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Divorce may seem like an isolated family issue, but it can also affect extended members of the family, such as grandparents. It has been a trend in the United States for grandparents to contribute significantly to child care and helping parents raise their children. In many cases, a retired grandparent may act as daytime child care for a child whose parents work during the day. Especially in these relationships, the bond between a grandparent and grandchild can be strong and essential to the child’s well-being. In some cases, grandparents in Illinois may be able to request visitation with a child after the child’s parents divorce or split up.

Requesting Visitation for a Grandchild

When it comes to family matters such as these, things can be sticky when parents disagree with grandparents. Illinois law states that grandparents are only allowed to request visitation if the child’s parent has “unreasonably” denied the grandparent the right to spend time with the child, and the denial has caused the child physical, emotional, or mental harm. The law does not define what “unreasonable” denial is, but it does state that all parents who are deemed fit are presumed to be acting in the child’s best interests if they refuse to allow a grandparent or other family member to spend time with the child. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Sometimes, a parent may use their child as a pawn against a grandparent or have some other bad faith reason to deny visitation.

Factors for Determination

If a grandparent has requested visitation with their grandchild, the court will make the final decision based on a variety of factors. These factors can include things such as:


Palatine family law attorney, rights of grandparentsChildren of divorced parents must deal with losing the stability of a two-parent home, potentially moving away from friends and family, and adjusting to living in multiple households. Losing friends and family is often the most difficult part of the divorce process. One family member that would be particularly hard to lose is a grandparent.

Grandparents commonly play a large role in a child's life, and have a large impact on a child's development. In fact, some grandparents find themselves raising their grandchildren. More commonly, though, is the grandparent trying to stay in the good graces of both parents in hopes of avoiding a reduction or termination of contact with his/her grandchild.

Parents may choose to cut ties with an ex-spouse's family, particularly if there are issues of domestic abuse or protracted, high-conflict custody disputes. However, the end result is the grandparent and child losing this relationship. Legally, parents are given broad latitude in deciding who is permitted to see their children, and this authority extends to grandparents. Thus, if a parent decides to block communication between a grandparent and grandchild, there is typically little the grandparent can do. However, many states, Illinois included, are starting to recognize the value a grandparent brings to a child by passing laws that grant grandparents some visitation rights following a divorce.


Palatine collaborative law attorney, birth grandparent rightsOn January 1, last year’s changes to the Illinois Adoption Act were implemented across the state. The changes include amendments concerning who is allowed to seek access to personal information about adults who were previously adopted or surrendered to the state. Sometimes, years after an adoption takes place, one or both parties involved are interested in making contact with the other. This can be a difficult and emotional process. Therefore, if you are considering making contact with an adopted biological relative, then contacting an experienced family law attorney who will handle the issue with skill and sensitivity is essential.


The Illinois Adoption Act authorizes the Department of Public Health to establish a registry that allows mutually consenting members of birth and adoptive families to exchange identifying information. Previously, biological grandparents were not permitted to file applications requesting such an exchange. The recent amendments change that and allow birth grandparents to file requests if a birth parent has died. The birth grandparent may file a Registration Identification Form or an Information Exchange Authorization if he or she submits:


grandparents rights, grandparent guardianship, child custody, guardian ad litem. Illinois family lawyerIn a perfect world, children would be raised by their parents. But today, an increasing number of parents are unable to care for their children. In Illinois, 101,951 children under the age of 18 are being raised solely by their grandparents. Whether due to the death of both parents, substance abuse, mental illness, neglect and abandonment or other reasons, an increasing number of grandparents are turning to the Courts to be formally appointed guardians of their grandchildren. Types of Grandparent Guardianship of Grandchildren in Illinois

There are two types of minor guardianships in Illinois - guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. You may petition the Court for appointment as one or both of these guardians. There is no requirement that you serve in both capacities.

Guardianship of the person puts you in charge of your grandchildren’s physical needs. As guardian, you will have the same responsibilities as a parent. You will be responsible for your grandchildren’s daily care and have the power to make all decisions regarding that care, including:


grandparent visitation, lawyer, attorney child custody, Illinois family lawyer, Palatine child custodyMany of us know doting grandparents. They often brag about their grandchildren’s every accomplishment and share an endless stream of photos on Facebook (the digital equivalent of photo-stuffed wallets). And grandparents undeniably have a lot to offer their grandchildren, such as a link to the past, unconditional love and valuable advice on the future.

But what if the grandchildren’s parents refuse to allow the grandparents visitation rights? Do the grandparents have the right to visitation? The answer is yes, under specific circumstances.

Illinois Law on Grandparent Visitation


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