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The Other Victims in Divorce

 Posted on June 10, 2012 in Child Custody

When a couple decides to dissolve their marriage, the children are often referred to as ‘victims' of the divorce, especially if there is a lot of acrimony between the parents. Custody fights, child support and other co-parenting issues can leave a child feeling as if he or she is caught in the middle of a war zone.

Frequently, especially in the circumstances of the non-custodial parent getting behind or refusing to pay child support, the custodial parent withholds visitation. This not only adversely affects the child, but may also affect the grandparents as well. They are no longer able to see or spend time with their grandchild.

There may also be siblings involved. If the non-custodial parent has other children, they too are no longer able to spend time with their brother or sister. The withholding of visitation can truly have a ripple effect on the whole family.

However, Illinois law does allow grandparents and siblings to petition the court for visitation rights with the child if there is an unreasonable denial of visitation. According the law, one of the following situations must also be present:

  • The non-custodial parent is deceased or has been missing for a minimum of three months.
  • A parent has been legally declared incompetent.
  • A parent has been jailed or incarcerated for at least three months prior to the petition being filed.
  • The marriage has already been dissolved or is currently in the process and there is at least one parent who does not object to the visitation petition.
  • The child was born out of wedlock, parents are not living together and the petitioner is either a maternal or paternal grandparent or sibling of the child and the paternity has been established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The court will consider many other factors when considering whether visitation should be granted. If you are being denied time with your grandchild or sibling because the custodial parent is not allowing you any access, consult with an experienced Wheaton, Illinois attorney who can help navigate you through what can be a very complicated procedure.

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