For grandparents, it is often true that there is no greater joy in life than spending time with grandchildren. Especially during the holidays, having one’s grandchildren around can be highly enjoyable and rewarding. The opposite can also be true: when grandchildren aren’t around during the holiday season, grandparents may experience feelings of sadness or loneliness.
Many grandparents wonder whether or not they have a right to holiday visits with their grandchildren. Consider this overview of the topic, and call our family law attorneys for more information that is specific to your situation–
Parents Are the Ultimate Decision-Makers
Unfortunately for grandparents in Illinois, grandparents have no inherent right to spend time with their grandchildren during the holidays. Instead, the decision ultimately lies with the parents. If parents want to bring the kids over to grandma and grandpa’s for a holiday celebration, they are welcome to; if they do not, they maintain the right to not do so.
Are There Any Exceptions to this General Rule?
In some cases, grandparents maintain the right to petition the court for visitation with a grandchild if visitation is being denied. In order for the court to consider whether or not a grandparent has the right to visitation with their grandchild, there are a number of criteria that must be satisfied. One of the following must be true:
- One parent of the child has died or is missing;
- One parent has been declared incompetent or is in prison;
- The parents are divorced, and one parent is in favor of visitation (if both parents are opposed, the grandparent does not have the right to visitation); or
- The parents do not live together, and the child was born out of wedlock.
If any of the above are true, the grandparent may petition the court for visitation under certain circumstances. A court will make a determination about visitation based on the preferences of the child (if the child is of an appropriate age to articulate such a preference), the relationship between the grandparent and the child, the grandparent’s good faith in seeking visitation, and the effect that granting or denying visitation will have on the wellbeing of the child.
Your Options When Holiday Visitation Is Denied
If you are a grandparent in Illinois and your child or child-in-law is denying your visitation with your grandchild over the holidays, our lawyers recommend beginning by having an honest and open conversation with your grandchild’s parent about visitation. Sometimes, having a conversation about how important spending time with your grandchild is, especially during the holiday season, can result in a concession.
If the adult in question refuses to budge, you may have the right to petition the court for visitation. The best thing for you to do is ask for a case review from a qualified family law attorney familiar with grandparents’ rights cases.
Call the Office of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. Today
To schedule a consultation with our Naperville grandparents’ rights lawyers, please call us today or send us a message. We serve clients throughout the state and can provide you with the legal advice you need.