Who can ask for court-ordered Grandparent Visitation?


In Ohio, grandparents and other relatives can obtain an order of visitation with a child only under certain circumstances.

Married parents have the ultimate right to decide with whom their child has contact.


Grandparents may ask a court for a visitation order with a grandchild if:

  1. The grandchild’s parents are or were involved in a divorce, dissolution, legal separation, annulment or child support court case.

  2. One or both of the natural parents die.

  3. The grandchild’s parents are not married. The mother’s parents may request visitation at any time.  The father’s parents may request visitation only after paternity has been established.

If the father dies or disappears before paternity has been legally established, paternal grandparents will have a difficult time seeking visitation.


Grandparents who are denied contact with their grandchildren may need to seek help from a professional social worker or family counselor.



How do you get the court order?


A grandparent must prove that visitation will be in the child’s best interest.


To obtain a visitation order, a grandparent must file a motion with the court.  The court must determine that the grandparent has an interest in the welfare of the child.  The court must determine that the visitation would be in the best interest of the child.


A grandparent will have to testify at a hearing and present evidence to convince a judge or magistrate to make an order.

The parents have the right to present their own evidence.Parents have the right to object to an order of visitation.



What happens once a Grandparent has the court order?


If the parents do not follow the order, a grandparent can enforce it through a motion for contempt.


Generally, a later marriage or remarriage of a parent does not affect the order.


The adoption of the child by a stranger (not a family member) or a stepparent can terminate a grandparent’s right to visitation.


The laws that apply to grandparents apply to other relatives of the child and sometimes to non-relatives who have an important interest in the welfare of the child.



Where do you file?


If the grandchild’s parents are, or have been  involved in a divorce, dissolution, legal separation, annulment or child support court case, a grandparent must file a petition in the  same court where the parents’ case is (was)  filed.


If the parents of the child are unmarried and there is no prior case, the grandparent’s petition has to be filed in the Juvenile Court in the county where the child lives.


If the child lives outside of Ohio, the law of the state where the child lives will apply to grandparent visitation.


This article is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.  Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated May 2012.