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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

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out of state, moving, Illinois family lawyerDivorce and custody arrangements are difficult enough, but the difficulties may be intensified if one parent decides to relocate out of state after a divorce. The geographical change can present a number of obstacles for parents as they try to foster healthy, meaningful relationships with their children. There may, however, situations in which such a move would, overall, serve the best interests of the child.

Illinois state law requires that the court be notified if a custodial parent is planning on moving out of state. If the non-custodial parent agrees to the move, the court may simply enter a modified custody or visitation order. In other cases, the purpose of the move will be questioned, along with other considerations, before the court will grant approval. Children Need Access to Both Parents In addition to defining rules and regulations about divorce, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act also protects the rights of the children. By law, children of divorced parents have rights to access both parents and cultivate relationships with them. This requires children to have contact with both parents, which could become difficult if one parent moves out of state. For this reason, non-custodial parents have the right to object to such moves if they think it will impact their relationship with their child(ren). Court Considerations A custodial parents who wishes to move out of state with his or her child must petition the court to request approval to remove the child from Illinois. The court will review the case thoroughly before making a decision and is expected to consider a variety of factors, including:

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