Do grandparents have visitation rights?

| Jan 26, 2021 | family law |

Grandparents often develop a special relationship with their grandchildren. There are some situations in which a parent may refuse the grandparent’s rights to see the grandchildren. It could be a result of a divorce or other issues with the relationship between the adults in the situation. 

If you find yourself in a place where your grandchildren’s parent or parents are not allowing you to see them, then you may wonder if you have visitation rights under the law. According to the Illinois General Assembly, the law does provide some visitation rights to grandparents. 

Right to petition

You have the right to file a petition for visitation rights to your grandchildren if you can prove the parent or parents have unreasonably denied you access to the children. You must be able to prove that not having contact with you is causing harm to your grandchildren. 

The law gives the benefit of the doubt to the parents. If they are fit parents, the law assumes they make decisions that are not harmful to their children. You have the burden of proof on you to show the court that in this situation, the parents are not doing what is right for their children. 

Prove your case

When proving your case, you must ensure the court can clearly see how the denial of visitation is not in the best interests of your grandchildren. The court will consider the reasoning behind the denial, which the parents will have to provide. 

The court will also consider how reasonable your request is. It may look into whether it would disrupt the children’s lives and how it will impact them to have regular visitation times with you. 

The court will also look into your relationship with the children prior to the event or time when the parents denied you access to them. You will have a stronger case if you can show a meaningful relationship existed. 

Other things the court will consider when making a decision is your health and the children’s health, both mental and physical. It will also weigh the children’s wishes if they are mature enough to understand the situation. 

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