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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

IL custody lawyerMany operate under the misconception that only parents and children are affected by a divorce, when in reality, multiple family members will have to adjust their own lives, offer support, and help the family as best they can. In some situations, family members may even seek visitation with children during the divorce proceedings. However, Illinois’ regulations surrounding this particular issue are quite complex. If you are in the position where you would like to seek non-parent visitation, it is possible to obtain that, but it is not easy.

The Process Is Complex

Illinois public policy favors a parent’s right to parent their children in the way they see fit as long as the child is not being endangered. However, certain family members - as of this writing, grandparents or great-grandparents, stepparents or siblings - may try to seek visitation (as opposed to parenting time) if they qualify under certain criteria. The main point that the nonparent seeking visitation must prove is that they have been “unreasonably” stopped from visiting with the child and that this has caused harm to the child (be it emotional, mental or physical).

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Any situation involving unmarried or divorced parents can certainly be difficult. Cases in which the relationship between the parents is contentious and bitter are even more challenging. Regardless of the comfort level between the adults, however, every child deserves a relationship with both parents. Under Illinois law, visitation is one of the means by which a parent may seek to foster such a relationship.

Joint Custody or Sole Custody

In a post-divorce or unmarried parent situation, the court may elect to grant joint custody to both parents, based on an arrangement for shared parenting responsibilities and decision-making. However, such an agreement is not always possible or in the best interest of the child. When it is not, the court will grant custody solely to one parent, leaving that parent responsible for the daily decisions related to raising the child. The law, in such cases, expressly recognizes the right of the non-custodial parents to "reasonable visitation," based on the assumption that parental involvement is nearly always in the child's best interest.

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grandparent visitation rightsIf your child has recently gone through a divorce, you are likely wondering how his or her custody arrangement for his or her children will affect you and your time with your grandchildren. You might be wondering what rights you have to spend time with your grandchildren and whether or not time with you is considered as part of their custody arrangement.

The short answer to your questions is this: unless you have court-ordered custody of your grandchild or grandchildren, your child and his or her former spouse are not legally required to have their child spend time with you

However, if you are routinely denied the opportunity to spend time with your grandchild, you may file a petition to have the court grant you visitation rights with your grandchild. Visitation rights are written into the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act along with other laws related to child custody and support.

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