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When grandparents should ask for visitation

Non-traditional families are becoming more traditional these days.

So it's not surprising that grandparents would seek visitation rights of their grandchildren in some instances. Illinois strongly protects parents' rights on how they raise their children, however, there are a few visitation rights for grandparents under the law.

Two thresholds must be met in order for grandparents to gain the rights against the parents' wishes. The first is that the child must reach their first birthday.

After that it gets a little more complicated. The second condition can be met with several different factors. Grandparents can petition if one of the parents is dead or missing for at least three months; if a court declares one of the parents to be incompetent; if a parent has been in prison for three months prior to visitation being asked for by the grandparents; if the parents are divorced and one of the spouses allows the visitation; or if the parents were not married when the child was born, and they do not live together.

Ultimately, the court will always rule in what it believes is in the best interest of the child. Even if the two conditions are met it still could determine that visitation is not what is best for the child. A judge will take all factors into consideration including if the child prefers to visit with their grandparents; the past relationship between the grandchildren and the grandparents; if the children have lived with the grandparents, among other factors.

The exception to all the conditions is if the parents have had their rights terminated by the court or by adoption. If a parent loses their rights the court wouldn't want a grandparent to use their visitation to allow the parents to see their child.

For more information on grandparent visitation rights, feel free to contact The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

Sources: Legal Match, "Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Illinois"

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