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The debate over grandparents’ rights

Whether it is due to a divorce or an estrangement within the family, sometimes grandparents are not given the right to see their grandchildren. States and even the federal government have spoken out on this issue, including Illinois. However, there is a debate between those who feel grandparents should have rights to visitation with grandchildren and those who feel it should be left up to the parents to grant such rights.

The state of Illinois has set some specific rules regarding grandparents’ rights, according to the American Grandparents Association. The law does not, however, allow for rights for the father’s parents if paternity has not been established or if parental rights have been surrendered. In cases of adoption, grandparents have no legal claim to the child or children. The law does allow for visitation to be granted if a parent has passed away, parents are not living together or one of the parents has joined the petition for the grandparents’ rights.

The arguments against granting such rights are fairly straightforward and often focus on parental rights coming first and foremost. As pointed out by the Huffington Post, those opposed state that parents have the natural right to decide what is best for their children, so it is them alone who should be able to grant visitation to family members. In most cases, both sides can agree in the case of the death of a parent there might be a reason for the state to step in and grant rights to grandparents, but this one of the only limited areas where everyone can come to an agreement on this hot button topic.  

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