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The best interests of the child: grandparents' rights in action

Ohio has state laws regarding grandparents' rights. But what happens when there is a clear danger to a grandchild's well-being?

A recent Hamilton County case is a prime example of the painful situations grandparents can find themselves in regarding the safety of their grandchildren.

Born addicted to heroin with both her parents struggling with opioids and prison sentences, the child in the Hamilton County case spent her life under the care of her grandparents. Unfortunately, the grandparents have found themselves in custody battles with the child's biological father and the child welfare system of Hamilton County.

Child custody and visitation rights for grandparents

The relevant facts are in how Ohio determines legal guardianship. There are two conditions that must be met for grandparents to be granted legal custody.

  • Documentation: a notice of temporary or shared custody must be filed with the court at the onset of the period of custody.
  • Abandonment: which would be proof that the child had not been visited or contacted by the parents for a 90-day period. 

The grandparents allowed visitations for both the child’s parents, according to media reports. Those visitations and the contact involved specifically close off that direct path to obtaining full legal custody outlined above.

After that, what is left is determining whether there is a clear proof that the parent is not able to care for the child. The responsibility to prove that falls to those suing for custody.

What counts as proof?

The issues surrounding a case like this one are complicated and emotional. Deciphering the facts and the law requires the eye of an experienced legal professional. If you are struggling with custody and visitation for your grandchild, consider speaking with a lawyer who has extensive family law experience.


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