The U. S. Census results from 2000 revealed that 2.4 million children were being raised by their grandparents. By the 2010 census, that number had more than doubled to 4.9 million. The epidemic has grown so fast that USA.gov now has a special webpage for grandparents seeking assistance with raising their grandchildren. Unfortunately, this is only one side of the spectrum. Millions of grandparents throughout the United States are denied visitation with their grandchildren due to divorce or other family issues. In recent years, the issue of grandparents’ rights has become hotly debated in Illinois and elsewhere.
Each state has its own laws regarding grandparents’ rights. Some states view grandparents’ rights to visitation as a statutory right that cannot be legally denied except by order of the court. However, Illinois has adopted the view that visitation by a child with his or her grandparent is a privilege for the grandparent and not a statutory right. This problem usually arises in cases of divorce where one parent receives sole custody of the children and denies his or her former in-laws visitation with the children.
Is there anything a grandparent can do in Illinois to obtain a court order allowing visitation with his or her grandchild?