Grandparents may seek visitation rights with a minor child or children during custody proceedings if they have an interest in the welfare of the child(ren) and the visitation sought is determined to be in the best interest of child(ren). ORC 3109.11. A third party may also seek companionship rights with the children of deceased parents under ORC 3109.051. The court may grant reasonable companionship or visitation rights to grandparents or to “any person related to the child by consanguinity or affinity if there is a finding that the rights would be in the best interest of the children.
It is important to point out that if the grandchild lives with his or her natural married parents who are not divorcing, yet they are denying you as the grandparent, the right to visit your grandchild, there is nothing you can to intervene. The law provides complete control to the natural married parents to make decisions on what is in the best interest of their children.
The court must consider the following factors when considering the best interest of the children.
- The wishes and concerns of the parents as expressed to the court
- The child’s interactions with parents and members of the extended family
- The geographical location of the grandparent’s residence and the distance from the child’s residence
- The child’s and parents’ available time, including schedules for employment, school, holidays and vacations
- The child’s age
- The child’s adjustment at home and school and in the community
- Any wishes of the child, as expressed in chambers
- The availability of time for the child to be with his or her siblings
- The mental and physical health of all parties
- The willingness of the grandparent to reschedule missed visitation
- Any conviction of the grandparent or guilty plea by the grandparent involving a crime of child abuse or child neglect
- Any other factor in the best interest of the child
As a grandparent you also have the right to seek child support for your grandchild. If you are the parent of a unmarried minor who has children of his or her own, you may also seek child support from the other grandparents if the grandchild is living with you and your child. Prior to seeking child support, you will need to proceed.