Search Site
Menu
Visitation Rights for Grandparents are Still Evolving in Illinois

Before 2005, Illinois grandparents could not obtain a court order authorizing visitation with their grandchildren. From 2005 to 2007, the Illinois Legislature enacted a string of amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act addressing grandparent visitation. The evolving law in Illinois exhibits lawmakers’ recognition of the important role that grandparents can play in their grandchildren’s lives.

Illinois grandparents may petition for visitation rights

In accordance with a series of amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Illinois law authorizes grandparents to petition for visitation with a grandchild who is at least one year old. Interested grandparents may file in the county where the grandchild resides, independent of any pending divorce or custody case.

Visitation rights for grandparents

To obtain visitation rights in Illinois, grandparents must meet the following two elements:

(1)   Grandparents must show that they have been unreasonably denied visitation by a parent of the grandchild; and

(2)   One of the following statements is true:

  • A parent is incompetent
  • A parent is dead or missing for three months
  • A parent is incarcerated for at least three months before seeking visitation rights
  • The child’s parents are divorced, legally separated, or there is a pending dissolution or custody proceeding and at least one parent has no objection
  • The child is born out of wedlock and the parents are not living together

When evaluating whether or not to grant visitation rights to grandparents, Illinois courts will review the following variables:

  • The grandchild’s preference
  • The closeness of the relationship between the child and the grandparents
  • The physical and mental well-being of the grandparents
  • The mental and physical health of the child
  • Did the child live with the grandparent (or has the grandparent been the primary caretaker of the child) for at least 6 consecutive months
  • The good faith of the grandparent’s intentions in seeking visitation
  • Whether the denial of visitation is in good faith
  • A balance of the amount of visitation time requested versus the potential damaging impact on the child’s regular activities
  • The grandparent’s frequency of contact with the child for at least one year
  • Any other information illustrating that that the child will be damaged emotionally or physically by terminating the relationship between the grandparent and the child

Unless proven otherwise, Illinois law assumes that a parent’s decisions regarding grandparents’ visitation is in the best interest of the child. Therefore, Illinois grandparents face an uphill battle to successfully petition the court for visitation when the parents are opposed to it.

If you are a grandparent with a grandchild within the jurisdiction of the Cook County court and feel that you are being unreasonably excluded from seeing your grandchildren, consult with a Cook County family law attorney to determine if you may petition the court.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Paul Chatzky Attorney Photo
Paul Chatzky
Founder

About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

Deborah E. Chatzky Attorney Photo
Deborah E. Chatzky
Paralegal

About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

Client Reviews
  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Paul Chatzky is well educated, knows in and outs in terms of law, keeps everything under control, responds to emails, returns phone calls almost immediately. Very professional and extremely detail-oriented lawyer. Highly recommended.

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Mr. Chatzky is very responsive, ethical and effective. I’m extremely happy with the service and I would highly recommend this law office to anyone seeking legal help

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Mr. Chatzky is truly superb at his job. His knowledge base is profound, and he approached my situation with honesty and integrity. I knew immediately that he had every intention to obtain the best outcome for me and that he had thought of every possi...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    I highly recommend Paul Chatzky as a high capable and honest attorney who genuinely cares about his clients and is highly committed to supporting their best interests. He lived up to the high expectations that I had and was willing as hard as me to m...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Paul Chatzky is always very responsive, professional, and a pleasure to work with.

    Read more

    Client

See all reviews
AWARDS
Contact us

Quick Contact Form