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Understanding Grandparents’ Rights in Illinois

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grandparents rights in Illinois, DuPage County famil ylawyersIn the state of Washington, grandparents are banding together to obtain legal rights to their grandchildren. But what does this mean, exactly? And how – if at all – does the law protect the rights of grandparents in Illinois? If you are a grandparent and are being denied visitation to your grandchild, the following will help you understand if and how Illinois’ grandparents’ rights statute applies to you.

How the Law Defines Grandparents’ Rights

Grandparents’ rights are not like parenting rights, nor do they overrule them. Instead, the Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5-602.9 simply acknowledges that you have the right to ask the court for legal permission to see your grandchildren. Depending on the situation, this request may or may not be granted, and it may or may not be considered “valid” by the courts. In fact, there are only a handful of situations in which you may legally pursue grandparents’ rights.

First, you must show that an “unreasonable denial of visitation exists” by one of your grandchild’s parents, and that the lack of visitation is harmful to their physical, emotional, or mental health. You must also meet at least one of the following conditions (or one that is similar):

  • The other parent is deceased, missing, incarcerated, or has been deemed incompetent;
  • The parents are not married or living together and at least one parent is favor of visitation;
  • Or, in situations of divorce, at least one parent is in favor of you visiting with the child.

Considerations for Determining Grandparents’ Rights

In addition to providing guidelines for when a request for grandparents’ rights are valid, the Illinois statute outlines considerations that can help a judge reach a decision regarding your request. These considerations include:

  • The child’s wishes,
  • Reasons for the request,
  • Reasons the parent may have decided to deny visitation,
  • Emotional, mental, and physical health of the child,
  • Emotional, mental, and physical health of the grandparent seeking visitation,
  • Previous contact between the child and the grandparent,
  • And any other factors deemed relevant by the courts.

Seeking Grandparents’ Rights?

As you can see, the law as it applies to grandparents’ rights is complex, and it does not provide you with explicit rights to override the decisions of a custodial parent. As such, it is highly encouraged that you attempt to resolve matters outside of the court first. If you continue to be denied visitation with your grandchild and believe that you meet the requirements under the grandparent visitation statute, it is best to seek qualified and experienced legal help before filing your petition with the courts.

At Mevorah Law Offices LLC, we understand just how important a child’s bond with their grandparent can be and work aggressively to help protect that relationship. Compassionate, dedicated, and recognized by our peers for our skills in all matters of family law, we have the tools and experience needed to help you navigate the process. Schedule your free initial consultation with our DuPage County grandparents’ rights attorneys and ask how we can help with your unique situation. Call us at 630-932-9100 today.

Sources:

http://kiro7.com/news/grandparents-push-for-change-in-law/143291947

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K602.9.htm

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