Kollin L. Rice
Attorney at Law
Rice & Company, LPA
2424 Woodville Rd
Oregon, OH 43616
(419)697-3993 fax

Grandparents' Rights

Attorney Kollin L. Rice is an experienced grandparents rights and child custody attorney. Please contact us if we can help you.

In Ohio, a court may grant "reasonable companionship or visitation rights" to grandparents or to "any person related to the child by consanguinity or affinity." Grandparents, and other non-custodial third parties, may be granted visitation in three circumstances: when the child's parents are unmarried; when a parent is deceased; or when the parents have divorced or separated. If these conditions apply, one may be able to petition the court for visitation rights. Even if they apply, it is not automatic, and there may be a defense against such a petition.

An order for grandparents' visitation can be a part of several court proceedings, including divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, or child support proceeding. A suit for visitation need not be filed as part of the original proceedings in these courts - it can be filed at any time.

The burden is on the party seeking visitation rights to prove to the court that they have an interest in the child's welfare and that visitation would be in the best interests of the child. The court will also consider the following factors, none of which are necessarily decisive in themselves:

The wishes and concerns of the parents as expressed to the court
The child's interactions with parents and members of the extended family
The geographical location of the grandparent's residence and the distance from the child’s residence
The child’s and parents’ available time, including schedules for employment, school, holidays and vacations
The child's age
The child's adjustment at home and school and in the community
Any wishes of the child, as expressed in chambers
The child's health and safety
The availability of time for the child to be with his or her siblings
The mental and physical health of all parties
The willingness of the grandparent to reschedule missed visitation
Any conviction of the grandparent or guilty plea by the grandparent involving a crime of child abuse or child neglect
Any other factor in the best interest of the child.

To read the actual laws, see Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.051 concerning visitation rights; Section 3109.11 concerning children of deceased parents; and Section 3109.12 concerning unmarried parents.

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