Grandparent visitation: when granted
Historically, grandparents had no legal right of access to their grandchildren, and parents had complete authority to grant or deny the privilege of visitation. (In re Whitaker (1988), 36 Ohio St.3d 213.) Ohio courts have held that grandparents have no constitutional right of association
with their grandchildren. (In re Schmidt (1986), 25 Ohio St.3d 331.) Therefore, if grandparents are to have visitation rights, they must be provided for by statute. Ohio has authorized grandparent companionship or visitation rights by statute in three situations: (1) when married parents terminate marriage or separate, (2) when a parent of the child is deceased, and (3) when the child is born to an unmarried woman. In such cases, a court may order reasonable visitation if it is in the best interest of the child. In the absence of an event that disrupts an intact family, the Ohio Supreme Court has declined to permit courts to order grandparent visitation. (In re Gibson (1991), 61 Ohio St.3d 168.)
When married parents terminate marriage or separate
A court can grant reasonable visitation rights to a grandparent in a proceeding for divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, or child support if the grandparent files a motion seeking visitation rights and the court determines that the grandparent has an interest in the welfare of the child and granting visitation rights is in the best interest of the child. The motion may be filed while the proceeding is pending or after a decree or final order is issued.
In making its decision, the court is required to consider certain factors. (Revised Code §3109.051(B).)
When a parent dies
When a child’s parent dies, a parent of the deceased parent can file a complaint for visitation rights in the court of common pleas of the county in which the child resides. After considering certain factors, the court may order reasonable visitation if it determines that visitation is in the child’s best interest. (R.C. 3109.11.)
Ohio Revised Code on Grandparents Rights is below.
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