Grandparents Have Rights: Petitioning for Visitation in Illinois
The bond between grandparents and their grandchildren is special. Sunday trips to their home for family dinner or perhaps a week or two during the summer can leave lasting memories for the grandchildren as well as the grandparents. The bond is different from that of a parental bond. However, divorce can often weaken that bond.
The divorcing parent may withhold visitation or any type of involvement in the child’s life to the parents of the exiting spouse. Grandparents.com, an organization dedicated to the sanctity of all things grandparents, recently pondered if grandparents have enough rights when it comes to visitation post divorce.
In June 2000, the U.S. Supreme court passed down a 6–3 decision in the Troxel v. Granville case. This decision became the basis for grandparent rights. The ruling, although a bit ambiguous, permits any third party interested in visitation rights to petition the courts, often leaving the burden of proof for the grandparents to establish their request as in the best interest of the child.
The interpretation of this ruling may vary from state to state. For those grandparents seeking visitation in Illinois, it is in their best interest to contact an experienced family law attorney. The following guidelines may prove helpful while awaiting your scheduled initial consultation.
Grandparent’s Rights in Illinois
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/607), provides grandparents the right to continue their relationship with their grandchildren without the parent present. In the event of family discord, the courts may intervene to uphold this right. Grandparents may file for visitation when a parent has died, has been incarcerated, or divorce has occurred.
Grandparent’s Burden of Proof
If the courts become involved, the burden of proof is the responsibility of those seeking visitation by demonstrating that this action is in the best interest of the child. The grandparents must also establish the biological bond between themselves and the child as well as documentation of the failure of the custodial parent to consent to visitation. The court will evaluate the frequency of visits between grandparent and child within the prior year. Finally, the court may also take into consideration the preference of the child, if of age, as well as the mental and physical health of the child and the petitioning grandparents.
Consult a Compassionate Illinois Family Law Attorney
Illinois and the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick agree, grandparents are an important influence on the lives of their grandchildren. If as grandparents, you are experiencing the refusal of visitation by your former daughter-in-law or son-in-law, there are options under Illinois law. Grandparents have rights too.
Attorney Warlick has been practicing family law since 1991 and represents individuals and families in Kane, Kendall, Dekalb and DuPage counties. Attorney Warlick will meet with you personally to discuss your visitation rights to help you remain an influential member of your grandchild’s extended family. Contact our experienced Illinois family law attorneys to schedule your consultation today.