Grandparents Visitation Rights in Ohio

grandparents rights in Ohio 

In Ohio, grandparents may be granted grandparents visitation rights in five major ways:

1. As part of a divorce.

2. As part of a dissolution.

3. In a legal separation.

4. In an annulment or in a child support proceeding.

Grandparents’ visitation rights are usually granted by the Domestic Relations Court must determine according to grandparents rights in Ohio, that the grandparent has “an interest in the child’s welfare” and that the visitation is in “the best interest of the child.”  In making the decision, the court examines many factors including the grandparent’s prior relationship with the child and the extent of his or her involvement in the child’s life.

Grandparents’ visitation rights can also be granted if one of the child’s parents is deceased, or if the child’s parents were never married to each other.

Grandparents’ visitation rights, like any other visitation rights, can be modified or terminated by the court.  They are not permanent rights.  In awarding grandparents rights in Ohio the court must consider a parent’s wishes, but it is not the only factor when considering if the visitation will be granted.  Any person “related to the child by consanguinity or affinity” may apply to the court for visitation rights and will be subject to the same standards as those seeking grandparents’ visitation rights.  

In some states, the parents decide if the grandparents have visitation rights.  Ohio is one the very few states which has ruled that third-party visitation rights are constitutional so grandparents rights in Ohio are stronger than in many parts of the country.  Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville (2000) held that grandparent visitation in that particular case violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it infringed on the fundamental right of a parent to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of his or her child.

In a later Ohio Supreme Court case, Harrold v. Collier (2005), the Ohio Court ruled that due process was not the issue in grandparents visitation rights because Ohio based its visitation decisions on the welfare of the child, not due process.

Factors in Deciding the Best Interests of the Child

The following are the factors Ohio courts use to determine if a visitation order is in the best interests of a child:

  • The prior interaction and interrelationships of the child with the parents and other relatives
  • The geographical location of the grandparent’s residence and the distance between it and the child’s residence
  • The child’s and the parent’s available time
  • The age of the child
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school and community
  • The wishes of the child if the child has been interviewed in judge’s chambers
  • The health and safety of the child
  • The amount of time a child has to spend with siblings
  • The mental and physical health of all parties
  • Willingness to reschedule missed time; any history of visitation denial
  • Whether the person seeking visitation has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving an act that resulted in a child being abused or neglected
  • Whether either parent has established or is planning to establish a residence outside of the state
  • The wishes and concerns of the child’s parents as they have expressed them to the court
  • Any other factor in the best interest of the child

If the court denies grandparents rights, the grandparents may file a written request with the court for findings of fact and conclusions of law.  The court must state in writing the factual and legal reasons the request was denied.

If Someone Interferes with Grandparents Rights in Ohio

If another person does not comply with or interferes with a visitation order, a person who has grandparents visitation rights may bring an action for contempt.  A court may impose a fine, a term of imprisonment, or both, if someone is found guilty of not complying with a visitation order.

How an Ohio Attorney Can Help

Grandparents rights can be a rocky terrain to navigate and something you don’t want to tackle by yourself.  Our experienced attorneys for grandparents rights can help you in obtaining visitation, custody and guardianship of your grandchildren.  They are very familiar with the laws in Ohio surrounding this complex area of law.

Call us at 1-888-760-8958 so that we can answer any questions you might have about grandparents legal rights in Ohio.  If you would rather put your thoughts in writing and send us a message from our website, please visit dissolutionanddivorce.com.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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  1. Grandparents and Grandchildren Exercises - December 21, 2012

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