Orland Park Non-Parent Custody Attorneys
Custody and Visitation for Non-Parents in Illinois
Most child custody disputes involve parents fighting each other for the custody arrangement they each desire. Some custody disputes involve a third party. Third party custody and visitation disputes most commonly involve grandparents who wish to assume custody of a grandchild, but other family members may also petition for custody.
At the Illinois family law firm of Kezy & Associates, we are skilled in handling all type of child custody and visitation cases. With over 25 years of experience practicing family law in Northern Illinois, we have represented clients in the full spectrum of custody and visitation matters. Our Orland Park child custody attorneys aggressively advocate for our clients’ objectives as well as the best interests of the child(ren) involved.
Custody Rights of Non-Parents in Illinois
In Illinois, as in most states, there is a “parental preference rule.” This means that when parents are fit, they are first in line for custody of their child. The law presumes that children are best served by being in the care of their parent(s).
Consequently, the court will not grant custody to a third party unless the parents are found to be unfit. A third party may challenge the fitness of a parent, however, in order to support a custody claim. Litigating this issue is typically at the heart of non-parent custody challenges.
There are many situations in which a third party such as a grandparent can successfully assert his or her custody rights, including:
- If the parent does not currently have custody of the child;
- If the parent voluntarily relinquished custody of the child;
- If the child is in physical or psychological danger while in the care of the parent;
- If the child is neglected by the parent;
- If the parent is physically or mentally incapacitated; or
- If the parent is dead.
If a grandparent or another relative has had physical custody for a long time and has established a strong parenting relationship with the child, that party may have a strong claim for custody.
Even if the child is in the custody of a parent, a third party may be able to bring a claim for visitation if it has been denied by the parents. While the court typically prefers to allow parents to make decisions about who their child visits, it is sometimes possible for family members who have a strong claim and history with a child to successfully request visitation.
If you are dealing with a custody or visitation dispute involving non-parents, contact us at (708) 518-8200 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options. Our Orland Park child custody attorneys understand how important child custody matters are, and we work closely with our clients from day one to secure a favorable outcome to your legal action. From our office in Orland Park, we provide experience skilled representation for clients throughout Will County and beyond.