Grandparents hold a significant and influential position in a child's life. They possess the ability to impart the family's history, instilling a sense of identity and heritage. Narrating anecdotes, exchanging life lessons, and offering a unique form of love, encouragement, and warmth, grandparents create an exceptional bond with their grandchildren. However, in times of divorce or child custody battles, grandparents might find themselves marginalized, a situation particularly challenging for those who have actively participated in raising and nurturing their grandchildren. Fortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court has recognized that grandparents have legal rights. These include both visitation rights and, in certain circumstances, custody rights. But asserting these rights is not always easy, and the outcome of cases involving grandparent rights are often fact-specific.
How to Seek Visitation Rights for Grandparents in Ohio
If you need to establish your legal right to visitation in Ohio, you must file a Motion or Complaint to Establish Visitation. If there is a prior court case involving the child, such as a divorce, child support matter, or paternity case, the Motion to Establish Visitation will be filed in that court.
If there is no prior case, you must file a Complaint to Establish Visitation in the common pleas court where the child lives. These cases are usually filed in the Domestic Relations Court or the Juvenile Court, whichever court handles matters between unmarried parents.
When your motion is filed, the court will evaluate whether you are eligible to have visitation rights and whether visitation is in the best interests of the child.
Once your visitation rights have been established, you can have the visitation order enforced through the court system. If a parent interferes with a grandparent’s visitation rights, the parent can be held in contempt of court.
A Grandparent’s Legal Rights to Custody
In certain circumstances, a grandparent might consider pursuing legal guardianship of their grandchild. While awarding custody to a grandparent is an uncommon occurrence, if the grandparent can substantiate that both parents are incapable of providing adequate care, the court may deem it appropriate to grant custody to the grandparents, contingent upon the child's well-being. Courts may opt for grandparent custody in instances involving substance misuse, psychological disorders, child maltreatment or negligence, or when a parent is afflicted by severe mental health issues.
RKPT: Lawyers Protecting Grandparent Rights in Ohio
To learn more about protecting your rights as grandparents, feel free to reach out to us at (513) 721-3330 or contact RKPT through our online platform. We'd be delighted to arrange a consultation where we can chat about your unique circumstances and explore how we can provide support.