By now many Illinoisans are aware that, come January 1, 2016, family law in Illinois is getting a substantial makeover. “Legal custody” is one familiar legal principle that is being overhauled as part of the legislature’s expansive effort to have Illinois’s family and domestic relations law reflect twenty-first century realities. It remains to be seen, however, if the changes to how a court determines legal custody will benefit Illinois families or whether it will further complicate already-challenging custody determinations.
It is no longer uncommon for grandparents to have physical custody and provide care for their grandchildren when the parents are undergoing difficult times. Most grandparents have significant and loving relationships with their grandchildren, and grandchildren develop similar relationships with their grandparents. As such, it may come as a shock when the parents indicate they wish to relinquish their parental rights and put their children up for adoption. What (if anything) can a grandparent do to maintain physical custody of their grandchildren if the parents wish for their children to be adopted?