As a grandparent to the children of divorced parents, seeing your grandchildren may prove to be difficult at times. To help illustrate this point, we have the case of Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Simon’s daughter, Sheryll, who has four children with Curtis. Sheryll and Curtis have been estranged for some time. Curtis is miffed with Sheryll’s family because Sheryll has found love with someone else. Because of this, Curtis has been very difficult to contact and has refused to let Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Simon visit their four grandchildren.

What does Illinois law say?

It is stated in Section 607(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act that there are circumstances in which a grandparent could petition for parenting time with their grandchildren with or without having the approval of the child’s parents. If you are a grandparent, you could petition for parenting time with your grandchild prior to a divorce being filed, after a divorce petition has been filed, or even after a divorce has been finalized. To do so, one of these requirements must be met:

  • Your grandchildren’s parents are not living together.
  • A grandchild’s parent has been absent from the marital home for more than one (1) month and his or her spouse does not know about their whereabouts.
  • One of the grandchild’s parents is deceased.
  • A parent of the grandchild petitions with you, the grandparent, to request for parenting time.

The court system shall determine if it is in the best interests of a minor child to have parenting time with their grandparents, once the petition of grandparent parenting time has been filed.

In this case, Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Simon will be able to spend time with their four minor grandchildren amidst the grumbling and protestations of Curtis with the condition that one of the requirements has been met along with the court’s findings and agreement that allowing the grandparents parenting time is in the best interests of the minor children. The schedule of grandparent parenting time – the days, time, and duration of each visit will be determined by the court, taking into consideration the best interests of the grandchildren.

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