Getting a divorce can be tough on everyone, especially children in the divorce. Indeed, not only may children be forced to live with only one parent–potentially damaging their relationship with their other parent–but they may also lose out on the ability to live or spend time with other loved ones in their life, including siblings. Which is why it is important for siblings–or for those who are representing their interests–to understand siblings’ rights to visitation in Illinois.
Does the Law in Illinois Protect Siblings’ Rights to Visitation?
Divorce often means that siblings are separated from one another. Sometimes, one sibling will live with one parent, and the other sibling with the other parent. Other times, the siblings are related by marriage or by the blood of one parent, not both. For example, children may be biologically related to the mother, but only one child is related to a father in a divorce case. As such, the child biologically related to the father may live with him, and the other child will reside with the mother.
When siblings, even those that are not biologically related through both parents, are separated, the psychological and emotional toll can be great. Illinois’ courts recognize this, and as such provide siblings’ rights to visitation, as found in 750 ILCS 5/602.9.
What Does the Law Say?
The law reads that siblings may bring forth a petition for visitation with a child if there is an “unreasonable denial of visitation by a parent that causes undue mental, physical, or emotional harm” and:
- One parent is deceased or has been missing for at least 90 days;
- A parent is deemed incompetent under the law;
- A parent has been incarcerated for at least 91 days; or
- The parents are recently divorced or separated or there is a pending divorce case and at least one parent does not object to the sibling visitation; or
- The child is born to parents who are not married to each other or living together and the petitioner is a sibling.
In order for the right to visitation to be granted, the sibling will have to prove that visitation is within the best interests of the child.
Have You Been Denied Visitation as a Sibling?
If you are an adult sibling who has been denied visitation with your minor sibling, or if you are an adult representing a minor child who would like to see their sibling but has been denied the right to do so, it is important to consult with an experienced custody and visitation attorney familiar with Illinois law as soon as possible. At the law offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., our Illinois family law attorneys can review your case, and provide you with the legal guidance and representation you’re looking for.
To schedule a consultation with our law offices today, please call us directly or send us a message using the intake form on our website. Our office is located in Naperville, but we serve clients in the areas of Lombard, Lisle, Aurora, Downers Grove, and Wheaton as well.