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Do grandparents in Ohio have visitation rights?

While many people are not aware of this, grandparents may have a right to visitation under Ohio law - although it depends on the circumstances.

In fact, while grandparents have historically had no legal rights when it came to their grandchildren, Ohio now has specific statutes that allow grandparents to seek visitation in three distinct circumstances:

  1. When a grandchild's married parents get divorced or separate
  2. When a grandchild's parent passes away
  3. When a grandchild is born to an unmarried mother

In regards to the first option listed above (the divorce or separation of a grandchild's parents), Ohio law allows courts to grant grandparents reasonable visitation rights, but only if they actually file a motion seeking such rights. Also, the court must determine that the grandparents have an "interest in the welfare of the child" AND that granting such visitation rights is in the "best interest" of the grandchild.

Similarly, under both option two and three listed above, grandparents can file a complaint (request) for visitation rights, which a court may grant as long as the request for grandparent visitation is in the grandchild's best interests. When making this decision, the court may examine several factors, including, but not limited to:

  • The wishes of the grandchild, but only if the court has interviewed him or her
  • The age of the grandchild
  • The safety and health of the grandchild
  • The available time for the grandchild to spend with siblings
  • The location of the grandparent's residence, and its distance from the grandchild's residence
  • The prior relationship and interactions between the grandchild and the grandparent

If you have questions about grandparent rights in Ohio, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney today. A knowledgeable lawyer can explain your legal options and help you obtain any rights you may be entitled to under the law.

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