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Grandparents Rights in Ohio by a Columbus Custody and Visitation Lawyer Part 1

COLUMBUS OHIO GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS ATTORNEYSA Columbus Ohio Grandparent Rights Lawyer article about Ohio grandparent rights.

This multi-part series contains a LOT of information about Grandparent Rights in Ohio, the law, the cases, and what it all means to you.  In order to help you quickly and easily find the information that YOU are looking for today, we have put together a little road map.  The first post in the series will be the Table of Contents for the entire series and a little bit about Grandparent Custody.  Don’t start snoozing yet – if grandparent custody or visitation is part of your life, or if you would like it to be, then put on a pot of coffee and fasten your seat belt!  Here are links to the other articles in the series:

Part 1 (Table of Contents, Unsuitability), Part 2 (Unsuitable aka Unfit, Never Married, Guardianship, Probate Court, Temporary Custody vs. Legal Custody), Part 3 (Custody, Children Services cases), Part 4 (Custody, Children Services cases, Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children), Part 5(Custody, Visitation in general), Part 6 (Visitation, Married Parents), Part 7 (Visitation, Unmarried Parents, Unmarried vs. Married Parents, Parent Deceased), Part 8 (Filing the Right Motion), Part 9 (Grandparent Caretaker Affidavit, Grandparent Power of Attorney)



  • Unsuitability (Unfit) and How it Relates to Parents Who Were Married
  • Unsuitability or Unfit & How it Relates to Parents Who Were Never Married
  • Unsuitability (Unfit) & How it Relates to Guardianship in Probate Court
  • Temporary Custody vs. Legal Custody and How it Relates to Unsuitability / Unfit
  • Unsuitability / Unfit and How it Relates to Cases in Which a Child is Adjudicated to be Abused, Neglected or Dependent (Children’s Services Cases)
  • Ohio Grandparent Rights To Seek Or Provide Kinship Care, Temporary Custody, Visitation, Or Custody When The Child Is In The Custody Of Children Services, Family And Youth Services, Department Of Human Services Or A Similar Agency
  • Modification of Grandparent Custody


A. Ohio Grandparent Visitation When The Parents Of The Child Are Or Were Married When The Child Was Born

B.  Grandparent Visitation In Ohio When The Parents Of The Child Were Not Married When The Child Was Born

C.  Comparison Of Ohio Grandparent Visitation Rights With Children Who Were Born During Wedlock And Children Who Were Born Out Of Wedlock

D.  Ohio Grandparents Visitation When One Of The Parents Of The Child Is Deceased



4) OHIO GRANDPARENT CARETAKER AFFIDAVIT – A Temporary Solution For Situations When Parents Are Absent And Did Not Give Grandparents A Power Of Attorney



In the Ohio Supreme Court case In re Hockstok, 98 Ohio St.3d 238, 2002-Ohio-7208, gives an interesting discussion of whether a finding of unsuitability is necessary in cases where the parents were married.  One of the things that is most interesting about the Hockstok discussion of the necessity of finding unsuitability (whether a case is in juvenile court or domestic court) is the fact that the discussion in Hockstok is all dicta (discussion by a Judge in a decision which not part of the holding of the case).  The reason the discussion is all dicta is the Hockstok case did not involve a case where the parents were married.

COLUMBUS OHIO GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS ATTORNEYSOn the one hand, in Hockstok, the Supreme Court discusses the position that natural parents have fundamental rights, and that custody should not be awarded to a non-parent, either in a domestic relations case, or in a juvenile court case, absent a finding of unsuitability.  The Supreme Court went on to discuss constitutional rights under the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Section 16, Article I of the Ohio Constitution.

On the other hand, in Hockstok, the Supreme Court distinguishes the case at hand from other supreme cases which upheld a decision of a domestic relations court which made NO finding of unsuitability.  The problem is, Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(D)(2) controls custodial rights to a non-parent when the parents were married and have filed a divorce, dissolution, annulment, legal separation or child support actions, and that statute does NOT require a finding of unsuitability in order to award custody to a non-parent.  Instead it only requires that the court find that it is not in the child’s best interest that either parent be the residential parent and legal custodian.  This is not an oversight.  There used to be a requirement of unsuitability in Ohio in any award of custody to a non-parent, and 3109.04 has changed this requirements when the parents were married and are now having some sort of legal disruption.  Absent the parents initiating this litigation, there is no right for a non-relative to request custody, but once the parents file, the standard is low, compared to the unsuitability standard for parents who were never married.

The Supreme Court of Ohio likely knows that that the current version of 3109.04 has constitutional problems, and that a challenge is coming.  The dicta in the Hockstok case gives the public an inkling of what to expect from the Supreme Court if an when this challenge happens.  As a remedial measure, some jurists recommend that parties and their attorneys should assert, and a court should find unsuitability before making any award of custody to a non-relative in Ohio.

DISCLAIMER – read it!


  1. H says

    Thank you for your much needed help in giving me a better understanding on how Ohio/Law & the court handles its cases

  2. T says

    I live in northern michigan. My daughter and her boyfriend are doing drugs. I have talked to both of them about going to in house rehab. They will not. Neither of them work. My daughter is 27 , her boyfriend is 30. The boyfriend’s mother helps take care of the kids. She had blinders on. They all live on the same run down block in youngstown. I am very worried about my grandkids. My husband and i are foster parent here in Michigan. I really want to seek custody of my grandkids. Michigan DHS told me I should go to the county where they live a file for temporary custody. My 7 yr old granddaughter wants to come and live with us. She has no life where she is at. My grandson will be 3 on Jan 23rd. What are my rights and what will I be looking at in doing so. My plan right now is to drive down to youngstown next week. I thought I would go to Ohio DHS and see what I should do and what my rights are. I am very fearful for my grandkids. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  3. Anonymous says

    My son is 14 and got a 17 year old girl pregnant. The 17 year old abuses marijuana, alcohol and cocain and I feel she and my son are unable to properly care for this child. Her parents are not supporting her. I have offered my support and currently take her to doctor’s appointments and purchase things she may need while pregnant, etc. My son, the 14 year old, is still a minor and under my guardianship, what are my rights as the grandmother? Could I possibly be given temporary custody?

  4. Anonymous says

    Looking for good attorney for grandparents to gain custody. School has become involved in the declining health of the child. Mother is deceased, father has criminal record. Time to file emergency custody?

  5. J says

    I am a grandmother of a 8yr old who has lived with me for the past 7yrs I have sole custody of her for 2 yrs I tried to make sure she has a relationship with her mom and dad.Haven’t seen mother sense Oct-2014 no phone call nothing .Father has seen her two times in a year . the last time she was to stay with him and girl friend for a week Within 24hrs I had to go pick her up .The girl friend had kick both out the house . When I told the father that I was coming to get her only . He was disrespectful and hateful . pick up granddaughter started home . as she crying she told me of how scared she was and she never wanted to go back . Then she told how they fought all night and kept her up all night . She all so told a story about how the girl friend got mad at her and her dad and got two bottles of pills and went into the bathroom to take all of them because she was tried of living . She told how she was scared for her and that her dad wasn’t going to be able to get the door open in time. She ask why she didn’t want to live I ask her what did Dad say he said she was just joking . She told me that was a lie because her Dad had tears in his eyes she said he thinks I am to young to understand . She wants to see her dad but not at his house and not all the time .But now we have plains to move to Portland from Ohio and start a new life there . don’t know if I can or not . help please. God Bless

  6. K says

    I live in Washington state and my grandson lives in Ohio, his mother is in rehab in Ohio an his dad has custody of him. When I am in town I want to be able to visit my grandson. At the time I have no contact with him at all what can I do please help

  7. J says

    Iam a mother to two boys and on step son ( the father and I are mot married but ive been with the child since birth so I claim him as mt own. Since my fiances ex wife lost all custody and he was granted full cusrody in a very long 8 monrh court battle we get hit with visitaion papers from my fiances father. We do not allow our children to go over there bscause of their acholism and the way that mt two children were treated bevause his wide does not like me because my fiance mo lonfer had to depend on her for doc appts school events ect. I took carr of ot all. Iam unable ro afford a lawyer at rhis time due to the fact weve have temp cusrody of his son since november and mt fience had a heart attack wasnt expected to live on dec 17th ao I have been worling mt but off to provide for 3 children and my partner. Is there anytime of help out rhere for me? To keep mt xhildren safe? They would verbally and physically abuse my oldest son jist because he was not my fiance son. I fear foe the safety of my youngest son to be over there without my supervision. Please please please help me.

  8. K says

    We are grandparents that live in Florida and are needing help in getting temporary custody of our two granddaughters that live in Ohio. Our daughter and her husband are involved in drugs and can not take care of our granddaughters. Time is ticking and need some advice on how to take steps so our grandchildren are safe! I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

  9. L says

    My daughter is fighting for custody of her two daughters. She missed a schedule court date due two deaths in our family. the Judge awarded the father custody (my daughter gets them only on the weekend), my grandkids father has never been in their lives they don’t even know him. He is behind on child support. I feel that the court system is punishing my daughter for missing her court date, which I understand Judges time is valuable. I am seeking any advice or directions to help my daughter from losing custody of her children. I don’t understand how the courts can award a man who doesn’t work and is behind on child support be allowed to have custody of kids. I am in the military and these grandkids lives in my home and I have been the person that has been providing support for these kids. Pleases help even if I have to set up payments plans I am willing to do that.

  10. MA says

    I feel that in todays society that the courts should help grandparents to keep a relationship with the children.I see today that there are so many grandparents and other relatives raising the children and there are not enough help out there.

  11. says

    I have a 3 year old grandson by my son and a women he is NOT married to but live together. She has denied me the right to see my grandson. I can not afford to retain an attorney. How can I go about filing an action against her so I can be with my grandson? I have watched him and he has spent many a night with me since he has been born. Now she has denied me the right to be with him anymore. All of this has occured within a three day period of her last bringing him over for me to watch for the day when his daycare was closed. Now suddenly, I can no longer see him.

  12. CM says

    My son has established paternity for his daughter but the women whom he never married wont let him see her because he no longer wishes to have a relationship with her(the mother). If the state really wants fathers in the childs life there needs to revisions.He pays child support so why is he not entilted to visitation?

  13. SB says

    I would like to know if I have the right to be grant reasonable companionship and visitation with my granddaughter. My son and his girlfriend have not allowed us any time to visit with our granddaughter; in over 3 months now. My son has brought her to my home on one occassion and the girlfriend was mad; she told my son he was not to bring my granddaughter to my home again!!!! My son has brought her to see us 3 times in 6 months, due to the girlfriend. I am not allowed to see her anymore; it has been over three months since I last saw my granddaughter. The girlfriend is very controlling & doesn’t want my husband, my youngest son, or I to be apart of her life. My youngest son just turned 13 and doesn’t understand why he can not see his niece and cries. My 13 yr. old son has autism and is confused; it is very hard to make him understand why we are not aloow to see my granddaughter. It has been very hard on our family and hurts that we can not have a relationship with my her. Most of all it breaks my heart that my son suffers the most; because he is unable to understand why his brother is doing this to our family. We supported our son and allowed him to live with us and provided all his needs. We supported him all threw college; we gave him a truck for graduation from High School. I was and still am a very good mother; I have made my fair mistakes over the years, but I have learned from them. I love my boys with all my heart and have sacifice alot over the years for them. I always made sure they were well taken care of. Doctors, Dentists appts. and anything else they needed. All my husband and I want is a chance to get to know our granddaughter. They take my granddaughter around people who are bad influence on her. I have all the documents to prove that one person has 2 domestic violance charges against her; one towards her ex and one towards a 1 yr. old child. Not to mention all the other poeple who are bad influence. Can you help us in get rights to see our granddaughter?

  14. DK says

    My son has a seven year old daughter with a young lady. They have never been married. Because of domestic issues between the two; before she was a year old; some kind of way he was denied visitation for five years. That time is up – but Mom still says NO. Since that time he has gotten married; had other children and we would like to see our baby girl again. Prior to them breaking up we had a very close relationship with the baby and I felt mom and I had a decent relationship. My son does pay child support- which is deducted from his check bi-weekly. I called again to see her for her birthday and again the answer is NO. I really miss seeing her and do not want to re-establish a relationship on bad terms. What are my rights and how do I correctly implement them.

  15. D says

    my florida son and i have been estranged for eight years. he has not allowed me any contact with his two sons for same amount of time.
    years ago i checked with Florida Grandparents Right Laws, to no

    recently found out boys have been living with my son’s mother/husband, my ex-wife, for several years 50 miles from me.
    not a word from her about boys or anything else. situation should
    now be under ohio law. i want unrestricted access to my two

  16. D says

    Can I as a ex step grandparent take legal guardian over my 3 yr old grandchild. Her other unfit grandparents have temp custody. The mom is trying to line herself out. She would like me to have the child under legal guardian. Can I go to court with her and ask the judge for this.

  17. need question please says

    I need some to make me understand a issue I have with sccs. on why a person with mental health.

  18. PC says

    My son had a daughter with a woman and she had brought my granddaughter over until around 2 years ago now she has married the husband who refuses to let us see my granddaughter and they have moved to PA. I am not allowed to send gifts she refuses to give me an address because her husband will not allow it. She is threating my son to sign his rights away she never wanted child support until now her husband wants to adopt the child. She comes from a lot of money which I do not have. The child’s mother was adopted, but we are my granddaughters only blood relatives that she will ever know. How can I get visitation as a grandparent. Is there a set price. Can I file a motion on my own. Thank you for any information. It’s sad when being poor will force you to lose part of your soul.

  19. d says

    my husband and i are still together, we have a young daughter. his step mother and father havent seen or spoken to our child in 6 months. they have yelled and cussed us out saying we are keeping her away. we tried to let them see her but they began attacking us and yelling infront of our child. once we ended it they have been saying terrible things about us to anyone who will listen. now they are threatening us with grandparents rights. is there anyway they could get granted this?

  20. R says

    My wife and I are the grandparents of our 3 grandchildren which currently belong to our daughter. We are seeking to get custody of them, as she has a drinking problem, she moves them constantly and the oldest is constantly changing schools. She also mentally abusive to them. Is it possible for us to get custody? We are 48 years old.

  21. V says

    REVIEW: Daughter 16,pregnant and talking abortion. Then living in Wisconsin packed up and left for Ohio where there is mostly family contact and less likely help with previous procedure. Happy loving baby girl staying in our home until mother came to retrieve her last night even with her stating” Please, I don’t want to go with you!!”. They have moved into a government funded apartment with mother’s boyfriend and daughters younger son. The boyfriend is the father of the younger boy but pays no support. We are worried for my grand-daughters safety PLEASE HELP

  22. Anonymous says

    My son and daughter in-law had a disolussionment 3 yrs ago. I called family court. I was told that as a grandmother I had no rights. My son would have to intitate them. Until recently. I was told by a friend that grandparents do have rigfht in the state of Ohio. The grandchildren, girl yrs. and the boy 14 yrs. Share the same bedroom, There are occassions where the mother sometimes sleep with the boy. She has let the girl stay with her boyfriends house for over 8 days. She has lost her job as a school bus driver due to intocication & drugs. She is being evicted because of the neigbors complaints. The police have a dosier on her about an inch thick.
    The girl is failing school. The boy who use to be on the merit roll each year. Is now getting terrible grades. Their Dad tried to get them into conseling. The refused to go and the mother made no attempt to encourage them. Their father, who is in law enforement has his hands tied because they can lie verberly abuse him with profaniety and he can do nothing. If he did punish them it would never be carried out by the mother. It’s a very difficult situation when you have a house will no rules or goals compared to a home with quidlines. It breaks my heart in two to see these porecious children go down the path of destruction. They were such good children. I still believe there is a chance to help save them to be constructive individuals again. Providing they get the right counseling. Don’t know if any one can help me. I would be open to any suggestions.

  23. Anonymous says

    my son died, his daughter hasn’ been the same. she got on drugs and lost her daughter, which we love very much. my sons daughter,lived with us. we are great grandma and grandpa to her daughter, which she lost..children’s services are going to give her daughter to her biological mom who has been in drugs and prison for 22 years and on ISP parole at present. has replaced crack with alcohol everynight. has had the police called to her house in may and june and her husband drinking attacked her other daughter got a demestic violenc then in june her 17 year old daughter was allowed to drink and attacked her sister and police stated both the mother and the daughter was highly intoxicated,slurred speech, smelled of alcohol she is getting permnant custody next week. my great grand daughter is three. i live in fear for her safety……..what can i do

  24. Anonymous says

    I have a current visitation order with the grandparent of 2 of my children, And currently my fiance’s job will be relocating us out west, Can I move or do I have to stay here and seperate my other children from their father?

  25. D. says

    I am a Grandmother of a 2 year old grandchild. The mother and father are not together any more. And she is mad at the my son. So she is dening , my self and other family members to see her. My mom is 78 years of age and is heart broke and I too. That we are not able to see her. I have a bedroom for my grand baby to sat with me. I have a very nice codo and I work in health care for the last 2 1/2 years. There has bein saverl time of my grand baby getting hurt in mother care. The mother dosent work. And do not know how she pays her bills. I would like to know how to go about getting getting Visitstion with my grand chld.

  26. L says

    Is it absolutely necessary to hire an attorney to get grandparent visitation rights? Or, can I simply fill out a form requesting visitation rights and file it at the court house?

  27. Anonymous says

    I need to talk to someone on grandparents rights and where I can get legal counsel for very cheap

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