A good parent wants the best for their children, and sometimes, that may include allowing someone else to take care of them. Illinois courts, however, are generally not disposed to allow a person to surrender their parental rights voluntarily unless there is another person ready and willing to step into the role. Illinois public policy places a high value on a child having two parents if at all possible. This means that unless your child’s other parent has a new partner willing to assume a parental role, you cannot renounce your parental obligations.
The “Best Interest of the Child”
Research has long supported the idea that children tend to fare better with two active parents in their lives, regardless of the relationship between the adults. As a result, Illinois courts nearly always hold that having two parents is in the best interests of the child involved—even in cases where a parent has committed a crime. When making determinations regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time, the courts consider an extensive list of factors in order to determine the outcome that serves the best interests of the child. These factors include the ability of the parents to work together, the level of participation by both parents in making parenting decisions in the past, and whether or not any abuse has occurred.
Under Illinois law, a child also has the right to receive support from both parents. If a parent were allowed to unilaterally terminate his or her parental rights and responsibilities—including support obligations—the child would be deprived of necessary support through no fault of their own. Such a scenario is decidedly not in a child’s best interest.
With two-parent situations being the preferred scenario, the only way for you to voluntarily give up your parental responsibilities is under the Illinois Adoption Act, if and when your ex’s new partner is willing to assume your role. During a stepparent adoption, you will be asked to terminate your rights regarding your child, and if you agree, the process can happen fairly easily. It is important, however, to participate in the proceedings even if you wish to give up your status as the child’s legal parent.
Contact a Knowledgeable Lawyer
In some cases, it may be in a child’s best interest for a parent to recognize that he or she cannot provide what the child needs and deserves. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can help you understand your options under the law. Contact our office by calling 630-377-7770 to schedule your free, confidential consultation today. The team at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. is committed to helping you protect your child’s future.