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Grandparents’ Rights in Illinois

Posted on in Visitation

DuPage County family law attorneys, grandparents rightsThe relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can be mutually beneficial and rewarding. However, sometimes family relationships can be complicated and grandparents can be left out in the cold and are unable to visit their grandchildren. Conversely, there may also be times where a parent does not want their child to be around a grandparent who is seeking visitation.

What Rights Do Parents Have?

Parents have extensive rights when it comes to decisions made for or on behalf of their kids. It is up to each parent to decide the parameters of the relationship between his or her parents and the child, and generally the courts do not want to interfere with that relationship.

The courts assume that a parent will protect the rights of their own parents to see the child. Grandparent’s rights cases come up when one of the parents is deceased, disabled, incarcerated, or otherwise unable to assert his or her rights. For example, if there are two parents and the father dies, grandparents’ rights become relevant if the mother denies visitation to the grandparent/set of grandparents who are parents of the deceased father.

What Rights Do Grandparents Have?

Grandparents have no specific right to see their grandchildren. However, in Illinois grandparents can get in front of a judge to ask for visitation. Judges will grant limited visitation if they believe that visitation is in the best interest of the child and that the child will be irreparably harmed if he or she does not get to continue the relationship with the grandparent. Judges are much more likely to give grandparents visitation time over the objections of a fit parent if the child already had a relationship with the grandparent. Therefore, if you want to try to preserve your rights to see your grandchild, it is in your best interest to develop a relationship with your grandchild.

Generally, parents are the ones who get to make all the decision for the child. If a parent is fit, then the courts assume that the parent will make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. In other words, unless you can prove that a parent is neglectful, abusive, or otherwise unfit, the court will put the burden on the grandparent to make a strong enough case that overcomes this assumption.

Grandparents who are successful in asserting their visitation rights typically get less visitation than a parent would.

What Are Judges Worried About?

Aside from accusations of abuse or neglect levied against the grandparents, the court is concerned about grandparents exercising their visitation rights to try to avoid visitation parameters placed on one of the parents. For example, if a mother is only allowed visitation once a month, the judge will be wary of granting the mother’s parents access to the child if they think it is being used to get the mother more time with her child.

Contact Our DuPage County Family Law Attorneys

Family law is a complicated area of the law and it is important to have attorneys to help fight for your rights. Whether you are a grandparent looking for visitation, or a parent trying to prevent a grandparent from visitation, our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC can help you every step of the way.

Sources:

http://www.aarp.org/relationships/grandparenting/info-05-2009/goyer_grandparent_visitation.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K602.5

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