After a divorce, a child’s connection to their grandparents and other close relatives can provide a much-needed sense of stability. But what if one parent does not care for their in-laws and does not support the children having visitation time with those grandparents? What rights does a now-divorced step-parent or half-sibling have to spend time with a child that they lived with for years? Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/602.9) provides a mechanism for grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and siblings--including half-siblings and step-siblings--to assert their right to visit and electronically communicate with a minor child who is at least one year old.
Conditions Necessary to Petition for Grandparent Visitation
Four conditions must exist in order for the aforementioned relatives to petition the court for visitation and electronic communication with the child:
- A parent unreasonably denies visitation to a minor child’s grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, or siblings.
- The minor child experiences undue mental, physical, or emotional harm as a result.
- The child’s parents are divorced or in the process of divorce.
- One parent has no objection to the visitation. (If both parents object, the petition will not succeed.)
Factors the Court Considers in Granting Grandparent Visitation
In deciding whether to grant visitation time to one of these relatives, the court may consider factors such as:...