Photo of a Happy Child with Grandparents

The bond between grandparents and their grandchildren can be irreplaceable.Grandparents often play a crucial role in shaping a child’s upbringing, providing love, guidance, and support. However, some situations such as death of a parent, divorce, legal disputes or family dynamics.can make things complicated. A grandparent often wants to maintain a relationship with the child, but a parent might not agree due to a wide number of reasons. 

At Swietkowski & Swietkowski, P.C., we understand the immense emotional complexity of such situations and the profound impact they can have on the lives of grandparents, parents, and the children. Our team of skilled and empathetic family law attorneys in Chicago is committed to supporting you through these challenging times. 

As you face the intricacies of Illinois family laws, we will be your steadfast advocate, striving to protect your rights. Let us help you navigate this difficult journey with confidence. 

What are Grandparent Visitation Rights in Chicago?

Grandparents’ visitation rights are not absolute in Chicago, i.e., Illinois law does not automatically grant parenting time to grandparents. Parents are generally given the discretion to decide who their child forms relationships with, as long as it does not harm the child. A grandparent wanting visitation has to show that the parent’s decisions regarding visitation would cause an undue harm to the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health. 

In Chicago, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) (750 ILCS 5/602.9) provides the framework for addressing visitation rights for grandparents under specific circumstances, including:

  • The child’s parent(s) are unreasonably denying visitation to the grandparent
  • One parent is deceased or has been missing for at least three months
  • A parent is legally incompetent
  • A parent has been incarcerated for a period of at least three months before filing the petition for visitation
  • The child’s parents are divorced or legally separated, and at least one parent does not object to the grandparent’s visitation

One point to keep in mind is that when a grandparent petitions for visitation, they must demonstrate that a relationship with their grandchild existed prior to the parents’ divorce or separation. The court may assist in continuing a pre-existing relationship but will not facilitate the formation of a new one between the grandparent and grandchild. 

What if the grandchild was born out of wedlock?

In cases where the child is born out of wedlock and the parents are not living together, grandparents may still be eligible to petition for visitation in Illinois. In these cases, the grandparents’ ability to petition for visitation  is contingent upon the paternity of the child being legally established.

Let Our Attorneys Be Your Voice in Your Grandparent Visitation Dispute

Navigating the complexities of grandparents’ visitation  in Chicago can be a daunting task, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Swietkowski & Swietkowski, P.C., you will find a compassionate and experienced family law attorney in Chicago who understands and is determined to stand by your side under all circumstances, ensuring that your voice is heard, and your rights are protected.