Grandparent Visitation in Illinois

Illinois has a grandparent visitation statute that should meet the constitutional challenge. That’s because it has a much stricter test for grandparent visitation than its predecessor.

The new law took effect January 1, and it requires that grandparents, great-grandparents and siblings can be granted visitation only if they show an “unreasonable denial of visitation” by one of the child’s parents and that this is “harmful to the child’s mental, physical or emotional health.”

The statute makes a rebuttable presumption that a fit parent’s actions and decisions are not harmful, so it clearly imposes on the grandparent the burden of proving harm. And it removes all hope for ordering visitation if both parents oppose it.

The statute appears at § 750 ILCS 5/607.

3 comments

  1. No Rights 4 GP's says:

    Hey Illinois, the next step to challenge this stupid law that some cronie legislature passes
    because of AARP, or others is to claim that BOTH parents have Equal Protection, if one is
    deceased, and the other is Troxel V Granville, along with your own State Constitution, and
    the Right To Privacy. Grandparents have NO RIGHTS because of some idiotic legislature. Parent have a Fundamental Right to raise their children, WITHOUT interference from the state. When are those idiot grandparents goint ot realize this?
    Parents have a fundamental right to autonomy in child-rearing decisions,” this “liberty” interest is protected as a matter of substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. It is not within the province of the state to make significant decisions concerning the custody of children merely because it could make a better’ decision than the parent.
    The Legislature is NOT ABOVE THE CONSTITUTION of the Untited States. There is a difference, both in constitutional rights and responsibility of Parents, and “Third Parties” Why would grandparents want to deprive their children of the same fundamental right to parenting that they enjoyed, when they were rearing their own children?
    There is no constitutionally-based fundamental liberty interest afforded to grandparents. No matter what the Legislature tries to do. The Supremem Court already ruled that Parents have a fundamental right to rearing their children, so this new law will not pass constitutional muster, as you call it. If they have a fundamental right, then how can you take that away??????? Because of a burden of proving harm??? You are out of your mind. If my child says they want a car, and I say no would that be considered harm, if everyone else in their school had a car, but your child did not? What is the threshold of proving “burden of proving harm” is it what the judge says? What is harm? Seems like the Legislature is already siding with GP’s, and saying that if they don’t get to visit with GP’s that constitutes harm. For the state to delegate to the parents the authority to raise the child as the parents see fit, except when the state thinks another choice would be better, is to give the parents no authority at all. “You may do whatever you choose, so long as it is what I would choose also” does not constitute a delegation of authority. The state simply has no interest in acting on behalf of a third party to veto a fit parent’s judgment concerning with whom his/her children should spend time. When this goes before the Supreme court yet again, it will be struck down. Some “Crafty” lawyer will make sure of it, especially one who is a parent. Grandparents who use the Legislature to play GOD with their children to control them, will get what’s coming to them.

  2. Third Party says:

    Hey Illinois, the next step to challenge this stupid law that some cronie legislature passes
    because of AARP, or others is to claim that BOTH parents have Equal Protection, if one is
    deceased, and the other is Troxel V Granville, along with your own State Constitution, and
    the Right To Privacy. Grandparents have NO RIGHTS because of some idiotic legislature. Parent have a Fundamental Right to raise their children, WITHOUT interference from the state. When are those idiot grandparents goint ot realize this?
    Parents have a fundamental right to autonomy in child-rearing decisions,” this “liberty” interest is protected as a matter of substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. It is not within the province of the state to make significant decisions concerning the custody of children merely because it could make a better’ decision than the parent.
    The Legislature is NOT ABOVE THE CONSTITUTION of the Untited States. There is a difference, both in constitutional rights and responsibility of Parents, and “Third Parties” Why would grandparents want to deprive their children of the same fundamental right to parenting that they enjoyed, when they were rearing their own children?
    There is no constitutionally-based fundamental liberty interest afforded to grandparents. No matter what the Legislature tries to do. The Supremem Court already ruled that Parents have a fundamental right to rearing their children, so this new law will not pass constitutional muster, as you call it. If they have a fundamental right, then how can you take that away??????? Because of a burden of proving harm??? You are out of your mind. If my child says they want a car, and I say no would that be considered harm, if everyone else in their school had a car, but your child did not? What is the threshold of proving “burden of proving harm” is it what the judge says? What is harm? Seems like the Legislature is already siding with GP’s, and saying that if they don’t get to visit with GP’s that constitutes harm. For the state to delegate to the parents the authority to raise the child as the parents see fit, except when the state thinks another choice would be better, is to give the parents no authority at all. “You may do whatever you choose, so long as it is what I would choose also” does not constitute a delegation of authority. The state simply has no interest in acting on behalf of a third party to veto a fit parent’s judgment concerning with whom his/her children should spend time. When this goes before the Supreme court yet again, it will be struck down. Some “Crafty” lawyer will make sure of it, especially one who is a parent. Grandparents who use the Legislature to play GOD with their children to control them, will get what’s coming to them.

  3. VICTIMIZED PARENT says:

    What groups such as AARP do not realize is that they are causeing more stress on the grandchildren by creating this such legislation than what there would be if there was a refusal of visitation. I am a parent who is being taken to court because a “grandparent” thinks that my child is being hurt by NOT having a relationship with her. My child does not even know who this woman is! In my denial to have this petition dismissed I was told “I needed to speak with pastor because I am morally wrong for denying visitation.” It is assumed that grandparents are loving, sweet, in the kitchen baking cookies type of people. While this is true for some it is not the majority. The woman who is trying to tell a court that I am unfit (because in order for her to win, that is in essence what has to happen)is out running the bars, taking drugs ( which I can not prove but know to be fact as I have witnessed it) saying nasty things about me and my parenting ability, and with her son caused severe emotional and mental harm( again can not be proven he is deceased). I on the other hand while not perfect- because no one is- try to do everything the best I can for my child. I am involved in the community, school district, and even though I am a single parent am able to provide well for my child. What AARP argue is that children can benefit greatly from a relationship with grandparents – which I agree is true when that relationship is loving and beneficial to the child. I do not however believe that a judge in any court would know what is best for my child based on a presumption. Back to the belief that this is causing undue stress on my child. I am trying to keep my spirits up, but when faced with THOUSANDS of dollars worth of lawyers bills, the social stigma that I am an unfit or bad parent because of the presumption that the grandparents deserve a relationship with my child, and the stress over what if’s, What if I lose and my daughter is forced to be with a person she does not even know. A person I know to be unstable emotionally and physically. A person who will do her best to tell my daughter how she feels I am a terrible person and mother. Now what kind of relationship is that going to cause between me and my child? Not only that but just having to deal with this whole mess is causing stress, as much as I try to avoid it. My child has wonderful relationships with her maternal grandparents and her paternal grandfather and step-grandmother. Lawmakers need to stop and think about what kind of havoc they are forcing on families. Had the petitioner attempted to create a loving and caring environment and relationship with me and my child then none of this would be happening but she didn’t now she is going to use the court system to ruin my and my childs’ lives.

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