There are circumstances when grandparents must assist in raising their grandchildren. This could be due to divorce, incarceration, death or other factors. You may have legal issues which require attorney involvement in these circumstances. Your grandchildren’s issues are different from when you raised your own children. Rights for grandparents are limited.
You may need to seek decision-making responsibilities and authority for the children. You might want visitation rights if your own children become divorced. Guardianship and/or parenting rights are necessary when proving the children reside with you, which may qualify you for government benefits and allow you to enroll them in school. In addition, you need to obtain medical records, birth certificates and other documents for their care.
A proceeding for allocation of parental responsibilities by a grandparent begins by filing a petition for allocation of parental responsibilities in the county in which the child is permanently resident or found, but only if he or she is not in the physical custody of one of his or her parents. VISITATION: In terms of visitation only, a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling or step-parent may petition for visitation with the child. A petition may only be filed if there has been an unreasonable denial of visitation by a parent and the denial has caused the child undue mental, physical or emotional harm. Non-parents may petition the court and request electronic visitation (telephone, email, video conferencing), in-person time and overnight time. For a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling or step-parent to have standing to file a visitation petition, the child’s parent must be deceased, missing, deemed unfit or incarcerated for a Court to award visitation to a non-parent.
In Determining Whether to Grant Visitation, the Court is Required to Consider the Following:
- the wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to visitation
the mental and physical health of the child
- the mental and physical health of the grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, or step-parent
- the length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, or step-parent
- the good faith of the party in filing the petition
- the good faith of the person denying visitation
- the quantity of the visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact that visitation would have on the child’s customary activities
- any other fact that establishes that the loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to unduly harm the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health
- whether visitation can be structured in a way to minimize the child’s exposure to conflicts between the adults.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to obtain a protective order to shield the children from an abusive parent.
The attorneys at Feinberg Sharma are known in Illinois for exemplary family law services. Our practice focuses exclusively on family and matrimonial law, making us an ideal choice for grandparents needing legal representation.
© 2019 Shannon M. Luschen for Feinberg Sharma, P.C.