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QUESTION: I want to file an action in civil court for her extortion, can I do this?
ANSWER: Unfortunately, no. An action for intimidation or extortion is a criminal offense, not a civil offense. So the state files charges for extortion if it feels there is a case to be made. Also, extortion would be where someone threatens you to obtain something or cause you to perform or omit to perform an act.
In this case, as a grandparent, you are not being forced to perform or omit to perform something by paying her. So I do not think there is a case for extortion to be made.
I think the best thing you can do is to file a petition with the family court for visitation, under Illinois' Grandparent Visitation law (750 ILCS 5/602.9). If the court finds for you, then she is forced to allow for visitation.
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