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DuPage County Grandparents' Rights Lawyer

Naperville Law Firm Protecting Grandparents' Visitation Rights

West Chicago Grandparents' Visitation Attorney

When parents divorce or in a paternity situation, Illinois courts will make the protection of children's best interests its top priority, but the rights of all parties involved will also be considered. This includes not just the children and their parents, but third parties like the children's grandparents as well. Any grandparents who believe they have been unfairly excluded from their grandchildren's lives should consult with a family law attorney to understand their rights and the options available to them under the law.

Grandparents' Visitation Rights

In Illinois, grandparents' rights to visitation with their grandchildren are controlled by their child (the grandchildren's mother or father). The decisions parents make in regards to their children's visitation with other family members are presumed to be in the children's best interests. However, if grandparents believe that their grandchildren's parents are making unreasonable visitation decisions that are harmful to their grandchildren, they may be able to petition for visitation rights. In this type of petition, a child must be at least one year old, and at least one of the following conditions must be met:

  • The parents were never married and do not live together
  • The parents are divorced or divorcing, one parent does not object to the visitation request, and any visitation requests do not disrupt the objecting parent's parenting time with their children
  • One parent has been incarcerated for at least 90 days
  • One parent has been deceased or missing for at least 90 days
  • One parent has been found by a court to be unfit or incompetent

When deciding whether to grant visitation rights to grandparents, a judge will consider several factors, including:

  • The child's wishes (while taking the child's maturity and ability to express their preferences into consideration)
  • The physical and mental health of the grandchildren and grandparents
  • The previous relationship between the grandchildren and grandparents
  • Whether the grandparents requesting visitation are doing so in good faith
  • Whether the parent denying visitation is doing so in good faith
  • The impact the requested visitation would have on the child's regular schedule and activities
  • The potential harm caused to a child by the loss of a relationship with their grandparents
  • The parties' ability to protect the child from conflict between grandparents and parents

As in any other child issues that come before the court, a judge will always try to protect children's best interests. Since parents have a rebuttable presumption that their decisions regarding visitation with third parties is not harmful to their children's physical, mental, or emotional health, the burden of proof is on grandparents seeking visitation to show that the parent's decisions about visitation are not in the children's best interests.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are a grandparent who is concerned about your visitation rights with your grandchildren during and after their parents' divorce, our experienced family lawyers can answer your questions and help you understand your legal options. If you believe that you are being unreasonably denied visitation time with your grandchildren, we can advise you on the steps you can take and represent you in court as you fight to protect your grandchildren's best interests. Contact our Wheaton law offices at 630-653-9400 to schedule an initial consultation.

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