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Wheaton grandparent visitation lawyerIf you are a grandparent, you know just how special the relationship with your grandchildren can be. However, when a grandparent’s relationship with their adult child is complicated, they may worry about how this will affect their relationship with their grandchild. Illinois law recognizes the positive impact many grandparents have on their grandchildren’s lives. Because of this, there are certain situations in which grandparents may be granted legal visitation with their grandchild.  

Illinois Law Regarding Grandparent Visitation

Grandparents often question what their rights are when it comes to seeing their grandchild. Typically, parents have the right to restrict a non-parent’s access to their child. There is a presumption that a child’s parents are “fit” or capable of making sound decisions about their child - including decisions about who the child spends time with. However, a grandparent may petition the court to request mandatory visitation with their grandchild under certain circumstances.

The court may grant you visitation with your grandchild if you can demonstrate that:

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DuPage County family law attorney for grandparent visitationGrandparents can be some of the most important figures in a child’s life. If a child’s parents get divorced, grandparents may worry whether they will get to see their grandchildren as often. Divorcing parents have the right to reasonable amounts of parenting time, sometimes referred to as visitation, with their child. However, parents can lose this right if they are not fit to care for their child properly. In Illinois, grandparents will not always have the right to visitation with their grandchildren, although they may be able to petition for visitation if there are special circumstances. 

When Can Grandparents Be Granted Visitation?

If you are a grandparent, and you want to ensure that you will be allowed to spend time with your grandchild, you may wonder if the court can require a parent to allow their child to spend time with you. Illinois courts may grant visitation to grandparents if one or more of the following circumstances are present:

  • The parents are divorced, and at least one parent agrees to grandparent visitation

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Parents ultimately get to decide who their child spends time with, but there are some situations in which children are wrongfully withheld from an extended family member. Sometimes, it is out of spite. Other times, it may be due to a particularly messy divorce, separation, or breakup between the parents. In either case, the child may suffer. Thankfully, certain nonparents can seek visitation rights. The following information can help you learn more about this process, including where and why you should seek quality assistance.

Who Can Request Visitation?

While visitation may be denied to a long list of extended family members, only certain ones have the right to seek visitation. These family members include the child's grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, or stepparents. If the grandparents or great-grandparents are on the father's side, paternity must be established before seeking visitation. If the mother and father were married at the time of the child's birth, paternity is already assumed.

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Whether you are a divorced parent worried about your parents or in-laws and their involvement with your child, or you are a grandparent with questions regarding your relationship with your grandchildren following a divorce, concerns about grandparent rights are understandable. Family changes mean lifestyle transitions, and getting acquainted with new family structure can be confusing for everyone involved.

What Rights Am I Entitled to As a Grandparent?

More than six million children live with their grandparents in the state of Illinois. Due to the obvious need for assistance, an abundance of financial help has been made available to grandparents living as primary caregivers. Even if you are not the primary caregiver, there are certain rights you are entitled to in the wake of a divorce or separation in your family.

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Divorce can be challenging and emotional for everyone involved - including grandparents. When parents divorce, courts are required to approve arrangements regarding custody and visitation, including decision-making power and the time that each parent gets to spend with the children. However, parents and children are not the only ones whose families are changing. Often grandparents struggle to understand their new role after a divorce and, in some circumstances, grandparents may be restricted or prevented from seeing their grandchildren. One option for grandparents who are prevented from having a relationship with their grandchildren is to seek visitation.

Non-Parent Visitation

Illinois law provides visitation for certain "non-parents" including grandparents. Those who want visitation can file a petition with the court requesting visitation.

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