In Illinois, grandparents do not have any automatic right of visitation with their grandchildren after a divorce. It may be that visitation was written into the original custody agreement, but if the custody arrangement changes, those visitation rights might change as well. A Northbrook family law attorney can help you with seeking grandparent rights with custody changes when they happen.
In Illinois, grandparents who want visitation rights with their grandchildren may file a written petition with the family law court after the child reaches the age of one year. The law generally assumes that a parent who denies visitation has a good reason for doing so. However, grandparents may try to overcome this presumption that the parents act in the child’s best interest. To do so, the grandparent will have to prove that spending time with the child is essential to the child’s physical and emotional well-being.
In order to receive court-ordered visitation in Illinois, grandparents must show that the parent’s denial of visitation is unreasonable and causes physical or emotional harm to the child. The grandparent must also show at least one of the following facts:
The burden of proof for all of this is on the grandparent. Even where one of the secondary factors is present, and the grandparent has an emotional bond with the child, the court will not order visitation if the grandparent cannot demonstrate that the child was physically or emotionally injured by the lack of visitation.
If, on the other hand, the grandparent does meet that burden of proof, the court will still consider several other issues to decide whether visitation should be granted and, if so, how often. These issues include:
If these issues favor visitation, the court may grant visitation rights even over the parents’ objections.
The same rules will apply in an adoption, which terminates existing custody and visitation orders.
The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild can be a deep emotional tie. Severing that relationship unnecessarily can be harmful to the child. Be sure to seek a Northbrook family law attorney to assist in seeking that visitation.
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