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Establishing Visitation Orders for Non-Parents in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

Glen Ellyn family law attorney grandparents' rightsDivorces are often difficult, and they can become even tougher when children are involved. Many times, for whatever reason, a parent can deny their child the right to visitation with a grandparent or other family member. Often, a child’s relationship with their grandparents, step-parents, or siblings is pertinent to their well-being. According to the state of Illinois, as long as visitation is in the best interest of the child, grandparents, siblings, and other non-parents have the right to seek visitation.

Who Can File a Petition for Visitation?

There are many instances in which a person might want to establish legal visitation with a child. In the state of Illinois, people who can file for visitation with a child are:

  • Grandparents;
  • Great-grandparents;
  • Step-parents; and
  • Siblings.

These family members of the child can file a petition for visitation if the parent denying visitation is doing so unreasonably and causes mental, physical, or emotional harm to the child. In addition to bringing undue harm to the child, one of the following conditions must also exist:

  • The child’s other parent is deceased or has been missing for at least 90 days;
  • A parent of the child has been ruled incompetent as a matter of law;
  • A parent has been in jail for more than 90 days at the time the petition is filed;
  • The child’s parents are divorced and at least one parent does not object to the visitation by the family member; or
  • The child is born to parents who are not married to each other and are not living together, and parentage has been established by the courts.

Factors to Determine Visitation Orders

Not all petitions for visitation are granted when they are filed. The courts begin with presuming that a fit parent has a reason for denying visitation to a grandparent or a sibling. It is up to the petitioner to establish that the parent is causing harm to the child by denying visitation. In addition, the courts look at a variety of factors when they hear a visitation case. These factors include:

  • The wishes of the child, taking into account the age and ability of the child to independently express their desires;
  • The mental and physical health of the child;
  • The mental and physical health of the petitioner;
  • The length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the petitioner;
  • The good faith of the party filing the petition;
  • The good faith of the person denying visitation;
  • The amount of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact the time would have on the child’s daily routine;
  • Any other fact that establishes that the loss of the relationship between the child and the petitioner is likely to harm the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health; and
  • Whether visitation can be coordinated to minimize the child’s exposure to the conflict between the adults.

Contact a Wheaton Grandparents' Rights Lawyer

Just because you are not a parent of a child does not mean that you do not deserve to be in that child’s life. Children deserve to grow up knowing their grandparents and siblings. If you are in a situation where you are being denied visitation, you need the help of an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. to find out what your rights are and begin the process of petitioning for visitation. Call 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K602.9.htm

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