How to File a Petition for Grandparent Visitation?
Wondering what visitation rights grandparents have in Illinois? Wondering where to start and how to file for grandparent visitation? Illinois courts consider extended family rights, however determining a grandparent's right to spend regular time with a grandchild is a complex issue. Determining when to file a petition for grandparent visitation is also a complex issue. Learn more below.
Contact us today at (630) 891-2478 for assistance with determining your grandparent rights and how to file a petition for grandparent visitation.
A coparent in Illinois is granted parenting time with their own child and in most cases can control who the child interacts with or spends time with during that parenting time. Visitation is the term for a person that is not a parent, such as a grandparent, stepparent or sibling, that seeks to have scheduled time with the child.
How Does a Grandparent Get Visitation Rights?
In most cases the parent of the child make the decisions for the child and who can spend time with the child. Therefore, a parent could decide to keep their child from a grandparent for various reasons. In Illinois, and many other states, a grandparent has the right to ask a court for a visitation schedule. A grandparent may want to consider mediation before filing a petition in court, however, if the parent refuses, you then know you need to file a petition with the appropriate court.
In order to file a petition in court for grandparent visitation, a grandparent must meet certain criteria to have the ability to ask a court to determine their grandparent rights and visitation schedule.
Criteria for Grandparent Visitation Rights
- The child's parents are divorced
- The child's parents are legally separated (petitioned a court for a legal separation)
- At least one parent has not objection to the grandparent's rights to visitation
- The parents were never married, and the parents do not live together
- One parent, or both parents, are incompetent (they must be deemed incompetent)
- One parent, or both parents, have died or are missing and unable to be located for at least 3 months
- One parent, or both parents, are incarcerated for at least 3 months.
What the Court Considers for Grandparent Rights
As stated above, if certain criteria are met, a grandparent can file a petition for visitation. The grandparent can file a pleading in a pending divorce or parenting case but if there is no pending case, a petition must be filed in the county where the child resides.
The Court will always consider information relevant to the best interest of the child and that is especially so for grandparent visitation rights. The court will generally consider the following:
- The wishes and preferences of the child
- Reasons and motivations for seeking grandparent visitation rights
- The good faith of the grandparent seeking visitation
- The good faith of the parent denying grandparent visitation
- The closeness of the relationship between child and the grandparent
- How the grandparent's requested schedule will or will not interfere with the child's parenting time schedule and other commitments
- Whether the child ever lived with the grandparent
- Whether the grandparent was the child's primary caregiver for a period of at least 6 months
- The frequency of contact between the child and the grandparent
- The health of the child, both mental and physical health
- The health of the grandparent, both mental and physical health
- Proof that a lack of grandparent visitation would cause physical, mental, or emotional harm to the child.
- Whether visitation had be structured that minimizes the child's exposure to conflicts between the grandparent and parent.
If a grandparent does not meet the above criteria and considerations, and if the grandparent ultimately had no prior relationship with a grandchild, it is unlikely a court will grant grandparent visitation rights.
Contact Our Illinois and DuPage Grandparent Rights Lawyer Today
Grandparent visitation rights is a complex issue that is not limited to the above criteria and considerations. There are time requirements for certain issues and fact specific considerations that a court can review. A grandparent may also want to seek electronic communication rights. Our experienced parenting and grandparent rights attorney, Erin Birt, and her team can help you through the emotional and stressful legal matter to apply to the law of grandparent rights to your facts. With our help you can be certain of when you will next communicate with and see your grandchild. Contact us today for a planning session to get started.
Want to keep your family matter out of court? We also provide grandparent and parent mediation services both online and in person at our Wheaton, Illinois office.