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Lombard family law attorneyToday, families in the United States come in all varieties. More single parents and unmarried parents are raising children than in the past. Same-sex couples are also raising more children than they did twenty years ago. Families are often blended, with children from several relationships living together under one roof. Grandparents are also increasingly taking the place of biological parents in children’s lives. 

Voluntary Relinquishment

There are several ways that grandparents can get custody of their grandchildren. The first way is through petitioning the court for custody of the grandchildren. Both parents of the child must voluntarily relinquish their parental rights to the child unless there is another issue like abuse. Parents may give up the rights to their children for many deeply personal reasons. Sometimes addiction issues or mental health concerns make a parent unable to raise their child. Other times, very young parents relinquish their parental rights so that a grandparent or grandparents can adopt the child.

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grandparents, visitation, Lombard family law attorneysAs you raised your own children, you probably looked forward to someday becoming a grandparent. Children often treasure the relationships with their grandparents—as you most likely remember from your childhood—and there is nothing quite like time with a grandchild to brighten a grandparent’s day. Unfortunately, many family situations deteriorate so badly that grandparents are unable to continue the relationships with their grandchildren that they so greatly value. The law in Illinois, however, does provide grandparents in certain situations with at least a glimmer of hope.

Presumed Best Interest of the Child

If you, as a grandparent, are being denied access to your grandchild by your child or the other parent, the law begins with the presumption that the child’s parents have made such a decision in the child’s best interests. A parent has the right to choose who should and should not be in regular contact with his or her child, as long as such decisions are reasonable and are not causing harm to the child. If the child is being negatively affected by the lack of a relationship with you, you may be able to convince a court to grant you visitation privileges.

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