Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Parental Rights

Legal Parenthood: Old Doctrines, New Families By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness June 2012 Column, Page 330 Is the “superior parental rights” doctrine outdated?
Statutory Parenthood for Same-Sex Partners By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness December 2011 Column, Page 636 The Illinois Parentage Act should be amended to make it easier for same-sex partners to establish their parenthood.
Adoption law pointers By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2011 Lawpulse, Page 434 The August Child Law Section newsletter includes an adoption law legislation roundup and helps lawyers help clients find birth parents and readopt after surrendering parental rights.
Civil Unions and Parenthood at Birth By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness September 2011 Column, Page 473 How should legal parenthood at birth be established when children are born into civil unions?
Terminating Guardianships and Returning Children to Parents: Pitfalls and Possibilities By Julie M. Harcum October 2007 Article, Page 542 Is it enough that a parent is "fit, willing, and able," or may a child be returned only if doing so serves his or her "best interest"?
Visitation By Biological Boyfriend-Father By H. Joseph Gitlin October 2007 Column, Page 556 A biological father from a wife's extra-marital affair can win visitation with his child.
Reforming Paternity Procedures: A Dannielynn in Illinois By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness June 2007 Column, Page 324 What would have happened if Anna Nicole Smith's daughter had been born in Illinois?
Supreme court to rule on putative father registry By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2006 Lawpulse, Page 398 Some say the registry protects adoptive parents and children from belated, unwelcome interest by a biological dad. Others say it unfairly cuts a birth father out of his child's life.     
A finding of depravity in parental rights hearing supported by felony convictions August 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 390 On May 24, 2005, the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Peoria County finding the respondent unfit to retain custody of his two children and terminating his parental rights.
The New Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act By Nancy Ford May 2005 Article, Page 240 In Illinois, a recently enacted statute governs would-be parents' contracts with surrogate mothers. Here's a look at what the new law does and doesn't do.
State must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child January 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 On October 21, 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's determination that the circuit court had applied an incorrect standard of proof in a termination of parental rights proceeding, and remanded the case to the circuit court for a rehearing of the issue under the appropriate preponderance of the evidence standard.
Denial of “fitness to stand trial” hearing in a parental rights proceeding did not violate father’s due process rights November 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 568 On August 20, 2004, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the Circuit Court of Cook County's decision finding the respondent father unfit to parent a child and terminating his parental rights.
A finding of parental unfitness must be specific as to each child June 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 292 On March 18, 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court's reversal of the trial court's finding of unfitness and termination of a mother's parental rights with respect to the youngest of her four children.
Former version of §1-5(3) of the Juvenile Court Act did not require trial courts to admonish parents of all factors that could result in the termination of their parental rights. March 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 124 On December 18, 2003, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and affirmed the circuit court's termination of the defendant's parental rights. 
State’s burden of proof in best interests stage of termination of parental rights proceeding is preponderance of evidence June 2003 Illinois Law Update, Page 280 On March 27, 2003, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversed and remanded the order of the circuit court of Cook County terminating the respondent's parental rights.
Adoption policies changed January 2003 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 On October 23, 2002, the Department of Children and Family Services (department) amended rules relating to parental fitness and general adoption policies in title 89 of the Illinois Administrative Code.
Section 2-28(3) of Illinois Juvenile Court Act, which gives parties immediate right to appeal permanency orders, violates separation of powers clause of Illinois Constitution December 2002 Illinois Law Update, Page 634 On September 19, 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the provisions of section 2-28(3) of the Juvenile Court Act, which gives parties an immediate right to appeal permanency orders.
When court terminates parental rights, appeal of that determination does not stay termination November 2002 Illinois Law Update, Page 584 On August 29, 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed in part and vacated in part the decision of the appellate court in this child custody case.
Can Court-Imposed Grandparent Visitation Survive Wickham v Byrne? By Michael K. Goldberg September 2002 Article, Page 458 Only if the General Assembly stays within the limits imposed by the U.S. and Illinois Supreme Courts, the author warns.
Evidence of parent’s conduct following removal of children from her care is irrelevant to the determination of parental unfitness under “failure to protect” provision June 2002 Illinois Law Update, Page 288 On March 21, 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court, holding that evidence of a parent's conduct following removal of children from her care is irrelevant under the "failure to protect" provision for determining parental unfitness in a termination of parental rights proceeding under the Juvenile Court Act, 705 ILCS 405/2-29.
The high court overturns Illinois grandparents’ visitation statute By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2002 Lawpulse, Page 282 The Illinois Supreme Court rules that the grandparents' visitation law unconstitutionally infringes upon parents' rights.
Law permitting a parent to be declared unfit after more than one child is born with drugs in his or her system and the mother has the opportunity for treatment does not violate the equal protection or due process clauses of the Illinois Constitution June 2002 Illinois Law Update, Page 288 On April 3, 2002, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, affirmed the ruling of the trial court terminating the parental rights of the respondent after finding that she was an unfit parent.
Indigent mother has a constitutional right to court-appointed counsel to appeal ruling that she is an unfit parent, even if county is required to pay counsel’s fees April 2002 Illinois Law Update, Page 176 On January 25, 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court and held that the separation of powers doctrine is not violated when, in a case concerning the fitness of a parent, the county is required to pay for an indigent mother's appellate counsel fees.
Parental rights may be terminated if state proves that parent was incarcerated and would likely remain so for two years and there was little contact with or support of children January 2002 Illinois Law Update, Page 14 The state moved to terminate a defendant's parental rights and to appoint a legal guardian with the power to consent to the adoption of two of the defendant's children.
Legislation clarifies that failure to vaccinate a child for religious or medical reasons is not neglect or abuse; P.A. 92-375 December 2001 Illinois Law Update, Page 624 In August, Gov. Ryan signed into law Senate Bill 1305, which amends the Adoption Act to clarify that a parent's failure to vaccinate a child due to religious or medical reasons, allowed by law, does not constitute child neglect or abuse.
No more dumpster babies? By Helen W. Gunnarsson December 2001 Lawpulse, Page 620 A new law is designed to encourage desperate mothers to leave their newborns in safe places, not dumpsters and doorsteps.
Grandparents’ visitation; splitting the baby four ways? By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2001 Lawpulse, Page 510 Since the Illinois Supreme Court's Lulay decision, appellate courts have struggled case by case to determine whether grandparents' bids for visitation are constitutional.
Trial court has the authority under the Juvenile Court Act to order state’s attorney to prosecute a petition to terminate parental rights September 2001 Illinois Law Update, Page 454 On June 21, 2001, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's holding that the trial court had the authority under the Juvenile Court Act to order the state's attorney to prosecute a petition to terminate parental rights, after establishing permanency goal.
Where there is no allegation of unfitness, the statutory provision allowing grandparent visitation interferes with a mother’s fundamental right to make decisions about the care and custody of her children September 2001 Illinois Law Update, Page 454 On July 6, 2001, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District, reversed the lower court's order awarding grandparent visitation to Brent and Rita Langman, the paternal grandparents of children whose father had died while married to their mother, Amy Langman.
The Lawyer’s Journal By Bonnie C. McGrath July 2001 Column, Page 338 Golfers in the (legal) news; capital punishment and the mentally retarded; and more.