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Illinois Grandparents Rights

Statutes Revised in 2005 and 2007

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Illinois grandparents' rights

Illinois has detailed and exacting laws about grandparent visitation.

Image © State of Illinois

Following the U.S. Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville, the Illinois state statutes concerning grandparent visitation rights were declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court. Following legislation passed in 2005 and 2007, grandparents once more have legal rights to sue for visitation under certain circumstances. These circumstances include parents not living with one another, an absent parent, a deceased parent or a parent joining the grandparent's petition. In the case of a child born out of wedlock, paternity must be established before the paternal grandparents may be allowed visitation. Visitation is also not allowed if the parents surrender the child to any party other than a foster care service or the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. To bring the Illinois statutes in line with Troxel v. Granville, the law includes a provision that the burden is on the grandparent or other petitioner to prove that the parent's decision to bar visitation is harmful to the child's mental, physical, or emotional health. In addition, the law specifies that there must have been an "unreasonable" denial of visitation.

The Illinois statutes also apply to great-grandparents and siblings. Adoption cuts off the legal rights of the grandparents unless the adoption is by a stepparent.

The Illinois statutes are quite long and complex and contain several other stipulations. See Illinois statutes.

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