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What are grandparents’ rights in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2024 | Family Law

The rights of grandparents in Ohio, especially after the death of their child, are governed by Ohio law and focus on the best interests of the grandchildren. Grandparents’ rights are recognized, particularly in cases where their child, a parent of the grandchildren, has passed away. 

The law acknowledges the potential importance of maintaining the grandparent-grandchild relationship for the child’s well-being. These rights aren’t absolute and are subject to certain considerations.

Visitation rights

Grandparents’ rights are typically pursued through a court petition. The court will consider several factors to determine whether granting visitation is in the child’s best interests. 

These factors include:

  • The child’s wishes, if they’re old enough to express a preference
  • The health and safety of the child
  • The prior relationship between the grandparents and the child

The court may also consider the child’s home, school and community adjustment.

Custody considerations

In some cases, grandparents may also seek custody of their grandchildren. This usually occurs if the surviving parent is deemed unfit or other compelling reasons make the grandparents a more suitable custodial option

When considering custody, the court’s primary focus is on the child’s best interests. These include:

  • The child’s emotional and developmental needs
  • The stability of the proposed living situation
  • The grandparents’ ability to provide for the child’s needs 

It is essential for grandparents in Ohio seeking visitation or custody to understand that these are complex legal matters. They are often required to navigate intricate legal processes and present compelling evidence to support their case. Understanding the requirements is beneficial for these situations, so it might be necessary to work with someone familiar with them.