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Grandparents' Rights to Child Visitation in Ohio

In Ohio, basically the grandparents of the child have absolutely no legally enforceable rights to visitation with the child if the mother and father of the child are currently married.  If the mother and father of the child are not married, there are 3 circumstances in which the grandparents (or other interested individuals) can obtain legally enforceable visitation rights:

  1. If the Mother and Father get divorced, legally separated, annulled, then the child's grandparents (or any other person with an interest in the child), can file a motion in the Court of Common Pleas in order to obtain enforceable visitation rights.  (Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.051)
  2. If the child is born to unmarried parents, then the grandparents of the mother (or any relative of the mother), can file a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas in order to obtain legally enforceable visitation rights with the child.  (Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.12).
  3. If either the Mother of Father of the child has deceased, then any relative of the deceased parent can file a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas to obtain legally enforceable visitation rights with the child.  (Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.11).

Grandparents' Rights Upon Divorce of Child's Parents

In a divorce, dissolution, legal separation, or annulment of a marriage, a grandparent, relative, or any interested individual, can file a motion with the Court requesting visitation rights.  This motion can be filed during or at any time after the divorce proceedings.  This is also the only provision under Ohio law that could allow an individual that is not biologically related to the child to obtain legally enforceable visitation rights.  This provision is most often used by grandparents, and allows grandparents to obtain child custody rights if they do 3 things:
  1. The grandparent must file a motion with the Court.
  2. The Court must determine that the person filing the motion has an interest in the child.
  3. The Court must determine that granting visitation / custody rights to the grandparent is in the best interest of the child.

Grandparents' Custody Rights to Grandchildren of Unmarried Parents

If a child is born to a woman who is unmarried, then the grandparents or any relative of the mother can file a complaint requesting custody rights of the child.  In this scenario, the Father's family have no rights whatsoever to establish visitation with the child.  The Court will only grant the Mother's parents or relatives rights to visitation if it is in the best interests of the child.

Grandparents' Rights to Child Visitation if One Parent Dies

If one of the child's parents die, then the grandparents, or any other relatives of the deceased parent can file a complaint requesting visitation rights with the child.  A Court will only grant visitation rights if it finds that doing so is in the best interest of the child.

Columbus, Ohio Grandparent Visitation Rights Attorneys

The only way for grandparents, or any relative (or in one scenario, anyone with an interest in the child), to be granted legally enforceable visitation rights is to file a motion or complaint in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the child lives.  You will need an attorney to do this.  You can talk to a grandparents' rights attorney at Harris & Engler by calling (614) 610-9988.  The attorneys at Harris & Engler help grandparents obtain enforceable child visitation rights in Franklin County, Delaware County, and Union County.
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