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Grandparent and Sibling Visitation
When may a grandparent or sibling petition for visitation with a minor child?
A grandparent or sibling may petition for visitation if the custodial parent unreasonably denies visitation. ALSO, one of the following tests must be met:
Of course, if the child is illegitimate, the noncustodial father's paternity must be demonstrated. And if the child has been adopted by a new parent, parents of the noncustodial parent may not petition for visitation.
What must a grandparent prove to obtain visitation?
Courts will presume that the custodial parent's decisions are not harmful to the child. A grandparent must prove that the custodial parent's actions are harmful to the child's mental, physical, or emotional health.
What factors are relevant?
In order to assess whether the actions of a custodial parent are harmful to the child, the law created the following factors:
A court is obliged to consider each of the above factors.
For how long may a grandparent have visitation?
The law specifically says that visitation need not include overnight visits or actual possession of the child.
Once visitation has been established, it can not be disturbed for at least 2 years, unless there is serious danger to the child's health.
Once visitation has been established, it cannot be disturbed unless there is "clear and convincing evidence" that a change in circumstances has occurred and that modification is necessary to protect the health of the child.
Either or both parents may be ordered to pay reasonable and necessary child support, without regard to marital fault or misconduct. If the official Illinois guidelines are not appropriate, the court considers the financial resources and needs of the child, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had endured, the physical, emotional, and educational needs of the child, and the financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the non-custodial and the custodial parent. Support payments may be ordered paid directly to the court.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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