The mother filed a petition to establish the parentage of her minor son. She sought an order for the child to apply for “Special Immigrant Juvenile” (SIJ) status.

The Trial Court found that the minor had been abandoned by his father. It granted the mother sole decision-making responsibility and parenting time. However, the court found that the minor was not abandoned for the purpose of issuing SIJ findings. Mother appealed.

The Appellate Court found that the Trial Court had erred in its interpretation of what it meant to be “dependent” on the court. “Special Immigrant Juvenile”

Abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one parent is sufficient for purposes of SIJ predicate findings. The Trial Court did not make a best-interest finding due to its findings on the first 2 SIJ factors.

The mother had presented sufficient evidence for the trial court to determine whether it was in the minor’s best interest to return to his native Guatemala or to remain in the US with his mother. The Appellate Court reversed the Trial Court and returned the case there for further proceedings.

In re Parentage of Ervin C.-R., 2020 IL App (2d) 200236 (September 30, 2020)

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