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Do Illinois Courts Recognize Visitation Rights for Non-Parents?

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oak brook family law attorneyIn today’s society, we see all types of blended families. There are often many different people who are involved in the raising of a child, including stepparents and grandparents. Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon for there to be a change in familial circumstances and because of the wishes of the child’s biological parents or other legal issues, these adults find themselves shut out of the child’s life. In some circumstances, they may have legal recourse under Illinois law.

Visitation and Blood Relatives

Under current Illinois law, a non-custodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court determines visits would be determinantal or dangerous to the child’s wellbeing. The only other familial relations that the law recognizes as having a right to apply for visitation are grandparents and siblings (including stepsiblings).  

In order to obtain legal visitation rights, the grandparent or sibling needs to petition the court for visitation. However, the law does have stringent limitations under which those visitations can be granted, regardless of prior living situations or relationships the child had with the adult who is filing the petition:

  • One or both parents of the child are deceased, legally incompetent, or has been missing for a minimum of three months.

  • Visitation is being denied because the child’s parents are no longer living together. The petitioner must prove that the prohibiting of visitation is “unreasonable” and will cause the child to suffer harm.

Visitation and Stepparents

According to national statistics, more than half of people in this country will find themselves as part of a blended family at some point in their life. A blended family is one where one or both spouses have children from a prior relationship. Now, instead of just one or both biological parents in charge of their upbringing, a child has stepparents involved, as well.

However, with the divorce rate for second and subsequent marriages at more than 60 percent, it should come as no surprise that many stepparents suddenly find themselves locked out of their stepchild’s life – despite what may have been years of living with and taking care of that child. Unfortunately, Illinois law recognizes the rights of stepparents under very limited circumstances. The child’s biological parent must either be disabled enough that they are unable to care for the child or have died. Otherwise, the law’s presumption is that the parent can care for their child without any involvement of the stepparent.

Contact a DuPage County Family Lawyer

If you have been involved in a child’s life and believe you are being unfairly denied visitation to that child, there may be legal options for you, despite the limits of Illinois law. Call Botti Marinaccio, LTD. at 630-575-8585 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our dedicated Hinsdale, IL visitation attorneys.




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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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