the way to inform you about the process and ensure that this is the best possible decision for you. Ready to add a member to your family? Contact our law firm and speak with an experienced family law attorney today.

What is a Legal Guardian?

According to the state of Illinois, a legal guardian is defined as a person, institution, or agency appointed by the probate court to manage the affairs of another, called the ‘ward.’ There are a number of people who can be eligible to be a minor’s legal guardian. If you are under the age of 18, you can have a say in who you would like your legal guardian to be; otherwise, it can be appointed by a probate court. A guardian is responsible for managing the affairs of a minor including educational, legal, monetary, and more.

While most people believe that only minors (children under the age of 18) need a guardian, there are different scenarios in which a guardian may be appropriate for some people, such as:

  • Mental Deterioration
  • Physical Incapacity
  • Mental Illness
  • Developmental Disability
Legal Guardianship - young woman takes care of her elderly mother, brushing her hair, making her feel pretty and loved - Jacksonville, IL
Guardianship - woman watches after mentally challenged friend or sibling as her appointed guardian - mentally disabled woman is playing with a dog - very happy - Jacksonville, IL

The Process Toward Guardianship

If you are over the age of 18, a guardian may only be appointed by a circuit court, and it is for specific reasons such as mental or physical disabilities. The process of legal guardianship is:

  • You must have a signed physician’s report that details the nature of the disability that has been diagnosed, the reasons for guardianship, and proposals for living arrangements.
  • Hire legal counsel to address the legal process of guardianship.
  • A guardian ad litem (GAL) needs to be appointed in order to advise the court on the need for guardianship. The GAL functions to act in the best interests of the client.
  • After the report, there are different documents that need to be prepared for court, such as a rights notice, petition, summons, notice to interested parties, order, oath, bond, statement, and order.
  • After you are done preparing for court, a hearing will be set where the process moves forward.

The Adoption Process

If you are looking to add to your family and want to do it through the adoption process, Michael A. Hankins Attorney at Law is here to help. If you are eligible and complete the adoption process, you’ll be given the opportunity of a lifetime – caring, clothing, and feeding another human being. This is a wonderful way to start a family, and we want to help!

To be eligible for the adoption process, you must:

  • Not be diagnosed with a disability
  • Have lived in Illinois for a minimum of 6 months
  • Maintain a good reputation in the community
couple discussion adoption options in Jacksonville, IL