Over 220,000 children who are under 18 live with their grandparents in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department on Aging. In Belleville, and across the state, over 100,000 grandparents take care of their grandchildren. Unfortunately, some grandparents are not able to spend time with their grandchildren for a number of reasons, such as disputes with the child’s parents. For grandparents who are going through this, reviewing their rights in the state and acting at once is imperative.
According to the Illinois General Assembly, there are a number of circumstances in which grandparents may file a petition for visitation rights in the state. For example, if a parent denies grandparent visitation and it causes mental harm for the child, grandparents may file a visitation petition if one of the child’s parents were ruled incompetent, are deceased or were in prison or missing for over 90 days. When a child’s parents are unmarried or become divorced, this may also affect grandparents who wish to file a petition for visitation.
In 2015, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was amended, which could impact grandparents who are fighting for their visitation rights. Grandparents can file petitions for reasonable visitation rights if their grandchildren are under 18, live in a two-parent household and they had beneficial and significant relationships with their grandchildren for over a year before the child’s parents cut ties. However, grandparents cannot file petitions for visitation rights if ties were cut by a parent as a result of abuse or the potential endangerment of a child.