Grandparent Visitation Rights
It is common knowledge that parents can pursue visitation rights in a divorce, dissolution, or legal separation. However, some of you may not be aware that the State of Ohio recognizes the rights of a grandparent to pursue visitation rights with their grandchild(ren) in certain situations.
As recognized under Ohio law, grandparents may pursue visitation rights with their minor grandchild(ren) when:
- Married parents terminate the marriage or separate;
- A parent passes away;
- The child’s mother is unmarried; or,
- A child is deemed abused, neglected, or dependent.
A Court will more than likely grant visitation time to a grandparent in a proceeding for divorce, dissolution, or legal separation if the grandparent files a motion in the appropriate court seeking visitation rights. If the Court agrees with said motion and finds that it is in the best interest of the minor grandchild(ren) then the Court may award reasonable visitation time.
If a parent were to pass away, a parent of the deceased parent may file a motion to obtain grandparent visitation. Keep in mind that the motion must be filed where the grandchild(ren) reside(s). If the Court agrees with said motion and finds that it is in the best interest of the minor grandchild(ren), then the Court may award reasonable visitation time.
If a grandchild was born out of wedlock, or to an unmarried woman, then the Court may award, upon a motion and a finding that it is in the best interest of the minor grandchild(ren), visitation to the maternal or paternal grandparents.
Though the Ohio Revised Code does not specifically allow for grandparent visitation in an abuse, neglect, or dependency case, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has adopted rules that require grandparent visitation in cases of abuse, neglect, or dependency. 
Before a court will award grandparent visitation rights, it will consider all relevant statutory factors before doing so, which includes, but is not limited to:
- The wishes and concerns of the child’s parents;
- The prior interaction and interrelationships of the child with parents and other relatives;
- The location of the grandparent’s residence and its distance from the child’s residence;
- Availability of the child;
- The child’s age;
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
- The child’s wishes, if the court has interviewed the child in chambers;
- The child’s health and safety;
- The amount of time that a child has available to spend with siblings;
- The mental and physical health of all the parties; and,
- Whether the person seeking visitation has been convicted or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving an act that resulted in a child being abused or neglected.
We understand that grandparents are important pillars in a child’s development. Grandparents have a lifetime of experience that can be very beneficial to their grandchild(ren). Because grandparents have weathered the ups and downs of life, they make excellent advisers, caregivers, and problem-solvers when it comes to influencing their grandchild(ren) in a positive manner.
In being a positive influence in a grandchild’s life by offering love and guidance, importing wisdom, passing on traditions, and making memories, grandparents can leave a legacy that their grandchild can pass on for generations to come.
If any of these factors apply to you or a loved one, it is important to discuss your options with an attorney. We at White Law Office, Co., will be happy to discuss options available to you under Ohio law and if applicable, will be happy to represent you in pursuing your grandparent visitation rights.
Matthew A. Kearney, Attorney at Law
James Baker, Litigation Paralegal
This article is not intended to provide legal advice. It is
intended to provide broad and general information about the law. White Law
Office, Co. is not an insurance agency, nor does White Law Office, Co. sell
insurance policies. Before applying the law discussed herein, please consult
with your Attorney or the Attorneys at White Law Office, Co.
 Information contained herein can be found at https://www.lsc.ohio.gov/documents/reference/current/membersonlybriefs/132grandparents.pdf