Are grandparents entitled to parenting time rights?
On August 19, 1999, the Illinois Legislature amended the provision in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act pertaining to grandparent parenting time rights. If you are a grandparent that has divorced children, you may have experienced difficulty in seeing your grandchildren. By way of example, let’s return to the friendly town of Hillbilly Village. Assume that Granny and Jed Clampett’s daughter, Ellie Mae, has three children with her estranged spouse, Billy Bob. Ellie Mae and Billy Bob have given birth to three children, Annie Mae, Fannie Mae and Danny Mae.
Billy Bob may be upset with Ellie Mae and her family, because Ellie Mae has found someone as charming and intelligent as her cousin, Jethro, to marry. Billy Bob is now being vindictive, and not allowing Granny and Jed to visit with their precious grandchildren. The question is, can Granny and Jed file a petition in Illinois requesting grandparent parenting time with their grandchildren?
Section 607(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that under certain circumstances, a grandparent can petition for parenting time with his or her grandchildren either with or without approval of their biological child. Grandparents can petition for parenting time with their grandchildren before a divorce has been filed, after a divorce has been filed, or after a divorce has been completed. One of the following requirements must be met:
- The parents of the grandchildren are not living with one another;
- One of the parents has been absent from the marital residence for more than one month without the spouse knowing his or her whereabouts;
- One of the parents is deceased; or
- One of the parents joins in the petition with the grandparent requesting grandparent parenting time.
Once a grandparent petition for parenting time has been filed, a Court will determine whether it is in the best interests and welfare of the minor children to have parenting time with their grandparents.
In summary, Granny and Jed will be permitted to visit with their grandchildren, Annie Mae, Fannie Mae and Danny Mae, over the objections of the minor children’s father, Billy Bob, so long as one of the four requirements stated above has been met, and a Court determines it is in the best interests and welfare of the minor children to visit with his or her grandparents. The days for parenting time, and duration of each visit will be determined by the Court, taking into account the minor children’s best interest and welfare.
Contact The Law Offices of Michael P. Doman with all your parenting time and grandparents rights questions.