Amongst the slew of new laws that went into effect on January 1st was a new statute that expands the visitation rights of non-parent family members. Formerly known as Senate Bill 2498, this law could have a significant impact on thousands of families across the state of Illinois, so if you have a question about how this law’s passage could affect your own child custody arrangement, you should consider speaking with an experienced Visitation Rights Attorney Rolling Meadows who can explain your legal options.  

When can a Non-Parent Relative Petition the Court for Visitation?

Grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and siblings are only permitted to file a petition for visitation of a child if there is evidence of an unreasonable denial of visitation by one of the child’s parents that causes undue mental, emotional, or physical harm to the child and:

    • The child’s other parent is deceased or missing;
    • The child’s other parent is incompetent;
    • One of the child’s parents has been incarcerated for at least 90 days; or
    • The child’s parents are divorced or are currently obtaining a divorce and at least one of the parties consents to the request for visitation.

Prior to the passage of this year’s amendments, these were the only circumstances under which a non-parent relative could request visitation with a child.

How Does the New Law Change Rights to Visitation?

Late last year, the Illinois Legislature made a number of important changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). One of these changes involved the visitation rights of non-parent relatives, which have been expanded by the passage of Senate Bill 2498. According to the amended law, grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and siblings are now permitted to petition the court for visitation even when the child’s other parent is not deceased, incompetent, or incarcerated. Instead, certain non-parent relatives have the option of requesting visitation with a grandchild, great-grandchild, step-child, or sibling if

    • The child’s parents are not married; and
    • The child’s parents do not reside together.

In addition to these elements, petitioners must also be able to demonstrate that the parent-child relationship has been legally established, although this is only required with respect to the parent who is related to the grandparent or great-grandparent in question. Similarly, if the petitioner is a step-parent, then the parent-child relationship only needs to be established for the parent who is married to the petitioner, or who was married to the petitioner immediately prior to death.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Dedicated Child Custody and Visitation Attorney

Custody-related matters are some of the most complex and emotional issues with which a family can grapple. No one should have to go through this experience alone, so if you have questions about how the recently enacted changes to the IMDMA could affect your own rights to visitation, please call the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 today and a member of our DuPage County legal team will help you schedule an initial consultation with a dedicated attorney who can address your concerns.