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Grandparents and Visitation in Illinois

With all of the concerns that are involved in a typical divorce proceeding, a child’s grandparents are rarely considered in regard to visitation with that child. While the state of Illinois recognizes the inherent right of visitation for non-custodial parents, situations may arise in which a petition for a grandparent’s visitation privileges may be appropriate. In these situations, an experienced attorney can provide advice and guidance on how exactly to proceed.

The Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/607, contains provisions concerning child visitation and the rights of grandparents and other relatives, including siblings to petition the court for visitation privileges. The statute specifies the circumstances and process by which grandparents can seek visitation with their grandchildren. The first step in seeking visitation is to file a petition with the court in the county in which the child resides. In order for the grandparents to begin this process, the child must be at least one year old.

The law further provides that a grandparent may file a petition for visitation rights to a minor child when unreasonable denial occurs by a parent, or if certain conditions are met. One of those conditions is if the other parent is deceased or has been missing for at least three months. The same applies if one parent has been found incompetent as a matter of law, or if one parent has been incarcerated for three months prior to the filing of the petition for visitation rights. Grandparents may also petition for visitation if the parents are divorced, legally separated, or there is a pending dissolution proceeding involving a parent.

Additionally, there are two provisions concerning the visitation rights of grandparents whose grandchildren are born out of wedlock. If the parents are not married and they do not live together, the maternal grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights. The same applies for the paternal grandparents if paternity has been established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Legal Help

If you are a grandparent looking to improve your relationship with your grandchildren through visitation, or if you believe you have been unreasonably kept from seeing your grandchildren, our office can help. Contact an experienced Illinois child custody attorney today to discuss your options. Call Keller Legal Services, P.C. at 630-868-3093 to learn more about maintaining contact with your grandchildren.