When a couple with children decides to divorce, they often focus on the effects the dissolution will have on their relationships with their children. Grandparent rights 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’s visitation rights.
Best Interest of the Child
One of the least pleasant aspects of a separation or divorce is 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, the 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 rights, the court decided that there are three circumstances under which a right 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.
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 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.