…are not as strong as in other states. Custody and visitation are both permitted but both are very different in difficulty to obtain.
In Ohio for a grandparent to get custody of a grandchild, the child’s parents need to be proven unfit or unsuitable to parent. This is a difficult obstacle to overcome and prove but can be done. The court will make its decision of “unsuitability” based upon whether custody with the parent has an adverse impact on the child. The court will not base its decision on whether society disapproves of the conduct of the parent–if there is no adverse impact on the child, there might be no finding of “unsuitability” of the parent.
Visitation is a different journey. If a grandparent has had an active and involved role in a child’s life, there is a good chance that a grandparent can petition successfully for visitation rights in Ohio. In fact, Ohio permits grandparent visitation, by statute, in three circumstances:
- when married parents separate or terminate their marriage;
- when a parent of a child is deceased; or
- when the child is born to an unmarried woman.
Grandparents can ask a court for visitation even after the parent’s divorce is final. Regarding visitation, the court will make its decision based upon what is the best interest of the child.
The takeaway here is to act quickly. Contact an experienced family law attorney in your state if you want to pursue custody or visitation rights with your grandchild.