This is the 7th installment in a series by Virginia Cornwell, a A State of Ohio Grandparent Rights Lawyer and Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist. Virginia is one of approximate 100 attorneys in Ohio to have received this honor.
State of Ohio Grandparents Rights When the Parents Were NOT Married When the Child Was BORN
Ohio Revised Code 3109.12 says that if a child is born to an unmarried woman, the parents of the woman and any relative of the mother of the child may file a complaint requesting the reasonable visitation with the child. Relatives of the father cannot petition the court for visitation with the child unless paternity of the child has been established. When grandparent or relative visitation has been requested, the court may grant the visitation if it
determines the visitation is in the best interest of the child.
The marriage or remarriage of the mother or father of a child does not affect the authority of the court to grant reasonable visitation with grandparents or relatives of either the father or the mother of the child. Note this does not apply to adoption. This means that if a mother or father is not supporting his or her child, or if the mother or father is not visiting his or her child (either/or, does not have to be both), then he or she and their entire family could lose access to the child.
Comparison of Ohio Grandparent Visitation Rights With Children
Who Were Born During Wedlock and Children Who Were Born Out of Wedlock
It is important to note the difference between non-parent visitation in situations where the child was born during marriage, and when the child was born out of wedlock. When the child was born during marriage, relatives and any other person (whether they are a relative or not) may file for visitation, but only if one of the parents have first filed an action for divorce, legal separation, dissolution, annulment, or child support. In contrast, when the child was born out of wedlock, relatives of the child’s mother have an automatic right to request grandparent visitation any time, and, if paternity has been established, relatives of the father have the same right. So, the law is more liberal about WHO may file for visitation when the parents of the child were married when the child was born, and the law is more liberal about WHEN a relative may file for visitation when the parents of the child were notmarried.
Grandparent Visitation in the State of Ohio
When One of the Parents of the Child has died.
Ohio Revised Code 3109.11 provides that if either the father or mother of an unmarried minor child is deceased (child must be unmarried, has nothing to do with the parents), the court may grant visitation to grandparents or other relatives of the deceased father or mother. It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that ORC 3109.11 also provides ” the remarriage of the surviving parent of the child or the adoption of the child by the spouse of the surviving parent of the child does not affect the authority of the court under this section to grant reasonable companionship or visitation rights with respect to the child to a parent or other relative of the child’s deceased father or mother.” This is contrary to what many people believe the law to be – but it is right there in the statute. If you are a grandparent, and your adult child is deceased, your right to request or receive grandparent visitation is NOT terminated by adoption or remarriage of the surviving parent. Check for yourself!
The other articles in the series can be seen here:
DISCLAIMER – read it!