Grandmother playing with granddaughter on couch. Grandmother playing with granddaughter.

Rockford Divorce Lawyer James Teeter

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Grandparent Rights Lawyer and Grandparent Visitation Attorney

When parents break up, divorce, or are legally separated, the circumstances can have far-reaching ramifications. Often, doting grandparents can be affected by such changes, as their time and relationships with their grandchildren are limited or restricted.

As an experienced Illinois grandparent rights lawyer and visitation attorney, I understand how vital grandparents can be to the quality of a child’s life – and, conversely, how grandchildren can enrich their lives as well.

At Rockford Family Law, we have help grandparents to protect and preserve their relationships with their grandchildren. It can be challenging to secure custody or visitation rights for grandparents, however, as there are no federal laws establishing grandparent visitation rights.

Fortunately, Illinois grandparents have limited legal rights to visit with their grandchildren, and we understand the unique differences between these cases and those involving a mother’s or father’s rights. If you are interested in pursuing visitation or custody of a grandchild, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation today to learn about your legal options.

Grandparents' Rights FAQs

Depending on the particular circumstances, Illinois grandparents may have a limited legal right to visit a grandchild, especially in the event of a divorce.

After a child turns one year old, a grandparent may petition an Illinois family court to establish court-ordered visitation. Visitation may be granted under the following circumstances:

  • A parent is declared legally unfit or incompetent;
  • A parent is incarcerated for three months or longer;
  • A parent is deceased or has abandoned a child for three months or longer;
  • A couple is divorced, and one party agrees to a grandparent’s visitation; or
  • A child is born out of wedlock, and the parents do not reside together.

When making such determinations, the most significant factor courts consider is what is in the best interests of the child.

A parent can prohibit a grandparent from seeing a child if it is against the child’s best interests. In Illinois grandparent rights cases, the party seeking visitation must prove that a child’s quality of life is adversely impacted by the absence of a relationship with the grandparent. This burden of proof can entail consideration of many factors, including:

  • A grandchild’s preference;
  • A grandparent’s intentions in seeking visitation or custody;
  • Whether denial of parenting time is being made in good faith;
  • The closeness of the grandchild-grandparent relationship;
  • Whether visitation may have a negative impact on a child’s regular activities;
  • Whether a child lived with a grandparent (or they were the primary caretaker of the child) for a minimum of six months;
  • The frequency of contact with a grandparent for at least one year;
  • The physical and mental health of the adolescent; and
  • The physical and mental health of the grandparent(s).

Grandparents may be able to obtain custody of a grandchild under two different scenarios. First, both parents can voluntarily relinquish their parental responsibilities and rights for a variety of reasons, such as mental health and substance abuse issues. Conversely, many young parents voluntarily forgo their parental rights so a grandparent can legally adopt and care for a child.

Grandparents may also be awarded custody of a grandchild if the parents are abusing or neglecting the child. In these cases, the Department of Children and Family Services may intervene to remove a child from an abusive home. If there is no chance of awarding custody to a biological parent, a grandparent may seek permanent legal guardianship through a private subsidized guardianship.

It can be challenging to secure visitation rights with a child that was put up for adoption. Generally, adoption severs ties between a child and biological family members, including grandparents. Further, any existing visitation orders entered before an adoption will automatically terminate upon the finalization of an adoption.

In the case of a stepparent adoption, obtaining grandparent visitation rights can also be difficult. However, in the event of a stepparent adoption, a grandparent may be granted visitation if he or she petitions the court and demonstrates that restricting access to the child would cause harm.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with Grandparents’ Rights Attorney James Teeter, Jr.

As an experienced Illinois family law attorney, James Teeter, Jr. can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously pursue a favorable outcome that seeks to protect your relationship with a grandchild or grandchildren. Call today to learn more about pursuing court-ordered visitation or custody.

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Attorney James O. Teeter, Jr. speaking with client. Attorney James O. Teeter, Jr. speaking with client.

Family Law Attorney James O. Teeter Jr.
With 25+ Years of Legal Experience
is Here to Represent You!

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$199 CONSULTATION

(1.5 Hrs.) One Hour for $199 + 30-Minutes FREE with No-Obligation | In-Person, by Zoom or by Phone
In-Depth Discussion of Your Specific Situation and Potential Strategy | Or

Type of Case:
Illinois County:
Please enter a number from 0 to 21.

Submission of information through the contact form does not create an attorney-client relationship, so please do not submit any confidential information. If we are to serve as your attorneys, all fees and the nature of our representation will be set forth in a written agreement.