What are Illinois’ grandparent visitation laws?
There are no federal laws governing visitation rights for grandparents. However, in many cases, Illinois grandparents have a limited legal right to visit their grandchildren. It is generally up to the parents of the child to determine who can spend time with the child. Sometimes a non-parent can get a court order that will allow them to spend time with the child (if the child is at least one year old).
The following family members can get a court order for visitation: grandparents, brothers, sisters, great-grandparents, and step-parents.
For a grandparent to be granted visitation, they must meet the following qualifications:
- Prove that they have been denied parenting time by a parent unreasonably.
- Prove one of the following statements:
- A parent of the child is incompetent
- A parent has been incarcerated for at least three months
- A parent of the child is deceased or has been missing for at least three months
- The child was born outside of marriage and the parents are not living under the same roof
- The child’s parents are divorced or legally separated
- The child’s parents are pending dissolution or custody proceeding, and at least one parent has no objection
What do Illinois courts consider when making a decision regarding grandparents’ visitation?
If the grandparent can prove the above qualifications, the court will review the following factors to come to a conclusion:
- The grandparents’ intentions
- The grandchild’s preference
- The mental and physical health of the child
- How often the grandchild and grandparent have been in contact over the past year
- The mental and physical well-being of the grandparent
- The relationship between the child and the grandparents
- If the time requested will have a negative impact on the child and their schedule
- If parenting time being denied by the parent was in good faith
- If the child lived with the grandparent
- If the grandparents as the primary caretaker of the child for at least six months
If you have any further questions about gaining visitation rights as a grandparent, do not hesitate to reach out to our skilled and dedicated team of Illinois family law attorneys.
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