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What rights do Illinois grandparents have?

Grandparents’ rights have a complex history in Illinois, and related laws have undergone many changes over time. Nowadays, however, you may, as an Illinois grandparent, lawfully seek visitation through filing a lawsuit in the state, but there are particular things you must demonstrate in order for the courts to consider granting it to you.

According to The Spruce, one of the primary things you must prove as a grandparent seeking formal visitation in Illinois is that you have been subject to “unreasonable denial of visitation” with your grandchild, who must be at least 1 year old. You may seek visitation through an existing divorce, custody or visitation suit, or you may also be able to do so through filing a separate petition.

If a court agrees that your denial of visitation is unreasonable, you will likely find yourself grouped into one of two categories. The first is for those who cannot garner access to a grandchild because the child’s parent is missing, dead or incapacitated. The second is for those who seek visitation because the child’s parents are separating or divorcing, or already separated or divorced. If you wish to pursue visitation through the latter method, at least one of the child’s parent’s must support you in your quest for visitation.

Another important step in pursuing grandparent visitation involves demonstrating to the court that maintaining a relationship with you is in your grandchild’s best interests. The court may ask for your grandchild’s input, depending on his or her age, when determining whether to issue visitation. Other factors, such as your own health and whether you have an existing strong relationship with the child, may also come into play.

This information about Illinois grandparent rights is informative, but it is not a replacement for legal advice.

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