Illinois law states that the both of a child’s parents are entitled, at the very least, to a reasonable amount of time with the child unless the court finds that visits would be dangerous to the child (physically, mentally, emotionally or otherwise). However, the only other familial relations that are even granted standing (permission) to apply for visitation rights are grandparents, great-grandparents, stepparents, and siblings (including step-siblings).
Grandparents, stepparents, and siblings may petition the court to be granted visitation with a minor child, but they are only likely to be successful in certain situations. Even if a child has lived with them or been close with them for a long time, these family members are not entitled to visitation as a matter of law. The two situations in which these select non-parents are most likely to be granted visitation rights are (1) if one or both parents of the minor child have been missing for at least three months, or are deceased or otherwise incompetent; and (2) if the child’s parents are not living together, either on a permanent or indefinite basis. To establish a case for visitation being permitted, non-parents must establish that the parent’s decision to deny visitation is “unreasonable” and that the child has suffered or will suffer harm as a result of that decision. This is, as one might guess, very difficult to establish.OK
Aunts, uncles and other family members that may once have been close to the child have no standing to even apply for visitation privileges. Their ability to see the child in question is entirely left to the judgment of the parent or legal guardian.
Guardians and Foster Parents
Despite what may be months and years living with and taking care of a child, non-parent guardians or foster parents may be forced to return a child to his or birth parents. This could happen for a number of reasons, including the birth parents revoking their consent to the guardianship. When this happens, the former guardians or foster parents have no virtually no chance of obtaining visitation rights without the consent of the birth parents, regardless of the previous relationship with the child. It is possible to seek a reinstatement of the guardianship, but unless the court finds the birth parents to be unfit, the likelihood of success is rather low.
Professional Help Can Make the Difference
If you are in a position where you believe your visitation rights are being unfairly curtailed, there may be hope. The experienced Kane County family law attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. are well-versed in the intricacies of the law on these matters. We are ready, willing and able to put our knowledge to work for you. Your first consultation is free. Contact us today.