Preserving Your Grandparent Visitation Rights

When a couple with children decides to divorce, they often focus on the affects the dissolution will have on their relationships with their children. The rights of the grandparents are often overlooked or disregarded even though keeping the children from their extended family is painful for everyone involved. In the past, a grandparent’s ability to see the grandchildren was dependent upon the wishes of the custodial parent and the visitation schedule awarded to the non-custodial parent. Fortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court decided that third-party visitation statutes were constitutional and now grants visitation rights to grandparents. Though the law is straightforward, you may need to take steps to preserve your grandparent visitation rights.

Best Interest of the Child

One of the least pleasant aspects of a separation or divorce are the battles over custody in which parents often find themselves. Parents who are unable to agree over primary custody, child support, or other major issues may find themselves spending months, or years, fighting for a resolution. During this period of time, a child who was previously close to his or her grandparents may be unable to even speak to those grandparents. Separating a child from a grandparent who has been a major influence in  his or her life is painful and distressing.  However, family court does take the best interest of the child into account and is willing to recognize the fact that in some cases preventing a child from communicating with a grandparent can cause harm.

When is Visitation Granted

Once Ohio began authorizing grandparent visitation right,s the court decided that there are three circumstances under which a rights of access should be considered. These three circumstances are:

  • When married parents separate or dissolve their marriage;
  • When a child is born to an unmarried woman;
  • When one of the child’s parents is deceased.

The motion requesting visitation rights may be filed when divorce or other proceedings are still pending. In situations in which the child’s mother is unmarried and paternal grandparents want visitation rights, the father must first acknowledge the child or be found to be the child’s father through a parentage action. Regardless of the circumstances, the court must ultimately determine if visitation is in the child’s best interest.

Avoiding Disputes

Even though the situation preceding the separation of the parents may have been complicated and contentious, grandparent visitation rights do not have to be. It is possible for grandparents to receive visitation with their grandchild before the divorce is finalized or a custody order is in place. The best way to receive the visitation desired is to avoid disputes that could threaten a grandparent’s rights. Contacting a family law attorney with experience obtaining grandparent visitation rights without going to trial is a good way to initiate proceedings that will be resolved quickly.

Lawrence Law Office

If you or someone you know wants to pursue grandparent visitation rights, contact our conveniently located Columbus, Ohio location. Our grandparent visitation attorneys are committed to helping grandparents preserve their relationships with their grandchildren.  Through the use of mediators, we help parties come to a speedy resolution that is truly in the best interest of the child.

Grandparents’ Visitation Rights

Grandparents can play a very important role in a child’s development. Today, many parents still rely on their parents to help raise their children or to delegate some caretaking responsibility, in order to maintain full time employment and to maintain prior commitments. When a divorce proceeding begins, many couples begin to reassess who will be caring for the child, when, where and how often. Sometimes, unfortunately, a grandparent who played a critical part of the child’s life up until that point may have his or her time taken away or reduced due to custody battles. However, grandparents should know that they also have rights to see their grandchildren when a divorce occurs.

Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Ohio

Visitation rights vary state to state, but in Ohio, grandparents have a right to file for visitation if they have an interest in the welfare of the child and it is in the child’s best interests to maintain this relationship. Grandparents can file a Motion for Visitation in divorce proceedings while the divorce decree is being entered or even after the divorce is granted to include grandparents in the custody and visitation proceedings.

Under state statute, visitation rights will be granted in a limited number of situations. The law grants visitation rights if the parents terminate their marriage or legally separate, if the parent of a child in question is deceased, and also when the child is born to parents who are not married. Additionally, the court will still assess whether this is in the child’s best interests. Courts will also weigh the parents wishes when determining whether the award for visitation is appropriate.

Visitation rights for grandparents, just like parents, can be terminated or amended by the court under certain terms. If one parent of the child can show the court that there has been a change of circumstances, affecting the best interests of the child, it will impact the previously granted visitation orders for the child. Remarriage of the parent will not affect the parenting time and visitation rights granted to a grandparent by the court. Courts are generally understanding about a grandparent’s desire to continue being part of a grandchild’s life, especially when the relationship is previously established.

Entitled to Visitation Rights?

If you or someone you know is considering filing for visitation rights, call the experienced legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us using our website or lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com.

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