If you want to exercise your rights as a grandparent in Kane or DuPage County, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process. At the Law Offices of Nick Kulagin, we can provide you with reliable information about what you should expect at each step of the legal process. We also can represent parents who oppose the visitation or custody rights of grandparents. With 15 years of experience, our Wheaton attorneys are committed to protecting your family’s interests.Understanding the Rights of Grandparents when a Marriage Dissolves
Under Illinois law, parents have the right to shape the type of relationship that grandparents can have with their children. It is generally up to the parents of the child to allow their parents to spend time with their children or to deny access if they prefer. This fundamental right of parents is balanced against the child’s best interests. A court typically will grant grandparents visitation rights for a child who is one year old or older in certain circumstances, such as:
- When both parents live separately;
- When one parent is absent;
- When one parent is deceased or has been missing for at least three months;
- When one parent is in prison for three months; or
- When one parent is disabled or incapacitated.
When considering the best interests of the child, the court has a great deal of discretion and can essentially examine any relevant factor. Some examples include the child’s preferences, the relationship between the child and the grandparent, the overall well-being of the child, the grandparent’s motives for seeking visitation, the motives for parental objections to grandparent visitation, and the amount of benefit or disruption that visitation would have on a child’s life.
In cases when a parent is unable to provide a grandparent with visitation, a grandparent can petition the court for the visitation rights that they would have enjoyed if their own child had been able to grant it. The law permits grandparents to seek visitation rights even if there is a pending divorce or custody proceeding between the child’s parents.
According to the Southern Illinois University School of Law, as of the year 2000, approximately 40 percent of the state’s households listed grandparents as primary caregivers for children.
If a grandparent has acted as the primary caregiver of the child for a substantial amount of time, that grandparent may be able to petition the court for custody of the child. Grandparents who have been primary caregivers for six months or longer are given strong consideration, although they are not automatically granted custody.Explore Your Child Custody Options with an Attorney in DuPage or Kane County
At the Law Offices of Nick Kulagin, our child custody lawyers can represent residents of Kane and DuPage Counties who are seeking to establish their rights. Our team is available to answer any questions you may have and can keep you informed of any developments that may take place in your case. We also can assist individuals in Naperville, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, and Oak Park, among other communities. To set up a free consultation, call us at 630-480-6399 or contact us online.