The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

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1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Posted on in Visitation

visitation lawyerMany changes occur during a divorce, including the relationships between all family members. The most common family dynamic change that is considered during a divorce is between the the spouses and children. However, divorce can also affect extended family relationships. In an effort to preserve the important bonds between children and extended family members, the state of Illinois allows visitation rights for some non-parental family members. 

Who Can Get Visitation With the Children After a Divorce?

Certain non-parents are family members that are legally recognized in Illinois as having visitation rights with children after a divorce. The state understands that other family members may spend a significant amount of time with the involved children. This can include taking care of them while the parents are at work, picking them up from school, or providing for the children's needs. If a parent is denying visitation with a non-parental figure in the child’s life, that person may be able to get visitation rights through the court. 

Individuals who may be able to seek visitation rights include:

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kane county family law attorneyIllinois formerly considered any court-sanctioned time spent with a child as “visitation,” even if it was time with the child’s parents. Now, the time that parents spend with their children is called “parenting time,” and the term “visitation” is only used when a non-parent obtains a court order allowing them to spend time with a child. 

Generally, parents have total discretion when deciding who gets to visit their children and spend time with them. However, after parents get divorced, grandparents who previously played a large role in a child’s life may find themselves suddenly shut out. When this happens, it is possible to petition the court for the right to visit that child, but only when certain circumstances are met. 

Who Can Petition For a Right to Visit a Child in Illinois? 

Grandparents are not the only non-parental figures who can petition for the right to visit the child. Great-grandparents, step-parents, and siblings can also request the right to spend time with a child. Any person who is requesting visitation must prove the following: 

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Aurora divorce attorney assisting visitation

After your divorce is finalized, it is still important for your children to have a good relationship with both parents. As such, you should try to make the best out of each visit with your kids. If you make each visit fun and productive, it will benefit everyone. Here are some dos and don'ts of visitation with your children.

Do

  • Arrive on time. While being late every once in a while is one thing, frequently arriving tardy to visits with your children is not good. Show your ex and children that you respect them by coming to your visits on time. If you know you are going to be late, let your ex know immediately.

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North Aurora divorce attorney visitation

When a couple has made the decision that it is time to divorce, it can be a difficult process for the entire family. There are many things that the couple will need to adjust to, but there are also many things that the family members will need to adapt to as well. One of the biggest changes that is often difficult for many families is dealing with change in the day-to-day life of the child. Child custody, now referred to as parenting time, is allocated to each parent, typically in an equal or near-equal manner. In some cases, though not always, individuals other than the child’s parents are able to petition for visitation rights with the child.

Individuals Permitted to File a Petition for Visitation

Not everyone is legally entitled to visitation rights with a child. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are only specific people who are able to submit a petition for visitation. These people can include step-parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or siblings of the child. Visitation will only be given to non-parents if the petitioner can successfully argue that the child’s well-being has been negatively affected by the denial of the visitation and that the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health has suffered because of it. A non-parent can file for visitation if the child’s parent unreasonably denies visitation and at least one of the following situations is true:

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parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysA divorced, separated, or unmarried parent should never feel like a stranger in the life of his or her child. For many parents, however, that was often their reality as Illinois—like many states—used to refer to their time with their children as “visitation.” A parent who is seen as a “visitor,” rather than integral part of the child’s life, could experience a variety of problems, including a lack of parental authority and the appearance of not being fully committed to his or her child’s best interests.

Last year, however, an amended law took effect which proved that Illinois lawmakers recognized the struggles of many divorced parents. The new law was an effort to “level the playing field” so to speak between parents with different levels of parental responsibilities.

Visitation Is Now Parenting Time

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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