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The Rights of Grandparents in Illinois

Posted on in Visitation

grandparent rights, Illinois custody laws, Illinois visitation laws, grandparent visitation, Illinois child custody law, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois family lawIn child custody matters, the child’s parents are not the only members of the family whose relationship with the child will be affected. Often times, there are extended family members on both sides who may be interested in securing time and solidifying their relationship with the child. However, under the law, only certain family members are able to petition the court to do so. Additionally, those who are eligible to petition the court will likely only get their requests granted under certain situations.

Illinois Law for Grandparent Visitation

In Illinois, grandparents have the right to seek visitation of a minor grandchild, provided that certain circumstances exist. Not only is the burden of proof for the petitioner to fulfill greater in a grandparent visitation case than in a parent visitation case, but there are also specific factors that the grandparent petitioner must meet in order for the court to award visitation with the minor grandchild.

Bringing a Petition

According to the law in Illinois, a grandparent can only bring a petition for visitation of a minor child if they are unreasonably denied visitation by the minor’s parent, and if they are able to prove one of the following factors exist:

  • One of the child’s parents is absent;
  • The parents of the child are divorced, are legally separated, or are involved in a pending divorce proceeding and at least one of the parents does not object to the grandparent visitation;
  • The child’s parents were never legally married and are not living together. If the petition is being brought by the child’s paternal grandparents, the paternity of the child must have been established by a proper court.
A Successful Grandparent Visitation Petition

A grandparent’s petition for visitation of a minor grandchild must meet the burden of showing that the parent’s denial of such visitation results in harm to the minor’s mental, physical, or emotional health. The court must decide, according to the allegations in the petition, if this burden has been met. The court will take various factors into consideration in making the decision. Such factors include:

  • The child’s wishes if appropriate;
  • The mental and physical health of both the grandparent and child;
  • The nature of their relationship in the past;
  • The intentions of both the grandparent and parent;
  • The extent of the visitation requested and what impact it would have on the minor child’s daily routine;
  • Whether the child has resided with the grandparent at any point in the past for six consecutive months;
  • If the grandparent was the child’s primary caregiver for the same amount of time;
  • If the grandparent and child had routine and consistent contact for at least one year; and
  • Any other reasons that may tend to prove that losing the relationship between the grandparent and child would cause the child mental, physical, or emotional harm.
As with many family law matters, grandparent visitation can be a sensitive topic, specifically in cases of a strained relationship between grandparents and parents and where abuse may play a role. If you are a grandparent in Illinois who is considering filing for visitation, contact the attorneys at Davi Law Group. We serve clients in Warrenville, Wheaton, and Chicago, Illinois and are prepared to provide you with a free consultation.
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