03.08.19 | Family Law

What Are Your Rights As a Grandparent?

Most grandparents would do anything for their children and grandchildren. However, there are times when they aren’t allowed to see their grandchildren as much as they want (or at all)!

If this is the case, you may want to look into your rights as a grandparent. The laws depend on what state you live in. In Ohio, you can only sue for visitation rights if it is in the best interest of the child.

When can grandparents sue for visitation rights?

There are several times when a court may grant you visitation. These cases include:

  • The parent/parents are deceased
  • The parents are separated or divorced
  • The parent’s marriage was annulled (or is in the process of going through an annulment)
  • The parents were never married to each other

However, in order to be granted visitation, you must have the child’s best interest at heart.

So, what does it mean that it is in the best interest of the child? What do the courts look for in determining this?

When the courts determine what is in the best interest of the child, they look at the following factors:

  • What everyone wants. The courts will ask you, the parents, and even the child what everyone wants before making a decision.
  • How much interaction the child has with you and the rest of the extended family.
  • How close or far away you live from your grandchildren.
  • What everyone’s schedule is. The courts will look at the schedule of the parent’s, child, and you to determine how much time you should be able to spend with the child. Your visitation shouldn’t mess up your grandchild’s life, especially with school and other activities.
  • How your grandchild has adjusted. The courts will look at how your grandchild is doing at home, in school, and otherwise, in order to make sure that visitation is best for the child.
  • Everyone’s health. The courts will look at the health of you, the parents, and your grandchild to make sure that everyone is healthy enough to spend time with your grandchild. If your grandchild has health issues, they will make sure that everyone taking care of your grandchild will be able to take care of him or her properly.

When can’t grandparents sue for visitation rights?

There are times when a court won’t grant you visitation. These cases include:

  • The family unit is still intact. Grandparents have no rights when their grandchildren are in a stable family unit. If their parents don’t want you to spend time with their children, there is nothing that you can do.
  • Adoption. Grandparents no longer have any visitation rights when their grandchild is placed up for adoption. The only time that this doesn’t count is when a step parent adopts the child.
  • In custody. If your grandchildren were abused or neglected or have been taken from their parents (and placed in custody), you may not have any rights for visitation.

There are certain conditions that may allow you grandparent’s visitation rights. If the parents were never married or are divorced, you may be able to see your grandchild. However, before that happens, you have to prove that you have the child’s best interest at heart. If the child, parents, and you all want to have a relationship, you could be given visitation rights. However, you have to be healthy and be able to provide a safe environment for visitation.

That being said, there are times when you won’t be given visitation rights. The most common reasons are when the family unit is still intact, or the child was adopted by someone other than his or her step parent.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

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