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Review of Illinois' grandparent visitation statute

Like other states, Illinois law allows for Rockford grandparents, under certain circumstances to get a court order allowing them to visit with their grandchildren. However, there are certain limitations and restrictions that apply to these grandparents' rights.

For instance, a grandparent can only get a court order for visitation in situations where only one of the child's biological parents is primary custodian of the child, such as when one of the parents is dead or there is a divorce or, in the case of unmarried couples, a break up. In a private civil matter, grandparents generally cannot overrule the wishes of a married couple when it comes to visitation, no matter how unreasonable they may feel the parents are being.

Moreover, even before they get to the question of whether visits are in the best interests of the child, the grandparents will have to prove first that they have been "unreasonably" denied visitation with their grandchildren.

They cannot use a petition just because they want more time than they are already getting, for instance. Moreover, they will have to show how the child is actually being hurt by not having visitation.

Finally, grandparents' visits ordinarily will not be allowed to interfere with a parent's time with his or her children, even if, after considering all the applicable factors, the court decides visitation rights should be ordered. While navigating these situations can be stressful and difficult, seeking the assistance of a qualified attorney can help move forward in a strategic and level-headed way.

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