When married spouses choose to get a divorce, or when an unmarried couple ends their relationship, this will not only affect the couple themselves, but also their children and other extended family members. In some of these cases, grandparents may be concerned about their ability to maintain close and continuing relationships with their grandchildren. This may be an issue in situations where a person does not get along with their former spouse’s parents, and grandparents may worry that a parent will attempt to limit the amount of time they can spend with their grandchildren or otherwise harm a child’s relationship with extended family members. In some cases, grandparents may be able to secure visitation rights with grandchildren. When addressing these issues, grandparents can work with a family law attorney to determine their rights and options.
Petitioning for Grandparent Visitation Rights
Illinois law presumes that parents who are fit to care for their children are able to make decisions about whether continuing relationships with grandparents will be beneficial for their children. However, if a parent has denied a grandparent access to their grandchildren, a grandparent may petition for visitation rights. In these cases, a grandparent will need to show that a parent’s actions to deny visitation by a grandparent will result in harm to a child’s physical or emotional well-being.
If a child’s parents have begun the divorce process, have finalized their divorce, or have received a legal separation, a grandparent may petition for visitation as long as one of the parents does not object to this visitation. Grandparents may also seek visitation rights in cases where a child’s parents are unmarried and not living together, as well as situations where one of the child’s parents is deceased, has been missing for at least 90 days, is incarcerated in prison, or is deemed legally incompetent....