The role of grandparents in any family can be nurturing and care giving. However, under the laws of certain states, grandparents may have few if any rights to take care of or visit their grandchildren. Grandparents may need to care for grandchildren in the event of divorce, abuse, death or the incarceration of a parent In the state of Ohio, there are specific guidelines that a grandparent may follow in order to seek everything from visitation rights to legal guardianship.
Read Harrold v. Collier. The US Supreme Court ruled in Troxel v. Granville that the 14th Amendment protects parents rights to raise their children and socialize them with any relative of the parents' choosing. However, under the Ohio Supreme Court ruling in Harrold v. Collier, laws determining grandparent visitations do not hinder the due process of parents since Ohio law focuses on the welfare of the child not the due process of parents. Ohio is one of the few states where grandparent visitation rights are strong enough not to interfere with Troxel.
Prepare testimony for proceedings. A court determines grandparents rights based on several factors. Testimony from the parents or grandchildren, the physical and emotional well-being of both the grandparents and the grandchild, the age of the grandchild and the availability of the grandparents. Although the law is their favor in Ohio, grandparents should prepare for this lines of questioning.
File for visitation proceedings. Grandparents can visit their grandchildren when the parents are divorced only during court-approved visitation times. Divorced parents cannot regulate when a certain grandparent can see the grandchild. Instead, the visitation times for a grandparent are structured during the parent's divorce proceedings. The court will determine if the child's welfare is improved with a grandparent visitation.
File a complaint if a parent is refusing visitation. This situation occurs mostly when a parent passes away and custody is given to the in-law parent. The grandparents on the deceased parent's side must file a visitation rights complaint to the courts. Like a divorce proceeding, the judge determines if the child's welfare is aided from the deceased parent's parents visiting the child.
Work with child custody organizations. If the child is a victim of abuse, neglected or dependent, Ohio's Public Children Services Agency (PCSA) and Private Child Placing Agency (PCPA) regulates the visitation of the child. The law is more complicated when permanent placement is required for a child. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that grandparents of abused, neglected or dependent children may not have the right to visitation after permanent placement because of an assumed role in the negligence. However, because of Harrold, Ohio courts determine grandparent visitation on a case-by-case basis.