Grandparent Visitation in Ohio

Published Date Written by Erik L. Smith

Grandparent visitation in Ohio where the child was born in wedlock and one parent died either during the marriage or after the divorce.


In Ohio, the right of grandparents to associate with their grandchildren is not constitutional, but purely statutory. [1] Where the child was born in wedlock, the General Assembly authorizes grandparent visitation only where the parents' marriage is no longer intact through divorce, annulment, dissolution, or a child support proceeding. [2] That discrimination is facially constitutional. [3] In all cases involving fit parents, courts give the parents' wishes about visitation special weight. [4]


The statutes do not address specifically the rights of grandparents where the grandchild was born in wedlock and the natural parent died during the marriage. [5] But where the parent died after a divorce, if a motion for grandparent visitation was not filed in the divorce proceeding, the court can consider a motion for grandparent visitation filed later. [6] If the visitation motion was filed during the divorce, then the court may need to find a change in circumstances. [7]


After giving the parent's wishes appropriate weight, a child's best interest applies under R.C. 3109.051(D).[8] [9]


In re Martin (1994), 68 Ohio St.3d 250, 252 and 254; In re Schmidt (1986), 25 Ohio St.3d 331. 
R.C. 3109.051(B)(1) 
Harrold v. Collier, 107 Ohio St.3d 44, 2005-Ohio 5334, par. 44 following Troxel v. Granville (2000), 530 U.S. 57. 
See R.C. 3109.11-12. 
R.C. 3109.051(B)(2). 
R.C. 3109.051(B)(2). 
In re Martin,In re Kaiser, 2004-Ohio-7208 (7th Dist.) at pars. 12-14. 
3109.051(B) states: "(1) In a divorce...the court may grant reasonable...visitation rights to any grandparent if all of the following apply: (a) The grandparent...files a motion with the court seeking companionship or visitation rights. (b) The court determines that the grandparent, relative, or other person has an interest in the welfare of the child. (c) The court determines that the granting of the companionship or visitation rights is in the best interest of the child. (2) A motion may be filed under division (B)(1) of this section during the pendency of the divorce..or, if a motion was not filed at that time or was filed at that time and the circumstances in the case have changed, at any time after a decree or final order is issued in the case."


The Ohio Putative Father Registry–the WHAT?

I am a single man. Yet I had been in Ohio for over a year before hearing of the Ohio Putative Father Registry, and then only in a Probate Law class. The professor was covering how a child could be adopted without the birth father's consent. "ORC 3701.061: A man who has sexual intercourse with a woman is on notice that if a child is born as a result and the man is the putative father, the child may be adopted without his consent pursuant to division (B) of section 3107 of the Revised Code." That section required the man sign the Putative Father Registry within thirty days after the birth to get notice of the adoption.


Ohio Putative Father Registry: The Basics

Unwed fathers are entitled to notice of petitions to adopt their biological children. Yet many fathers lose this right by not registering timely with the Ohio putative father registry (PFR).1R.C. 3107.062. Because adoptions are probate proceedings, lawyers practicing juvenile, domestic relations, or traditional probate law may not understand how the Ohio PFR applies.  At initial consultations then, attorneys may omit counseling fathers about the registry and refer them to attorneys with more specialized experience. But the strict registration deadline, and often unknown deadline date, demand that the father register immediately. Thus the attorney should consider counseling the client about the PFR and help him register that day before referring him. This article gives the information needed to do that.

Preventing Your Infant Child From Being Adopted Without Your Consent


Consult an adoption law or family law attorney. Otherwise: An unwed father has no absolute right to veto an adoption. You must take action to preserve your rights. Whether the mother is considering adoption or not, an unwed father should, as soon as possible and preferably before the birth:

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