For many grandparents, the bond with their grandchildren can enrich the family. However, if there are family dynamics issues, a grandparent may be denied visitation rights. Do grandparents have the right to see their grandchildren in Ohio? Here is what you need to know about the possible legal options for your situation.
Grandparents’ Rights in Ohio
With strained relationships between grandparents and their adult children, there could be limited access to the grandchildren. The parent’s mental health issues or substance abuse can often complicate these situations. There may be ways to seek visitation for the grandparents in these cases.
The state recognizes the importance of grandparents in the lives of grandchildren, allowing them to request visitation. Under Ohio law, grandparents can ask for visitation in a few situations, such as:
- Divorce: When the parents of the grandchild end their marriage, the court may consider awarding grandparent visitation.
- Deceased parent: If a grandchild’s parent is dead, the surviving grandparents might seek visitation rights.
- Unmarried parents: When the grandchild’s parents are unmarried, paternity must be established for the father’s parents to seek visitation. Also, the mother’s parents may seek visitation.
Keep in mind that fulfilling any of these criteria doesn’t guarantee visitation rights. The court will only make decisions in the child’s best interests.
Starting the Visitation Process
For any grandparent who wants to secure visitation visits, the process will begin with filing a Motion to Establish Visitation. Depending on the case, the motion may need to be filed in the jurisdiction where the parents reside. With this, the court will assess a few factors, such as:
- The relationship between the grandparent and grandchild
- The parent’s current preferences
- The child’s current visitation schedules
However, this process can be challenging and requires proving that the parents cannot care for the child. Before awarding custody to a grandparent, courts must determine that the parents are unfit or unsuitable to care for the child. This requires first demonstrating that the child has experienced abuse, neglect, or has been declared dependent.
While seeking custody may be necessary for the child’s safety and well-being, it could potentially strain relationships with the child’s parents.
Navigating Challenges and Finding a Resolution
Getting a court order for visitation should be considered a success for the grandparents, but difficulties may occur if the parent disobeys the ruling. Grandparents may need to go to court to obtain a judgment enforcing their rights if the parent refuses to allow grandparent visitation.
Seek Legal Assistance
If you’re faced with a situation involving visitation or custody of your grandchild, navigating the complicated landscape of grandparents’ rights in Ohio can be overwhelming. However, seeking advice from seasoned family law attorneys can be invaluable. With their assistance, you will be guided through the legal process. In turn, you can understand your rights and options while ensuring your grandchild’s best interests remain top priorities.
Let Our Team Help with Your Family Law Case
Being a grandparent is an incredible journey full of love, precious moments, and unforgettable experiences. With careful consideration of legal options, grandparents can confidently secure their place in their grandchildren’s lives.
If you would like to learn more about grandparents’ rights in Ohio, please contact the legal team at Axelrod Law Office in Lake County, OH. Call our office at (440) 271-8126 or submit a contact form to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation.