Tag Archives: grandparent rights

Illinois custody lawyer, Illinois family attorneyThe adage that it “takes a village to raise a child” is making a comeback with limitations. Children learn an enormous amount of information and behaviors from their parents and guardians, but as they grow, children begin to watch the world around them. The truth is, to become well-rounded and functioning adults, children need guidance from positive adult role models around them. Naturally, the group of most trusted individuals remains within the family. When a couple is married or in a domestic partnership, the children involved often have two family trees. Deep-rooted bonds form, occasionally stronger than even that of the parent-child bond. If the marriage comes to an end resulting in a divorce those ties do not break, nor are they forgotten. However, all-too-often the divorce and child custody battles raise the question of the rights of the other family members for visitation of the child.

The Situation Example

In many single family homes, a marriage dissolution comes about due to irreconcilable differences, basically meaning that there is something detrimental that exists within the union that is irreparable. Most cases result in some agreement either handed down by a judge or determined between two agreeing parties. Consider, however, the situation in which one party is volatile, and the family runs from the home in the dark of the night to avoid negative repercussions. Often restraining orders begin for the safety of the lives involved. If due to the circumstances, a judge determines the parent in which the injunction is against should not have visitation rights to their child, the primary link to that side of the family may be lost. Grandparents and other family members often worry that they may lose legal rights to see the children.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois child custody lawyerFor most people, the grandparent/grandchild relationship is considered a welcoming one that binds the family together and is often recognized as a deep relationship in extension of our parents. Those lucky enough to still have a grandmother or grandfather realize just how influential they are to the development of one’s sense of self. They provide refuge from a parental disagreement, can voice their opinions without retribution, step in the parental role often due to divorce and can offer that huge hug when things are not going well. In essence, a grandparent plays a significant role on who we become in adulthood no matter the circumstances.

For as important the role of grandparents is, currently there is not an official estimate of how many grandparents inhabit the United States today. At last estimate, the number was approximately 56 million. This estimate, derived from a 1965 study by Bernice Neugarten of the University of Chicago, a leading gerontologist or her time, established the five different types of grandparenting styles that are still relevant today.

The Formal Grandparent

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child custody, Illinois, divorce, children of divorce, Illinois child custody lawyerDivorce is never an easy process. Spouses who have decided to go through with a divorce cite reasons including infidelity, finances, or just plain old irreconcilable differences. Whatever the reason for the split, the effect of the divorce is rarely felt solely by those that call each other spouse. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry states that one in two marriages today end in divorce, many of them being families that include children. Unavoidably, this brings up the unpleasant issue of child custody. Unfortunately, sometimes this topic is used as a weapon in one spouse’s attempt to harm the other. When parents cannot agree on where the children will live, courts refer to statutes and case law for guidance.

Custody Awarded Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act

 Child custody proceedings are automatically commenced when a parent files a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, or simply a petition for custody. A stepparent or a grandparent can also start child custody proceedings in very specific circumstances, usually involving the incapacity or death of the custodial parent.

 The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act identifies factors affecting the award of child custody. When the court decides custody, they will make a determination to serve the best interests of the child. Relevant factors that the court takes into consideration include the wishes of the child’s parents, the wishes of the child, the child’s interactions, the child’s adjustment, the parties’ health, the presence of violence or abuse, and the parties’ cooperation.

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