When Can a Grandparent Request Visitation Rights for a Child in Illinois?
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:
- The wishes of the child, taking into account their age and maturity level
- The mental and physical health of the child
- The mental and physical health of the grandparent requesting visitation
- The type, length, and quality of relationship that the child has with the grandparent
- Whether or not the grandparent is acting in good faith when requesting visitation
- Whether or not the parent is acting in good faith when denying visitation
- The nature of the requested visitation and whether or not it would have an impact on the child’s daily life
- Whether or not the visitation can be woven into the parenting plan to cause as little conflict between adults as possible
- Any other factor that points toward the negative effects of not allowing the grandparent to visit with the child
Our Mt. Prospect, IL Grandparent Visitation Lawyer is Here to Help
There are many situations in which a grandparent could be awarded visitation rights to a child. At the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., we believe that both grandparents and their grandchildren have the right to maintain their relationship with one another if it is in the child’s best interests. If you are seeking visitation with your grandchild, you should speak to a Northwest Cook County family law attorney today. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 847.873.6741.