Amy M. Levine & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLC - Family Law, Bankruptcy, Probate Litigation, Criminal Defense
We now have a New Albany, Ohio location!

Columbus, OH 614-360-2942
Huntington, WV 304-519-4354
New Albany, OH 614-721-7726

Columbus, OH 614-360-2942
Huntington, WV 304-519-4354
New Albany, OH

PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

Family Law

Bankruptcy Law

Criminal Defense

Personal Injury

Probate

You are here:
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Articles
  4.  » Order granting grandparents visitation rights reversed on appeal

Amy M. Levine
View Profile

Our Latest Blog Posts

How to prepare financially for a divorce

Ohio is an equitable property division state, which means that you might be entitled to a majority share of a marital estate in a final divorce settlement. However, even if you are expecting to receive valuable assets as part of such a settlement, you'll still need to...

What to know about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test

Chapter 7 bankruptcy gives consumers in Columbus, Ohio, a legal way to remove burdening debt they can no longer handle. Only unsecured debts, such as medical and credit card debt, can get erased in bankruptcy. The secured debts, those that are backed by collateral,...

Contesting a Will During Probate in Ohio

When Ohio residents put together their wills and estates, they do everything in their power to make sure that they've covered all of their bases. They usually work with attorneys to make sure that their beneficiaries are clearly indicated, and they work on an asset...

7 steps to take after a car accident

In an instant, a car accident can change your life. You just could be on your way to work and a large SUV rams into the rear of your car. You could suffer serious injuries – broken bones, a traumatic brain injury and a back injury. Or a distracted driver could fail to...

What happens to a home in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

It may be possible to keep your Ohio home after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, that will depend on how much equity that you have in the property. Furthermore, you'll need to remain current on your home loan to retain ownership of the property. Let's take a...

Visit Our Blog

Order granting grandparents visitation rights reversed on appeal

Contact Us For A
Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

This field is required.

disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

In the case of In re I.R.H., the Ohio Court of Appeals reversed an order granting the maternal grandparents visitation rights with the child. The case was sent back to the trial court to establish a more limited visitation schedule.

An Ohio statute authorizes grandparents to petition for court-ordered visitation rights in cases where the child’s parents are unmarried, or have filed proceedings for divorce, dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or one of the child’s parents is deceased. Visitation rights can be ordered if the court determines that the grandparent has an “interest in the welfare of the child” and that grandparent visitation would be in the child’s best interest. The court must consider a “fit” parent’s wishes when deciding whether to make an award.

Background and procedural history

The child was born in 2006, while the parents were married, but the parents obtained a divorce in 2009. The divorce decree provided for shared parenting.

The mother was killed in an automobile accident in 2012. The father permitted the grandparents some limited visits and invited them to soccer games and dance recitals. After disagreements arose, the grandparents filed a request for court-ordered visitation.

At the hearing, the father argued that forced visitation with third parties, including the grandparents, might be harmful to the child. He presented evidence that, since the mother’s death, the child suffered from separation anxiety and had difficulty being separated from the father, to the point where the child was unable to go on sleepovers with friends or family members.

The magistrate determined that it was important for the child to continue to nurture a relationship with the maternal grandparents, and that the father agreed, but that the father’s concerns were real and not vindictive, and overruled the grandparent’s request for expanded visitation.

The trial court overruled the magistrate’s decision, and granted visitation rights to the grandparents under the court’s standard visitation schedule for non-residential parents.

The Seventh District’s decision

The Seventh District agreed that the best interest factors supported visitation rights for the grandparents, but reversed the trial court’s ruling on two grounds.

First, the Seventh District held that the father’s due process rights were violated. Ohio law presumes that a fit parent acts in the child’s best interests. The trial court must give some special weight to the parent’s wishes, but the parent’s wishes are not the sole determining factor and they should not be placed ahead of the child’s best interest. The court’s duty is to protect the child’s best interest. The magistrate’s ruling indicated that he gave special weight to the father’s wishes, but that the trial court did not give recognition or special weight to the father’s opposition to visitation nor to his concerns regarding the child’s separation anxiety.

Second, the Seventh District held that it was improper for the trial court to issue a standard order of visitation. The standard visitation schedule included visitation every Wednesday evening, overnight visits on alternating weekends, and alternate visitation on all major holidays, the child’s birthday, and school vacations, including one-half of the child’s summer vacations. The appellate court stated that there is no court precedent for such an order, and that it extended even beyond the schedule which the grandparents had requested. The case was sent back to the trial court with instructions to establish a more limited, reasonable visitation schedule.

Contact an attorney

Individuals involved in family law matters such as child custody and visitation are urged to consult with a competent attorney for the protection of their legal rights.

Amy M. Levine
View Profile

Our Latest Blog Posts

How to prepare financially for a divorce

Ohio is an equitable property division state, which means that you might be entitled to a majority share of a marital estate in a final divorce settlement. However, even if you are expecting to receive valuable assets as part of such a settlement, you'll still need to...

What to know about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test

Chapter 7 bankruptcy gives consumers in Columbus, Ohio, a legal way to remove burdening debt they can no longer handle. Only unsecured debts, such as medical and credit card debt, can get erased in bankruptcy. The secured debts, those that are backed by collateral,...

Contesting a Will During Probate in Ohio

When Ohio residents put together their wills and estates, they do everything in their power to make sure that they've covered all of their bases. They usually work with attorneys to make sure that their beneficiaries are clearly indicated, and they work on an asset...

7 steps to take after a car accident

In an instant, a car accident can change your life. You just could be on your way to work and a large SUV rams into the rear of your car. You could suffer serious injuries – broken bones, a traumatic brain injury and a back injury. Or a distracted driver could fail to...

What happens to a home in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

It may be possible to keep your Ohio home after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, that will depend on how much equity that you have in the property. Furthermore, you'll need to remain current on your home loan to retain ownership of the property. Let's take a...

Visit Our Blog

Contact Us For A
Free Consultation