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3 Important Considerations for Grandparents Seeking Rights in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

McHenry County grandparents rights attorneyWhether you are a divorced parent with questions about your parents or in-laws and their involvement with your child, or you are a grandparent looking to ensure that your grandchildren are raised in the best possible environment, concerns about grandparent rights are understandable. Family changes often affect more than just the immediate family, and it is important for everyone to understand their rights and how they can support the children’s best interests.

What Rights am I Entitled to as a Grandparent?

Nearly 8 million children live with their grandparents throughout the United States, including more than 2.6 million children living in homes where the grandparents are the primary heads of household. Grandparents who serve as primary caregivers often have certain rights regarding the children, as well as options for financial assistance. Even if you are not the primary caregiver, you have the option to pursue certain rights as a grandparent in the wake of a divorce or separation in your family. Here are some important things to be aware of as grandparents:

1. Custody and Guardianship

There are multiple Illinois statutes that give grandparents options for custody and guardianship of their grandchildren. For example, the Illinois Probate Act gives you the option to seek guardianship, rather than custody, of your grandchild. The child’s parents must voluntarily allow this, and they remain financially responsible for the child, so you may receive child support in this case. You also have the option to request custody and authority for most decision making for the child under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, provided that the parents consent. Adoption, through which a grandparent acquires full parental rights, is an option when the parents are no longer living, or when there is cause for the termination of parental rights due to neglect, abuse, or other serious complications. 

2. Medical Insurance

If you are granted custody of your grandchild, you might wonder how you will help take care of their health. It is possible that your employer-provided health insurance plan will allow benefits for any dependents you care for. There is also a Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) "child only" grant that allows the child to qualify for Medicaid. Also, under the Illinois KidCare program, your grandchild might be eligible for health care coverage if you are low-income. 

3. Visitation

Most visitation arrangements for grandparents can be made between all respective parties without much conflict. However, Illinois does not consider grandparent visitation a right, and if there is tension between the parents and grandparents or you are experiencing constant disagreements, it is wise to speak with an attorney to explore your options. Depending on the circumstances, grandparents might be able to obtain visitation privileges even if the parents attempt to limit them.

Contact a Crystal Lake Family Law Attorney

If you are concerned about your custody rights as a grandparent or you are a divorcing parent with questions about grandparent rights, contact an experienced McHenry County family law attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC to discuss your situation and available options. Call 815-338-3838 for a free consultation today.






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