By Jeffery Leving

This past week an Illinois Court made a significant decision awarding the paternal grandparents sole custody of their two grandchildren, after a long and bitter custody dispute.   The court room battle began over 15 months ago when the paternal grandparents initiated efforts to obtain legal custody of the at-risk youths.  The children were born out of wedlock and had been living with both parents until the mother – – an alleged drug addict –  moved-out, taking the children with her.  After three months and nine residences, including two drug rehab facilities, the grandparents retained Chicago Custody Attorney Art Kallow to pursue their legal custody rights to the children in court and protect the long-term well-being of the children.

“More and more grandparents are taking a vital role in raising our future generations,” states grandparent’s rights attorney Kallow.  “This win demonstrates that our legal system recognizes the invaluable contribution many grandparents make in raising their grandchildren and the need to protect these rights under law.”

In fact many grandparents have questions concerning their legal visitation and custodial rights to their grandchildren, especially when the children are born out of wedlock.  Further, grandparents may be reluctant to assert their rights in court because many believe they can’t succeed.    However, as Kallow explains, it is critically important that grandparents who wish to stay in their grandchildren’s lives after the break-up or divorce of the children’s parents consult with an experienced family law attorney to explore their  legal rights, determine their next steps and not give up hope.  A skilled grandparent’s rights attorney will petition the court to help secure custodial rights.

Several factors may influence a grandparent’s custodial rights.

One of the main factors is the ”best interests of the child” – this includes the needs of the child, including considerations of the child’s physical and emotional heath, safety and welfare.  Courts will typically look at the parents’ relationships with the children first before considering whether granting custody to a grandparent is appropriate.   It may be very difficult to be awarded custody if both parents contest the proceedings, however not impossible. Where one parent is unfit, courts will be more willing to consider a grandparent’s request for custody.

Other factors the court will evaluate include the parents’ vs. grandparents’ ability to meet a child’s needs.  The court may also weigh the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the children and the strength of the relationship between the grandparents and the children.   Whether the children will have difficulty adjusting to the grandparents’ home or community and their ability to provide a loving and stable home is also taken into consideration.

While it may be a difficult legal journey, courts are increasingly finding in favor of awarding custody to grandparents, and hopefully more attorneys will be willing to stand up to the challenge in the future as Art Kallow did here.

Attorney Kallow’s victory is the latest in a series of successes for the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd. (www.dadsrights.com) safeguarding children.    Focused exclusively on family law and child custody matters, Kallow has earned a reputation for his passion and tenacity representing clients in complicated child custody, support and visitation matters. He is making our nation a better place for at-risk children.

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