It is a common misperception that grandparents have no rights regarding parenting time (or in some cases) custody. Fortunately, this is not true. In fact, more grandparents are raising children than ever before. According to a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, 7 million grandparents had at least one grandchild living with them, and 2.7 million were responsible for a grandchild’s basic needs.
Overall, one in 10 children live with a grandparent.
However, grandparent’s rights are not automatically granted as a matter of law. Those who seek to have their rights recognized by Ohio family courts must file a petition similar to that of a non-custodial parent (i.e. an unmarried father).
The court will consider a number of factors in determining whether parenting time with grandparents is in the child’s best interests, including:
• The child’s overall health and safety
• The location of the grandparent’s home relative to where the child lives
• The child’s age
• Any wishes or concerns raised by the parents
• Any criminal conviction involving child abuse or neglect
There are a number of additional legal hurdles that must be cleared before a grandparent may be granted parenting time, especially in situations involving unmarried parents. With paternal grandparents (parents of an unmarried father), the legal recognition of a biological relationship between the father and child must be established before grandparents’ rights can be recognized.
Petitions for parenting time may be filed as part of a divorce, child support proceeding or custody matter. If you have additional questions about your rights as a grandparent, an experienced family law attorney can help.
Source: About.com, Grandparents rights in Ohio