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Grandparents' Rights to Visitation in Illinois

Posted on in Visitation

Naperville family lawyersDo grandparents have a legal right to visitation of their grandchildren in Illinois? Grandparents' rights vary from state to state. Some states do automatically give grandparents and other close relatives visitation rights. Others, including Illinois, consider grandchild visitation a privilege rather than a right. So what does this mean? Prior to 2005, grandparents had no legal option in Illinois to pursue visitation rights. Fortunately, Illinois lawmakers recognized that grandparents do play a significant role in my children’s lives, and changes to the law were made. Now, grandparents who are being denied visitation time can petition an Illinois court to grant them visitation rights.

Obtaining Visitation Rights

Due to the fact that grandparent visitation is considered a privilege in Illinois, grandparents being denied visitation by the child’s parents must petition a court where their grandchild resides to grant visitation rights. To do so, certain criteria must be met. The grandparents need to prove that the child is harmed in some way - physically, mentally, or emotionally - by being denied access to their grandparents. Interested grandparents must be able to prove that they have been denied visitation to an unreasonable extreme by one of the child’s parents

Grandparents must also prove that any one or more of the following statements are true:

  • One parent is missing, deceased, or incarcerated;
  • One parent is proven to be incompetent;
  • The parents are either divorced, legally separated, or in the process of divorcing, and at least one parent does not object to grandparent visitation rights; or
  • The child’s parents do not reside together and the child was born out of wedlock.

If any of these factors are proven true, and the grandparents feel they have been unreasonably denied visitation, they can petition for visitation in court

Court Considerations

When a grandparent visitation case reaches a court, there are a number of factors that court officials will consider when determining whether or not to grant visitation rights. Judges must consider:

  • The child’s preferences and wishes;
  • The state of the child - physically, mentally, and emotionally;
  • The state of the grandparents - physically, mentally, and emotionally;
  • The existing relationship between the grandchild and grandparents;
  • The reason visitation was being denied by one parent;
  • The reasons grandparents are seeking visitation rights;
  • The amount of visitation the grandparents are seeking; and
  • Any other factors the court may find relevant to the case.

Of course, no action is needed if an agreement can be reached outside of the legal system. It is always best to see if a solution can be found outside of court to spare time and money. That said, if legal action is necessary, do not hesitate to protect your rights and the well-being of the child you love.

Legal Help Is Available

Are you an Illinois grandparent seeking visitation rights to your grandchild? Have you been unreasonably denied access to your grandchild by one of the child’s parents? If yes, contact the team at Pesce Law Group, P.C., today. Our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys have years of experience helping Illinois families through a variety of complex legal issues. Call 630-352-2240 to get started today.

Sources:

http://il.aaml.org/grandparent-visitation

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