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Illinois Law on Visitation for Grandparents and Other Non-Parents

Posted on in Visitation

DuPage County family law lawyer, Illinois law on visitationIllinois lawmakers recognize that grandparents and non-parent relations can play a big role in a child’s life, so the General Assembly enacted a law that allows individuals to seek visitation under certain circumstances. In general, a person must file a petition in court; however, it is not necessary for there to be a pending case for divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities in order to initiate proceedings. A family law attorney can assist you with the process if the situation warrants visitation by non-parents, but some general information can help you understand your options.

Illinois Statute on Visitation by Non-Parents

The law regarding the visitation petition limits eligibility to grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and half- or step-siblings. Once the individual passes the relationship test, there are additional requirements:

  • The minor child must be at least a year old;
  • A parent must have denied visitation and doing so was unreasonable; and
  • The denial caused undue harm to the child.

Plus, there are other factors that must be present with respect to the relationship of the minor’s parents. The petition must meet one of the following:

  • The parents never married, are not co-habitating, and there are no parentage issues outstanding;
  • The parents are divorcing and one does not object to the non-parent visitation;
  • One parent has been incarcerated;
  • One parent is adjudicated to be incompetent; or
  • One parent has passed away or is missing.

Factors the Judge Considers

The court must consider certain issues when reviewing the non-parental visitation petition, including:

  • The wishes of the child, in the context of his or her maturity level;
  • The child’s overall mental and physical health;
  • The health of the petitioner;
  • The quality of the pre-existing relationship;
  • General good faith factors;
  • Details regarding the requested visitation terms;
  • The extent to which the loss of the relationship will impact the child’s health; and,
  • Whether visitation can be arranged to minimize the child’s exposure to conflicts.

Overcoming a Tough Burden

For the petitioner, the primary challenge is overcoming the presumption that the parent has made a reasonable decision in denying visitation. The court will always assume that a parent is fit to act accordingly, so a petitioner carries a heavy burden to prove otherwise.

A Qualified Family Law Attorney Can Help

Where there has been an unreasonable denial of visitation by a parent, Illinois law steps in to allow certain relatives time with a minor child. However, the key to success with your petition is retaining a knowledgeable attorney with experience in parental responsibilities and parenting time. A skilled DuPage County family law lawyer will represent your interests in seeking visitation with a minor child, and advise you throughout the process. Please contact Davi Law Group, LLC with questions about grandparent and non-parent visitation matters or to schedule a consultation with of our lawyers.


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