As a grandparent in the state of Illinois, your relationship with your grandchildren can be seriously affected by their parents’ divorce. While state laws outline clear guidelines for determining child custody and visitation arrangements for parents, policies relating to the rights of grandparents can be vague and difficult to implement in some instances. It’s for that reason that understanding your legal protections and obligations as a grandparent seeking visitation rights is so important.
About Parenting explains that state family law statutes on the visitation rights of other family members apply to children’s siblings, grandparents and great-grandparent. Current guidelines do allow grandparents to pursue visitation rights; however, the state Supreme Court has ruled against extending such legal protections to grandparents in the past. As a result, your case will likely have to meet a number of stipulations before you can successfully sue for visitation rights.
For one thing, you are required to prove that your grandchild or grandchildren are being harmed physically, emotionally and/or mentally by not spending time with you. Under most circumstances, parents have the right to make decisions regarding who is allowed to have contact with their children. It is also your responsibility, then, to illustrate how the decision of the parents of your grandchildren to deny you visitation is unreasonable.
Other factors that may be taken into consideration when determining whether or not you should have visitation rights to your grandchild include but are not limited to:
- the child is not in foster care or has been adopted
- paternity has been established
- both of the child’s parents are alive
Every case is different, and your unique situation may involve factors not discussed above. Therefore, the provided information cannot serve as legal advice.