Cleveland Grandparents' Rights Lawyers
Helping Grandparents Understand & Protect Their Rights
Normally, when discussing child custody and visitation rights, one immediately thinks of the rights involving the biological parents. However, in some family law or divorce cases, grandparents may need to intervene. This can be common in guardianship cases, where a child's parents or the court determine whether the grandparents are fit to serve as parental substitutes.
If you are engaged in a family law case, knowing your rights is crucial. At Laubacher and Co., our Cleveland grandparent's rights attorneys will work with you closely to defend your rights and help you navigate your case.
What Rights Do Grandparents Have in Ohio?
A grandparent may have the right to file for visitation or companionship rights with his or her grandchild in an Ohio court in certain circumstances. A grandparent may seek companionship or visitation when a child is born to unmarried parents, when the child’s parents divorce, legally separate, or otherwise terminate their marriage, or when a parent is deceased.
Additionally, grandparents may become involved in family law disputes for other reasons. Occasionally, grandparents may become involved in guardianship cases as potential guardians or witnesses for a prospective guardian. It is also not uncommon for grandparents to be called on as witnesses in family law cases where the grandparent had a close relationship with a child involved in the family law dispute.
The Ohio Supreme Court has stated that a juvenile court may not award custody to a nonparent “without first determining that a preponderance of the evidence shows that the parent abandoned the child; contractually relinquished custody of the child; that the parent has become totally incapable of supporting or caring for the child; or that an award of custody to the parent would be detrimental to the child.” Depending on the circumstances, this may be difficult for a grandparent to prove.
Instead of petitioning the court for custody, another way that a grandparent may obtain certain custody rights is by having one or both the parents sign a power of attorney form. A power of attorney will provide a grandparent with rights in the child’s care, physical custody, and control, including the right to make educational decisions and the right to arrange for routine and emergency medical, dental, and psychological treatment.
Child Visitation Rights of Grandparents
Under Ohio law, grandparents may be awarded visitation rights in a divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, or child support proceeding, if the court determines that (1) the grandparent has an interest in the welfare of the child; and (2) granting visitation rights is in the best interest of the child. In addition, a grandparent may be awarded visitation rights when the mother was unmarried and she had the child or when a parent of the child is deceased.
A court must consider various factors when establishing a visitation scheduled, including but not limited to:
- The child’s prior interactions with the grandparent;
- The geographical location of the child and grandparent;
- The child’s and the parents’ available time and schedule;
- The child’s age;
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
- The health and safety of the child;
- The amount of time that will be available for the child to spend with siblings; and
- The mental and physical health of all parties.
An experienced Ohio family law attorney can help grandparents through the process of obtaining visitation rights for their grandchildren.
Can the Court Modify Visitation Rights for Grandparents?
The court can typically modify or terminate your rights if there is sufficient legal reason to do so. This may be due to a change in circumstances that affects the best interests of the child.
If you are worried about continuing to see your grandchild due to a pending divorce between your son/daughter and their spouse, contact Laubacher & Co. online or via phone at (440) 336-8687 to learn more about your grandparents' rights.