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What should you know to petition for grandparents' rights?

If you are a grandparent in Illinois and you have filed a petition for visitation rights with your grandchildren, there are some things you should be aware of as you make your request. 

Illinois Legal Aid Online explains what judges are looking for when they are deciding whether to grant non-parents the right to see children. Remembering the courts are always working for the best interests of the kids, you should also be mindful of other issues. Have you already established a relationship with your grandchildren, for example? Legal Aid Online describes it in this way: "whether the child visited with the non-parent for at least 12 consecutive months." Monthly visits establish the existence of a relationship and show how strong the ties are.

Courts are also considering:

  • Whether visitation is good for the child or harmful
  • Whether you and the parents have been honest throughout the process and are trustworthy
  • Whether the child wants to visit with you 

In addition, judges require you to prove some things. First, it is essential that you can show you have a legal relationship with the child. You may need birth certificates of your children to prove their children are also related to you, or you may find other ways to demonstrate your family ties. Any way you do it, you have to be able to prove your grandchildren are, in fact, yours.

You must also be able to prove one of the following:

  • The child's parents have separated or divorced.
  • One of the child's parents has passed away.
  • The child's mother is a single mom.

The above information should provide guidance for you if you are seeking visitation with your grandchildren in Illinois. It does not offer legal advice but only intends to educate on the subject of grandparents' rights.

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