Grandparent and Other Non-Parent Visitation Rights In Illinois

Does a Grandparent Have Visitation Rights?

In some guardianship or divorce disputes, grandparents’ right to visitation may be left undecided or unclear. While there isn’t a federal law governing grandparent rights to visitation, in 2016, Illinois adopted a new statute found at 750 ILCS 5/602.9 outlining the law with regard to visitation by certain non-parents which includes grandparents, stepparents, and siblings.

Who Has Child Visitation Rights?

These non-parents can file an action but you must prove that you were unreasonably denied visitation and that the denial of visitation caused the child undue mental, physical or emotional harm. If a grandparent is denied visitation with the child you can file a petition on your own. You can join in a dissolution or paternity action but the filing must be done in the county in which the child resides.

Child Visitation Rights In Illinois

In order to get standing to pursue an action in court there must be an unreasonable denial of visitation, plus one other factor to seek relief from the court.  These other factors include situations where: 

1.         The child’s other parent is deceased or has been missing for at least 90 days

2.         A parent of the child is incompetent

3.         A parent has been incarcerated for a period in excess of 90 days

4.         The parents have been divorced or legally separate and one parent does not object to the visitation

5.         If parents are not married, the parent-child relationship has been legally established

The Act Does Not Apply If:

1.         The child has a current juvenile court action pending

2.         An unrelated adoption is pending

3.         Where the parents voluntarily surrendered the child except with regard to certain matters pending with DCFS

4.         If the child was previously adopted by a non-relative

5.         If the child has been relinquished pursuant to the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act

Child Visitation Factors: Things to Consider

1.         The wishes of the child

2.         The mental and physical health of a child

3.         The mental and physical health  of the grandparents or non-parent

4.         Length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent or non-parent

5.         The good faith of the person filing the petition

6.         The good faith of the person denying visitation

7 .        The quality of visitation requested and potential adverse impact on the child’s activities

8.         Any other factor found to be relevant to the Court

9.         If the visitation can be structured to avoid conflict between the adults

Other Court Considerations:

1.         If child resided with the Petitioner for at least 6 consecutive months without a parent present

2.         If the child had frequent and regular contact or visitation for a least 12 consecutive months

3.         If the Petitioner was the primary caretaker of the child for a period on net less than 6

            months in a 2 year period

The above is a summary of the statute and there are other factors you must consider in pursuing this type of relief. 

Under probate law in Illinois, if both parents are deceased visitation shall be granted to the grandparents unless it is shown that such visitation would be detrimental to the best interest of the child. 

These are difficult threshold requirements and you should consult with an attorney as to the facts of your case.

For More Information

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You may message us here, complete the form below to email our office, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will be able to assist you.

This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.


This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.

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