Grandparent & Step-Parent Visitation Lawyers
Section 602.9 (c) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows for grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and siblings of a minor child who is one year old or older to bring a petition for visitation and electronic communication with the child if the child’s parent has unreasonably denied such visitation or electronic communication, and if such denial has caused undue mental, physical, or emotional harm to the child IF at least one of the following conditions exist:
- The child’s other parent is deceased or has been reported missing for at least 90 days;
- A parent of the child is incompetent as a matter of law;
- A parent has been incarcerated in jail or prison for at least 90 days immediately preceding the filing of the petition;
- The child’s parents are divorced or legally separated, or have such a case pending, if at least one parent does not object to such visitation, and if such visitation does not diminish the parenting time of the parent who is not related to the grandparent, great-grandparent, step-parent, or sibling seeking visitation; and,
- (i) the child is born to parents who are not married to each other;
(ii) the parents are not living together;
(iii) the petitioner is a grandparent, great-grandparent, step-parent, or sibling of the child; and,
(iv) the parent-child relationship has been legally established.
In addition to other criteria set for earlier in sub-section (b)(5) of Section 602.9 (a) (3) and (4), the court is mandated to consider:
- Whether the child resided with the petitioner for at least six consecutive months with or without a parent present;
- Whether the child had frequent and regular contact or visitation with the petitioner for at least 12 consecutive months; and,
- Whether the grandparent, great-grandparent, step-parent, or sibling was the primary caretaker of the child for a period of not less than six consecutive months within the twenty-four- month period immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THERE IS A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THAT A FIT PARENT’S ACTIONS AND DECISIONS REGARDING THE ABOVE VISITATION ARE NOT HARMFUL TO THE CHILD, AND THAT THE BURDEN OF PROVING OTHERWISE IS ON THE NON-PARENT SEEKING THE VISITATION.
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Richard and Kari are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 70 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook, DuPage, and Will counties.