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Illinois family law and factors for non-parent visitation

A common issue in dispute in Illinois family law is visitation of children for people who are not the parents. This delves into the delicate family law issues surrounding grandparents' rights, siblings' ability to visit and stepparents' rights, among others. The law has certain criteria when it decides if visitation should be granted to a non-parent. The guardian of the child and the prospective visitor must understand these laws if they are moving forward with a case to have visitation.

The court will consider what the child wants. This is contingent on the child's maturity level and the ability to make a reasonable case and independently express a preference regarding visitation. The child's mental and physical health are paramount with a custody dispute and it is the same with visitation. If the health will be benefitted from the visitation rights, there is a chance it will be granted; if not, it might be denied. The mental and physical health of the prospective visitor will be considered.

The relationship between the child and the prospective visitor, its length and quality prior to the custody decision will be assessed. The court will ask if the attempt to have visitation is done in good faith and it will also ask if the attempt to deny visitation is done in good faith. The amount of time the visitor will have with the child and if there are adverse implications that this would have on the child's normal schedule and activities will be analyzed. Any other issue related to the relationship between the seeker of visitation and the child as to whether it will harm the child in a physical, emotional and mental way will be considered. Finally, the visitation must be structured to minimize the child being exposed to disputes that the adults are having.

Children are frequently in the middle of a family dispute over custody. After custody is determined, visitation rights are part of the process as well, especially when there are non-parents who want to see the child. For the parent, guardian and the person who wants to have visitation, it is imperative to have a firm grounding in state family law before pursuing or denying visitation.

Source: ilga.gov, "Sec. 602.9. Visitation by certain non-parents. -- (b) General provisions. (5)," accessed on June 20, 2017

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