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John O. Walsh, Attorney
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Our attorneys have extensive experience, knowledge and skill obtaining Grandparents' Rights to visitation with grandchild(ren). Grandparents' visitation rights are considered pursuant to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Section 607. Courts acknowledge a parent's fundamental rights to raise his or her child and to make decisions concerning the child free from State intervention, absent a showing of harm or threat of harm to the child's mental, emotional, moral and physical well-being and safety. Court ordered grandparent visitation is necessary when the grandparents have or had a close and nurturing relationship with the grandchild and the parent ceased the visitation or relationship causing the child to suffer harm to the child's well-being, as described above. This often happens when a parent has used the grandparent to assist with the raising or care of his or her child and when the parent is rehabilitated or otherwise moves on with his or her life, that parent abruptly ceases the relationship between the child and the grandparents. In other circumstances, the primary custodial parent dies and the other parent takes control and denies access to the child by the grandparents who have established a close relationship with the child and the denial of access is harmful to the child's well-being as described above.
Grandparents' Rights also involves guardianship of a grandchild (See Guardianship Section) and grandparent(s) seeking custody of a child. For custody, the grandparents or stepparent first have to establish standing under Section 601 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. To obtain standing, the grand-parent(s) or stepparent must prove by clear and convincing evidence that there has been a voluntary relinquishment of the child(ren) by the parent, which is not simply in whose possession the child is in at a given time but requires a showing that the parent intended the grandparent to keep the child permanently.? When one of the parents is deceased, a grandparent(s) or stepparent of third party must show that either the surviving parent had been absent from the marital abode for more than one month without the deceased spouse knowing his or her whereabouts, the surviving parent was in State of Federal Custody, the surviving parent had (i) received supervision for or been convicted of any violation of Article 12 of the Criminal Code of 1961 directed towards the deceased parent of the child or (ii) received supervision, or been convicted of violating an order of protection for the protection of the deceased parent or the child. The issue of standing is intensely fact-based and must be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Once standing has been established, the Courts look to the best interests of the grandchild, stepchild, or third party. This is where the grandparent or stepparent or third party can present evidence that the parent or surviving parent is either unfit, or in accordance with standards in Section 602 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, that it is in the best interests of the minor grandchild that the grandparent(s) or stepparent be awarded custody.
The Law Firm of Wendy R. Morgan can assist you to pursue your Illinois legal Grandparents' Rights and Illinois legal Stepparent's Rights. The continuation of the relationship with your beloved grandchild(ren) or stepchildren is essential. With over 30 years of experience our knowledgeable and skilled attorneys are ready to assist you.
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