Grandparents’ Rights Attorneys Serving Cook County & Protecting the Best Interests of Children

Grandparents’ rights have taken on a new importance. Based on decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois law follows a “superior rights” doctrine, which means the natural parents’ rights are superior to the rights of the grandparents.

There are situations where it is appropriate for a grandparent to file for either visitation with or guardianship of their grandchildren. There are ways legally this can be accomplished: visitation, which involves spending time together, and physical parenting time, which determines where the child will live. Seeking parenting time is proper where the grandparent has already taken on the primary parenting role for at least a year, the child is not receiving proper parental care from either biological parent, or if the grandparent has a reasonable suspicion that there is child abuse, neglect, or mental illness involved between the parent and children.

Pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/607, in order to be able to access the court when filing a petition for parenting time, the grandparents must allege that the natural parent’s denial of parenting time is unreasonable and any one of the following:

  • the child’s other parent is deceased or has been missing for at least three months;
  • a parent of the child is incompetent as a matter of law;
  • a parent of the child has been incarcerated in jail or prison for the three months preceding the filing of the pleading;
  • the mother and father of the child are divorced or legally separated and at least one parent does not object to the grandparent having parenting time;
  • the child was born out of wedlock, the parents are not living together, and the petitioner is the maternal or paternal grandparent of the child (paternity must be proven).

Contact our grandparents’ rights attorneys to learn more about filing a petition for parenting time. In determining whether to grant grandparents parenting time, the courts consider the following factors:

  • the preference of the child, if the child is mature enough to state a preference;
  • the mental and physical health of the child;
  • the mental and physical health of the person seeking visitation;
  • the length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and grandparent;
  • the good faith of the party in filing the petition;
  • the good faith of the person denying the visitation;
  • the quantity of visitation requested and the potential adverse impact on the family;
  • whether the child resided with the petitioner for at least six consecutive months with or without the biological parent present;
  • whether the petitioner had frequent visitation with the child for at least twelve months;
  • any other factor that establishes that the loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health.

As with any issue involving the children, the court must decide that the parenting time between the grandparent and the grandchild is in the best interest of the child.

Contact the Law Offices of Laura M. Urbik Kern today to find out how our Park Ridge grandparents’ rights attorneys can help you secure your right to visitation or guardianship of your grandchildren. We serve parents, grandparents, and families throughout Illinois in matters of family law, divorce, and parenting time.