Siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, and stepparents can play a critical role in a child's development. Bonds formed between a child and his or her family members can produce memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Sadly, in cases of divorce, or when other conflicts or disagreements arise between extended family members, one or both parents may decide to end a relationship between a child and his or her relatives. While divorce may bring out the worst in people, it is important to remember that a child's best interests should be protected throughout the process. If a parent’s actions have had a negative impact on the relationship between the child and other family members, grandparents or other relatives may wish to take legal action to ensure they can remain in a child’s life. In these cases, an attorney can help family members determine their options for pursuing visitation rights.
How Does a Court Handle Visitation Claims?
For a visitation petition to be filed by a non-parent in the state of Illinois, there must be an unreasonable denial of visitation by the parent or parents. Furthermore, before visitation rights will be granted, it must be proven that the denial of visitation has caused mental, physical, or emotional harm to the child. In determining whether or not to grant visitation, the court may consider the following:
The child's wishes
The mental and physical health of the child
The mental and physical health of the relative seeking visitation
The relationship that the child has with the relative seeking visitation
Whether the person seeking visitation is acting in good faith
Whether the parent who denied visitation is acting in good faith
The quantity of visitation time requested
The potential impact the visitation would have on the child’s normal activities
Whether or not the visitation can be structured to limit the child's exposure to a potential conflict.
Any other factor that would show that the denial of visitation would cause harm to the child
Post Hearing Topics
If the court sees fit, different forms of visitation may be granted to a sibling, grandparent, great-grandparent, or stepparent. For example, visitation without overnight privileges, electronic communication, or extended stays with a relative may all be possible outcomes. Factors such as the child's age and the location of the plaintiff may also have an effect on the judgment.
Unless it is believed that the child is in danger, a visitation ruling may not be modified within two years of the date that it was filed. However, a parent may petition the court to modify a visitation agreement if changes have occurred that may affect the well-being of the child. The court shall not modify a visitation order unless it finds evidence that circumstances have changed, resulting in the child needing protection.
Contact a DuPage County Grandparent Visitation Lawyers
Maintaining a relationship with a child close to you may be critical for his or her growth and development. While every situation is different, it is not fair to yourself or the child to be forcibly removed from each other’s lives. Our dedicated Wheaton grandparents’ rights attorneys can help you petition for visitation rights and remain an important person in that child's life. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-871-1002.