Grandparent Visitation

Most grandparents cannot imagine not being able to spend time with their grandchildren. However, when a parent is at odds with a child’s grandparent, and chooses to exclude a grandparent from the child’s life, the law in Illinois presumes that the parent is acting in the child’s best interest. In 2002, in the case Wickham v. Bryne, the Illinois Supreme Court held that courts are prevented from second guessing parents’ visitation decisions. A fit parent has a constitutional right to direct the care, custody, and control of his and her child, including with whom the child will and will not associate.
There are certain circumstances, however, where the court may grant visitation to grandparents or other relatives even over a parent’s objection. In addition to the court finding that there has been an “an unreasonable deniable of visitation,” one of certain stated conditions must exists. These conditions, which are enumerated in the Illinois statute, include: a parent is deceased or missing more than 3 months; a parent has been declared incompetent; a parent is incarcerated; the parents are going through a divorce or are divorced or a proceeding related to custody or visitation of the child and at least one parent does not object to the relative having visitation with the child and that relative’s visitation won’t diminish the visitation between the parent and child; or the child has resided with the grandparent for 6 consecutive months and were prior caregivers within the past 2 years. These are just some of the conditions listed in the statute.

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