Illinois Family Law: Grandparent, Sibling and Step-Parent Visitation

Rincker Law Family/Matrimonial Law Leave a Comment

Grandparent, great-grandparents, siblings, or step-parents can bring a petition for visitation and electronic communication (i.e., face to face time and electronic-based time) for a child one year of age or older if the denial of visitation by the parent causes harm to the child’s mental, physical or emotional health and if one of the following exists:

(A) the child’s other parent is deceased or has been missing for at least 90 days; or

(B) a parent of the child is incompetent as a matter of law; or

(C) a parent has been incarcerated in jail or prison for a period in excess of 90 days immediately prior to the filing of the petition; or

(D) the child’s parents have been granted a dissolution of marriage or have been legally separated from each other and at least one parent does not object to the grandparent, great-grandparent, step-parent, or sibling having visitation with the child; or

(E) the child is born to parents who are not married to each other, the parents are not living together, and the petitioner is a grandparent, great-grandparent, step-parent, or sibling of the child, and parentage has been established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Additionally, the court should also consider the following factors in assessing the bond between the child and the petitioner:

(A) whether the child resided with the petitioner for at least 6 consecutive months with or without a parent present;

(B) whether the child had frequent and regular contact or visitation with the petitioner for at least 12 consecutive months; and

(C) whether the grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, or step-parent was a primary caretaker of the child for a period of not less than 6 consecutive months within the 24-month period immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding.

See 750 ILCS 602.9(c).

In summary, the grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, or step-parents must show that the child has formed strong relationships with them and that severing those ties will harm the child.

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