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How does Illinois law address grandparents’ rights?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2021 | Firm News |

Whether it is baking cookies with grandma or going fishing with grandpa, children in Waukegan often benefit from a grandparent’s love. Grandparents pass on their wisdom to their grandchildren, and provide a sense of history and belonging. The grandparent-grandchild relationship is important to nurture. However, sometimes this relationship is disrupted, and a grandparent is being kept away from his or her grandchild. When this happens, grandparents in Waukegan may wonder if they have the right to go to court to pursue visitation rights.

Illinois law addresses grandparents’ rights to seek visitation with their grandchild. Grandparents can move the court for visitation with the grandchild if the denial of visitation is unreasonable, and is causing the grandchild to suffer emotionally, physically or mentally. In addition, in order for grandparents to be granted visitation, either the child’s other parent must no longer be alive, the child’s parent is deemed legally incompetent, the child’s parent is incarcerated for at least 90 days, the child’s parents are unmarried or the child’s parents are getting a divorce and one of the child’s parents has no objection to granting the grandparent visitation. In the case of divorce, the grandparents’ visitation, cannot come at the cost of the parenting time granted to the child’s other parent.

In determining whether to approve a grandparent’s request for visitation with their grandchild, the court will examine a number of factors. The grandchild’s wishes may be considered. The mental and physical well-being of both the grandparent and the grandchild may also be considered. The quality and length of the previous grandparent-grandchild relationship may also be a factor. The good faith of both the grandparent in seeking visitation or the parent denying visitation may also be considered. How much visitation is being sought and any adverse effect it would have on the grandchild’s daily life will be considered. Other facts that point to the undue harm the grandchild would experience should their relationship with their grandparent be lost may also be considered. Finally, whether grandparent visitation can be scheduled in a manner that keeps the grandchild from being caught in conflicts between the parents and grandparents involved may also be considered.

Grandparents’ rights are important both for the grandparent and the grandchild. Unfortunately, sometimes a grandparent is kept from seeing his or her grandchild. When this happens, grandparents may want to speak to a family law attorney, to determine how best to proceed.