Visitation for Grandparents
In divorce cases in which children are involved, one aspect that is sometimes disregarded is the impact on grandparents and their ability to see their grandchildren. This can often be very frustrating for grandparents and confusing for minor children. However, it is possible for grandparents and great-grandparents (as well as siblings) to request the court to grant them visitation rights.
Visitation is defined as in-person time spent between parents and their minor children. Normally, visitation is associated with the non-custodial parent spending time with his or her children. However, visitation can also be expanded for grandparents or siblings. Under Illinois law, grandparents and siblings of children who are at least a year old can petition the court to request visitation. A petition for visitation may be brought during a pending divorce proceeding or any other proceeding that involves custody or similar issues.
A petition for visitation may be filed if visitation has been denied unreasonably by a parent and one or more of the following are true:
- One of the child's parents is dead or has been absent for at least three weeks;
- A parent has been deemed incompetent;
- A parent has been incarcerated during the three months before the petition was filed;
- The child's parents are divorced, separated, or there is a pending dissolution of marriage proceeding and at least one parent does not wish to deny visitation;
- The child is born out of wedlock, the parents do not reside together, and the petitioner is a maternal grandparent or sibling of the minor child; or
- The child is born out of wedlock, the parents do not reside together, and the petitioner is a paternal grandparent or sibling and paternity has been legally established.
It is important to note that the best arrangement is for the divorcing parents and the grandparents to come to an agreement in regards to visitation. By coming to an agreement, litigation can be avoided and the relationship between all parties is usually less strained. However, in cases where an agreement is not possible, a petition for visitation can be utilized. In most situations, a judge will attempt to continue a relationship between a child and his or her grandparents. Still, grandparents are typically given less visitation rights than parents are granted.
Illinois Family Law Attorneys
For grandparents, the thought of not being able to see their grandchild is often sad and frustrating; however, there are ways to keep this from happening. If you would like more information about visitation following a divorce, please speak with an experienced Illinois family law attorney at MKFM Law. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing how our knowledge and experience can be utilized to help you in your situation. Call 630-665-7300 today.