Grandparents’ visitation rights have been recognized in 40 states including Ohio for the better part of the past four decades. This legislation has allowed grandparents to gain custody rights of their grandchildren when their biological parents are no longer able to care for them. This may occur because they become incarcerated, deceased or something else happens to them.
If one or both parents of the child is alive, then an Ohio judge will generally presume that the biological parent or parents should retain custody of them.
There are some instances in which a child’s mom or dad may still be alive, yet the court allows a grandparent to take custody of them. This often happens when the grandmother or grandfather can demonstrate that the child’s parent is unfit to raise their son or daughter. It’s generally very difficult for a grandparent to gain custody of a child, even if they have a strong relationship with them if the biological parents object to it.
Laws surrounding grandparents’ rights vary by jurisdiction. Judges in most states can consider the marital status of the parents when grandparents have been denied custody. Either the mom or dad must be deceased for the visitation to be awarded to grandmothers or grandfathers in other jurisdictions. Grandparents may still need to demonstrate that it’s in their grandchild’s best interest to have visitation with them even if they meet the statutory requirements for it in the first place.
Adoption has varying effects on the visitation rights of grandparents depending on the state. There are some instances in which the rights of a grandparent are terminated if a child is adopted by a stepparent or another grandparent. Adoption doesn’t impact a grandparent’s visitation rights in other jurisdictions.
Making sense of your rights as a grandparent isn’t necessarily straightforward. No two cases are alike. It, therefore, may be helpful for you to consult an attorney here in Hamilton who’s experienced in handling Ohio cases such as this. Your lawyer can advise you on how grandparents can best preserve relationships with their grandchildren as you’re looking to do in your case.