What Rights Do I Have as an Ohio Grandparent?

Answering the question posed in the title is complicated, but allow us to start with the best news: Ohio law grants grandparents rights to adopt grandchildren from unsafe or unhealthy home situations and to retain visitation rights following a divorce or marriage dissolution. Where things become difficult, and where an Ohio child custody lawyer  can be of assistance, is that both of those rights exist primarily in relation to the grandparents’ relationship with the grandchild’s birth parent. The best interests of the child are also always taken into consideration, and a grandparent is often asked to speak to that.

For instance, a wife who divorces her child’s father and retains custody can confer child visitation rights to her own parents. Such an arrangement can be agreed to through mediation or ordered by a judge following a divorce hearing. Getting the arrangement in writing is important, though, in order to have a contract that can be enforced in court.

Still, even such a legally certified grandparent visitation arrangement could then be voided if the wife subsequently loses custody to the birth father, gives up the grandchild for adoption to a third party, or gets remarried and the new stepparent successfully contests the earlier visitation arrangement.

In cases where a grandparent, alone or as a member of a married couple, attempts to adopt a grandchild, either of the birth parents can contest the adoption petition. An existing custodial order under which a grandchild lives with a grandchild can also be challenged after months or years by a birth parent.

The reverse, however, is rarely true. If a stepparent or third party files to adopt their grandchild, grandparents have almost no statutory grounds for contesting the petition. A grandparent also has few options other than offering opinions on what is in the child’s best interest when it comes to a divorcing mother or father requesting sole custody.

Our Ohio child custody lawyers have helped many grandparents conclude adoptions and fight for the preservation of visitation arrangements. If you want to give your own grandchild a forever, loving home or just stay involved in their life following the end of a relationship between your own child and someone else, contact us online or call us.