Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Illinois?
It is not uncommon for grandparents to play an active role in the lives of not only their children, but also their grandchildren. This can create complications, however, when relationships between a child’s parents sour, in which case, grandparents could find themselves barred from seeing their grandchildren. Recognizing that the grandparent-grandchild relationship can have significant repercussions on a child, Illinois courts are willing to address grandparent visitation during custody proceedings. These kinds of proceedings do, however, require familiarity with specific aspects of Illinois law, so if you are seeking visitation with your grandchild or believe that visitation would not be in your child’s best interests, it is important to speak with an experienced Lombard, IL grandparents’ rights attorney who can walk you through your legal options.
Parents have certain rights when it comes to their children. In most cases, courts are not allowed to interfere with these rights unless a child is being harmed. There are exceptions, however, to this general rule, in which case a court could be willing to step in and order visitation with a child’s grandparents. This is only an option when the grandparent in question is able to demonstrate that visitation is in a child’s best interests.
Filing a Petition
Grandparents who want court-ordered time with their grandchildren must file a written petition with the court and eventually demonstrate that the parents’ denial of visitation is not only unreasonable but also causes the child to suffer physical or emotional harm. In addition to this requirement, the petitioner will also need to prove that:
- The child’s parent is deceased
- The child’s parent has been missing for at least 90 days
- The parent is not competent to care for the child
- The child’s parent has been imprisoned for at least three months
- The child’s parents are unmarried and do not live together
- The child’s parents are legally separated or have divorced and at least one is in favor of grandparent visitation
Even when a grandparent is able to meet this burden, however, a court could still decide that visitation is not appropriate based on an assessment of the following factors:
- The child’s preference
- The grandparent’s physical health
- The reasons for the parent’s denial of visitation
- The amount of visitation being requested
- Whether the child ever lived with the grandparent for at least six months
- Whether the grandparent acted as the child’s primary caretaker
- Whether the grandparent previously had visitation with the child
These kinds of cases tend to be not only confusing or stressful for a child, but legally complicated. Please call our office today to learn more about how our legal team can help with your case.
Call Our DuPage County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers
If you are being barred from having contact with your grandchildren, or you believe that visitation with a grandparent is not in your child’s best interests, please call 630-953-3000 to speak with one of the dedicated Lombard grandparents' rights attorneys at Aldrich & Siedlarz Law, P.C. about your legal options.