Do grandparents have visitation rights?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Divorce |

Grandparents play a vital role in a child’s life, offering love, support and cherished memories. But what happens when the child’s parents divorce? Will you still have the right to spend time with your grandchildren?

In some states, grandparents do not have automatic rights to see their grandchildren. However, the law provides a path for grandparents to seek court-ordered visitation if they meet certain conditions.

When courts grant visitation rights to grandparents

In Illinois, courts prioritize the child’s best interests when making decisions about visitation. Grandparents who demonstrate the following may increase their chances of obtaining visitation rights:

  • A healthy preexisting relationship: This includes evidence of regular and loving interactions with the child before any conflict. Typically, the court checks the consistency of your presence in their lives. Were you there for birthdays, holidays and school activities?
  • Potential harm due to denied visitation: The court considers whether the lack of interaction with grandparents would negatively impact the child’s emotional well-being. If your involvement nurtures a positive environment for your grandchild, the judge might view you as a necessary source of stability and support.

While parents do not have absolute authority to deny visitation, the court gives their wishes significant weight. The court will consider their preference if the child is old enough to express a clear and reasonable opinion on the visitation.

Seeking visitation rights

If attempts to agree with the parents fail, you may pursue court-ordered visitation. You may seek legal professionals who may help you understand the complexities of the process, as it involves filing a petition with the court, handling paperwork and gathering evidence to support your case. While the entire procedure may be emotionally taxing, it is a way of fostering a continued connection between you and your grandchildren.