The state of Illinois has updated a number of laws regarding visitation rights. One of these changes that have been in effect since January 1, 2017, is House Bill 5656. This new law states that the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is now required to make a reasonable effort to accommodate and grant visitation privileges to non-custodial grandparents and/or great-grandparents of a child who is in the care and custody of the DCFS.
The Department is now responsible for specific criteria when determining whether to grant visitation, such as:
- The DCFS should try and consider whether or not the child would like to visit with their grandparent or great-grandparent.
- They should determine the child's maturity level. The child may not be able to express how they really feel if they are too young to know the entirety of the situation.
- Evaluate the overall health of the grandparent or great-grandparent. They may not be in the best shape to travel and see their grandchild.
- Consider how long each visitation will be, followed by the impact that that specific visitation would have on the child in the long run.
- The DCFS has the right to deny a request made by a grandparent for visitation after they look over the necessary criteria expressed by the court.
As the years go by, visitation laws will continue to evolve in the state of Illinois. However, one aspect of the legal system that will remain the same is the continued creation of protocols and rules that help encourage grandparents to solve visitation issues outside of the court....