If you are a parent who is going through divorce—or a grandparent whose child is going through divorce—and there are children involved, it is important to understand what Ohio law says about whether there are visitation rights with respect to children. In short, Ohio law allows a court to award visitation rights to grandparents if there has been (or there is currently) a domestic relations proceeding, the grandparent demonstrates an interest in the welfare of their grandchild, and if visitation with the grandparent is in the child’s best interest.
In fact, in Ohio, not only can grandparents obtain visitation rights but, in some circumstances, they can even obtain custody. Under Ohio law, with regards to a proceeding that relates to legal separation, the dissolution of a marriage, or a child support proceeding, the court can grant visitation rights to a grandparent if the following apply:
- The grandparent files a motion with the court seeking visitation rights;
- The court determines that the grandparent has an interest in the welfare of the child; and
- The court determines that granting the visitation rights is in the best interest of the child.
In determining whether to grant visitation to a grandparent, the court considers all of the following factors:
- The prior interaction of the child with his or her parent(s), any siblings, and the grandparent;
- The geographical location and distance between the grandparent’s residence and the child’s residence;
- Time availability for everyone involved, including employment and vacation schedules;
- The age of the child;
- The child’s adjustment to community, home, and school;
- The wishes and concern of the child with regards to visitation with the grandparent;
- The health and safety of the child;
- Any resulting impact on the amount of time available for the child to spend with siblings by granting visitation with the grandparent;
- The mental and physical health of everyone involved;
- Each parent’s willingness to reschedule missed parenting time;
- Whether either parent has been previously convicted or pled guilty to any criminal offense that resulted in the child being abused or neglected;
- Whether the grandparent has been previously convicted or plead guilty to any criminal offense that resulted in the child being abused or neglected;
- Whether the residential parent has willfully denied the other parent’s right to parenting time;
- Whether either parent has established or will establish a residence out of state;
- The wishes and concerns of the child’s parent(s); and
- Any other factor necessary to take into account in order to ensure that the best interest of the child has been prioritized.
Although a grandparent may file a motion for custody of the child, the courts will generally not grant custody to a grandparent unless both of the child’s parents are deemed unsuitable or unfit and it would be in the best interest of the child that the grandparent be granted custody.
The Comunale Law Office
Attorney Anthony Comunale and his staff have extensive experience successfully represented clients who have both argued for and against grandparent visitation rights. If you are dealing with a child visitation or custody issue, contact us today so that we can get started helping you.