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When Are Visitation Rights Awarded to a Non-Parent in Illinois?

 Posted on February 12,2020 in Illinois Divorce

Kane County family law attorneyA divorce can be difficult for a child to process. His or her world changes dramatically when the family unit as he or she knew it is no longer intact. Moving out of the marital home and into a new residence may be a challenging adjustment for any child, especially if he or she is living part time with both parents

According to Illinois law, parenting time (visitation) is determined based on several factors if the parents cannot come to their own arrangement. Depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities, one parent may have the majority of the time with the child once the divorce is final. However, there may be other family members who wish to see the child on a regular basis. In certain situations, other relatives such as grandparents or aunts and uncles may be awarded visitation rights. There are specific conditions that may warrant this scenario.      

Best Interest Considerations

Unlike parents, other immediate or extended family members typically do not have the presumed legal right to visitation, even if the child lived with them for a period of time or has a close personal relationship with them. However, depending on the circumstances, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling may have been denied visitation. This is common in contentious divorces, where a bitter spouse does not want the child to spend time with the other parent’s family. In these cases, those family members may file a request with the court asking to modify an existing visitation order

The additional relatives can make visitation a request in any one of the following situations:

  • The other child’s parent in question is deceased or has been missing for at least three months.
  • One or both of the child’s parents are declared legally incompetent.
  • One or both parents have been in prison for at least three months prior to the petition for visitation.
  • The child’s parents are going through a divorce and one parent does not challenge the visitation.
  • The child was born outside of marriage and the petitioner is a sibling or grandparent (after legal paternity is established).

It is important to note that visitation can be in-person visits, but it can also be virtual interaction, such as through FaceTime, Skype, or other video-calling platforms. This is convenient, especially when relatives live far apart. Many parents are likely to consent to expanded visitation like this if the child can remain with them while communicating electronically with extended family members. Ultimately, the court will issue a visitation order if it determines that visitation is in the best interests of the child

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Parenting time and visitation rights are determined with the best interests of the child in mind in an Illinois divorce. At the competent law firm of Weiler & Associates, Inc., we understand how important it is for a child to maintain a relationship with family members even after his or her parents split. Our qualified and compassionate St. Charles parenting time attorney will keep your child’s well-being as a priority when helping you create a parenting plan. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 630-331-9110.


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