Can Grandparents Receive Visitation Rights in Illinois?

Updated on January 21, 2022
Updated: January 18, 2023

Often, parents of younger kids welcome the love, help, and care a grandparent can offer. Often, parents let their disagreements affect a grandparent-grandchild relationship. Sometimes, a parent might feel that a grandparent's visitation could hurt their child. In either case, grandparents bear the burden of proving that visitation time is essential to the child's best interests and emotional health.

What are Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Chicago, Illinois?

Visitation rights are the legal rights that are granted to a non-custodial parent in instances which involve divorce, legal separation, and child custody. Usually, child visitation rights are stipulated in a child visitation agreement, which is also known as a child visitation schedule.

When deciding matters of child visitation, a family law court considers the best interests of the child. Other factors a family court judge may examine include:

  • The overall well being and the age of the child;
  • The geographical location of each parent;
  • Each parent's employment history;
  • The kid’s living preferences if they are mature enough to state it; and
  • Each parent’s work schedule and daily schedule.

Also, grandparents might have rights concerning child visitation. However, these rights aren't as extensive as those given to the kid’s parents.

Grandparents and grandchildren

When determining whether to award visitation rights to grandparents, a family law court considers the following factors:

  • The distance between the grandparents’ residence and the parents’ residence;
  • The lifestyle of the grandparents, including whether they're involved in drug abuse or alcohol abuse;
  • Whether the kid wishes to visit with their grandparents;
  • How attached the kid is to their grandparents; and
  • Whether the parents have refused to allow the grandparents to have visitation with grandchildren.

The visitation law governing grandparent visitation rights vary widely across the United States. It's presumed that maintaining contact and a relationship with grandparents is in the children's best interest. Often, a family law court will grant grandparent visitation rights if a parent has refused to allow their kids to visit the grandparents without good reason.

FAQ: How Much Does a Child Custody Lawyer Cost?

In most states, grandparents have limited constitutional rights to visitation with their grandkids, no matter whether the marriage of the parents has been dissolved legally.

Typically, the visitation law states that grandparents don't have a natural right to visitation. Often, grandparents who have been granted visitation rights must do visitation under the supervision of the parent who has been awarded custody of the child.

In Illinois, grandparents’ rights are limited, especially if the kid’s parents are divorced. A grandparent who would like to file a petition for a visitation request may do so after the child turns one year old.

The family law courts in Illinois may award visitation to grandparents if:

  • One of the parents is proved to be incompetent or unfit;
  • One of the parents is imprisoned for a period of 3 months or more;
  • One of the parents has been absent for 3 months or more or is deceased;
  • The parents are divorced and one of the parties agrees to the visitation; or
  • The parents are unmarried and don't live in the same home.

Just like visitation laws for parents, the most crucial factor is the best interest of the child. This might include the health of the grandparents and the child, the preference of the child, and any possible negative effects of allowing the visitation.

What is the Process for Grandparents to Get Visitation Rights in Illinois?

As previously states, if a grandparent wants to get visitation rights with their grandchildren, they can file a visitation petition in court. The grandparent who is seeking visitation time must prove that the grandkid’s quality of life is negatively impacted by the lack of a relationship with their grandparents.

Grandparents visitation rights

When grandparents are submitting a petition for visitation, they must prove that spending quality time with their grandchildren is prudent to the child physical and emotional well-being. Many factors may influence this decision, including:

  • The child’s wishes, if they are old enough to make an opinion;
  • The physical health and mental health of the grandparents;
  • The length and quality of the previous relationship between the grandparents and grandchildren;
  • The reasons the grandparent is filing the visitation petition;
  • The reasons the parent is denying visitation;
  • The amount of visitation that's requested and how it may affect the child;
  • Whether the child lived with the grandparents for at least 180 days, no matter whether the parent resided there as well;
  • Whether the grandparent has acted as the primary caretaker for the child for at least 6 months;
  • Whether the grandparents had previous regular visitation with the kid for at least 12 months; and
  • Any factor which proves that the loss of the grandparent relationship would cause undue harm to the physical, emotional, or mental health of the child.

Even if the grandparent successfully receives court-ordered visitation, those grandparent rights might be terminated if the parents are requested to give custody to a separate party other than the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or foster care provider.

Related Content: Can Grandparents Sue for Custody of a Child?

For instance, if another family adopts the kid, the grandparents don't have visitation rights, even if those visitation rights were already established in the family law court. Any visitation order that was entered before the adoption is terminated after the adoption is finalized.

It's crucial to consult with a skilled child custody attorney if you're a grandparent who wishes to get visitation with your grandchildren. Your family law attorney can advise you concerning Illinois law, determine your eligibility to receive grandparent visitation rights, and help you file your visitation petition in court. At Tommalieh Law, our skilled family law lawyers have helped many grandparents in Cook County, Dupage County, Lake County, Will County, Kendall County, Kane County and throughout Illinois get a favorable outcome and we can help you, too. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, contact our Chicago family law firm today at (708) 232-0017.

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