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What Rights Do Grandparents Have in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Arlington Heights grandparents' rights and visitation attorney

A marriage often turns two families into one. This is especially true when a couple has children. New babies gather people together, and children may develop close bonds with aunts, uncles, or grandparents as they get older. When a divorce happens, relationships between extended family members can become awkward. However, children and relatives may want to maintain their relationships, and grandparents and other family members will want to be sure to understand their rights after a divorce. For parents, time spent with children is outlined in a parenting plan. Instead of “custody” and “visitation,” Illinois law refers to these as “parental responsibility” and “parenting time” respectfully. In Illinois, although the rights of parents come first, a grandparent may have the right to non-parental visitation with a child depending on the circumstances. This extends to great-grandparents, siblings, and stepparents as well. 

When Will a Judge Approve Non-Parental Visitation?

Non-parent family members may file for a petition for visitation after a child turns 12 months old. In cases involving divorced parents, at least one parent must typically approve of the request for visitation. A judge may grant visitation if one of the parents has died or if a parent is absent due to circumstances such as serving time in prison. Like all other family law decisions, the best interests of the child is the most important factor considered by a judge. 

When one of the above circumstances is present, a judge may also consider the following in regard to the child’s well-being when deciding whether to grant visitation to a non-parent:

  • The relationship between the child and family member

  • The amount of time requested with the child 

  • Valid reasons why a parent approves or rejects non-parent visitation 

  • The child’s wishes

  • If rejecting the petition for visitation would negatively affect the child 

Regardless of the reasons, visitation with a non-parent must not be disruptive to a child. If the child will face emotional or physical harm if the petition for visitation is granted, then it will not be approved by the judge. If the non-parent family member has lived with the child for six months or more, this will also be considered. 

Contact a Palatine Family Law Attorney

Regardless of their marital circumstances, parents want the best for their children. Sometimes, hard feelings get in the way of children spending time with other important people in their lives. While parents will typically have the final say regarding what is best for their children, other family members may also want to spend time with children, and legal action may be necessary to ensure that children's best interests are protected. To settle issues between family members that a divorce has caused, contact an experienced Schaumburg grandparents’ rights attorney. Call our office today at 847-995-9999 to schedule your free consultation.





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