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Today's Family Magazine

Family Law: Grandparent rights in Ohio

By Pamela Kurt, Kurt Law

As a local attorney, people ask about this legal dilemma quite often.  The reality is that under Ohio law there are grandparents rights but there are many other factors to determine what “rights’ are available. This is hard for most to understand.  The law does not give grandparents any automatic rights to see their grandchildren.  So, in almost every case, parents can keep children away from grandparents if they choose to.  Normally, grandparents visit with their grandchildren by making arrangements with their son or daughter.

Unlike many other states, Ohio actually recognizes grandparent rights to visit and care for their grandchildren through the Ohio Revised Code.  Grandparents can motion the court for these rights. There are three statutorily protected instances in Ohio that has authorized grandparent companionship or visitation rights: (1) when married parents terminate their marriage or separate, (2) when a parent of a 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. 

However, before awarding grandparent visitation rights in Ohio, a court must consider all relevant factors, including all factors listed in the statute.   

Grandparent visitation schedules usually provide less time than visitation schedules provided for a parent. A typical grandparent visitation schedule may be one or two days per month and visitation during important and significant holidays. 

Note:  This article does NOT provide legal advice.  Each scenario and facts may warrant a different outcome.  Please contact legal counsel for your own matter.  In addition, the Ohio Revised Code does not expressly provide for grandparent visitation when a child is alleged or adjudicated by the juvenile court to be an abused, neglected, or dependent child.  However, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has adopted a rule that requires a public children services agency to arrange for such visitation in certain circumstances. 

Email Kurt Law Office at [email protected] for more information.