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Can Grandparents Obtain Visitation Rights In Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerGrandparents commonly share a special bond with their grandchildren and cherish the time they spend together. In some cases, the grandparents play a significant role in raising their grandchildren. Unfortunately, due to circumstances such as messy divorces, hostile child custody disputes, and spiteful ex-spouses, this relationship may diminish or be completely terminated. If a grandparent believes that the discontinuation of the relationship is not in the best interest of the child, they have the right to petition for visitation in court.

Grandparents’ Burden Of Proof

Illinois law permits a variety of relatives to petition for the visitation rights of a child, including grandparents and adult siblings. The time grandparents are allowed to spend with their grandchildren without a parent’s presence is referred to as grandparent visitation rights. The visitation rights may include activities such as overnight visits, weekend visits, and short vacations. Grandparent visitation rights, however, are not automatic and may be denied by a parent.

In the event that a parent does deny a grandparent visitation, the grandparent has the option to petition for court-ordered time with the child. In order for this petition to be granted, the grandparent must consider several factors. First and foremost, the grandparent must prove that the absence of visitation is without reason and also results in the child’s physical or emotional harm. For a judge to consider granting the request, one of the following factors must also be present:

  • The parents of the child are unmarried and do not live together
  • A child’s parent has been incarcerated for a minimum of 90 days
  • A parent of the child is deceased or has been missing for a minimum of 90 days
  • A parent of the child is legally unfit to sufficiently care for the child
  • The parents are legally separated or divorced and at least one parent does not disagree with grandparent visitation

Other Factors To Consider

After the burden of proof has been adequately met, numerous factors remain for the judge to consider before legally granting grandparent visitation. The judge will likely consider the child’s preference, the grandparent’s physical and mental health, the quality and length of the relationship the grandparents shared with the child previously, and the parents’ reason for denying visitation, among other things.

Alternatively, granting a grandparent custody of their grandchild may be even more challenging. Even if a grandparent is a more suitable parental figure for the child in terms of finances and mental health, it is likely that the custody request will only be granted if the parents have voluntarily relinquished the child or if they have been deemed unfit.

Contact Our Naperville Family Law Attorney Today

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., our attorneys understand that parents and children are not always the only people affected by parents divorcing or battling over custody. If you are a grandparent who has been denied their grandparent visitation rights to see a grandchild, contact our DuPage County child custody attorneys who can help you file a visitation request and fight for the grandchild’s best interests. Call 630-352-2240 today to schedule a free consultation.




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