Grandparents play a pivotal role in family structure. Parents provide for their children, discipline them, keep them safe, and teach them to be functioning members of society. Grandparents, on the other hand, provide unconditional love, wisdom, and a link to family history. Research suggests having a strong grandparent-grandchild connection has long-term benefits. Unfortunately, in some cases, grandparents find themselves unwelcome near their grandchild.
If a parent or parents refuse to allow visitation, do Illinois courts grant grandparents visitation rights?
Child Visitation at Parent’s Discretion
The laws surrounding parenting time and visitation focus on what is in the best interests of the child. In Illinois, the court assumes the parent also has that in mind and does not intend to intervene. Furthermore, the rights of a fit parent are constitutionally protected. It is right of the parents, not the court, to determine with whom their children should interact. Unless the actions of the parent are harmful or otherwise detrimental to the child in question, the courts typically rule in favor of the parent.
Grandparent Visitation Rights
If a grandparent can prove the parent is unreasonable by denying visitation with the grandchild, and the child in question is at least 1 year old, the court may create a visitation order. However, to complete the petition, one of the following must also be true:
- A parent must be deceased or missing for at least three months;
- A parent must be ruled incompetent;
- One parent is incarcerated for at least three months;
- The parents are divorced, pending divorce, or legally separated, and one parent agrees;
- The parents are unmarried and are not living together; or
- An order does not diminish visitation with the unrelated parent.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney
This article should not replace direct legal counsel specific to your situation. Each case is unique, and an experienced lawyer will know the course of action that is best for you. If you are a grandparent and have been denied visitation of your grandchild, a DuPage County grandparents rights attorney can help. The lawyers at Andrew Cores Family Law Group understand how disheartening it can be when you are separated from the ones you love. Find out how we can help. We offer a free, confidential initial consultation. Call us today at 630-871-1002.