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Non-biological Parent and Grandparent Visitation Rights

Obtaining Child Custody if You Are Not a Biological Parent

Although the acknowledgment of non-biological parents’ rights is greater than before, the difficulty of obtaining custody as a non-biological parent continues to be an uphill battle. The Courts tend to focus on the fundamental rights of parents to care for their children and make clear that non-biological parents do not have this right.

In certain situations, other parties, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, may be able to obtain custody of a child under specific circumstances such as: (1) parental abuse or neglect; (2) parent involved in criminal activity or incarcerated; or (3) upon agreement of the parents. Under the first situation, parental abuse or neglect, if a biological parent is abusing or neglecting their child, it is possible for a non-biological parent to explain to the court why they may be the best guardian for the child under these circumstances. Second, when a parent is involved in criminal activity or is incarcerated, the child is in a dangerous situation. This makes it conceivable that the court will consider a non-parent if that seems to be a less damaging environment for the child. Finally, the courts will generally give custody to a non-biological parent or extend visitation rights of a non-biological parents so long as both parents agree to this.

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

In the state of Illinois, grandparents can get visitation rights with grandchildren under specific circumstances. For a grandparent who has had a valuable relationship and has kept in regular contact with his or her grandchild that has been unreasonably denied visitation has the option to request reasonable visitation rights.

However it is important to keep in mind the importance of timing in the determination of grandparent visitation. It is true once custody has been decided, whether it was upon agreement or decided by the court, grandparents will be unable to seek visitation.

To keep the loving relationship with your grandchild intact, it is important that you reach out to one of our licensed attorney’s promptly early so they can find a way for the best interests of you and grandchild to be met.

Have questions? Contact us about working together.

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