Grandparents provide a wealth of loving care and family traditions to the younger generation, and most grandchildren will remember the time with their grandfathers and grandmothers well into their own adulthood. Grandparents add value to the lives of young children in immeasurable ways. Unfortunately, old feuds can get in the way of grandparents’ visitation rights, especially when the parents of the children separate or get divorced. In many cases, a child’s parent may disallow visitation with their ex-spouse’s parents, though it is sometimes a grandparent’s own children that disallow them from seeing their young loved ones.
What Steps Can I Take as Grandparent?
In Illinois, grandparents can petition the court to secure visitation rights with grandchildren. However, a grandparent must show that by not seeing their grandparents, the child is being harmed. As such, “the burden is on the party filing a petition” to prove that the parent’s decision about visitation will “cause undue harm to the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health,” according to Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/602.9. A grandmother or grandfather must show that the time spent with them has a positive impact on their grandchild’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
Having a close relationship with a grandparent benefits children’s well-being; previous research has shown that these types of relationships can reduce depressive symptoms in both the grandparents and the grandchild. If this is so widely known, and many studies have come to the same conclusion, does that mean that a court will simply accept a grandparent’s and child’s mutual wishes to continue spending time with one another? Sadly, the situation is more complex than this.
The Court’s Considerations
When making decisions about whether grandparent visitation is in a child’s best interests, the court will use the following factors to make a decision about grandparent visitation:
- The wishes of the child.
- The length and quality of the relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild.
- The good faith of the grandparent and the good faith of the parent denying visitation access.
- The quantity of visitation time requested.
- Any potential adverse effects that visitation could have.
- Factors that reveal the effects the loss of the grandparent/grandchild relationship would have on the child.
- Whether or not the visitation can be structured in a manner to avoid conflict between the adult parties.
Call an Experienced DuPage County Grandparent Visitation Lawyer Today
The emotional bond between a grandparent and a grandchild should never be broken because of a parent’s vengeful mindset. Our dedicated Wheaton family law attorneys can help reunite grandparents with their grandchildren by petitioning for visitation rights. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation today.