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Grandparent and Third-Party Visitation Rights in Ohio

In Ohio, a grandparent may be granted visitation rights in three situations: 1) when the child's parents are unmarried; 2) when a parent is deceased; or 3) when the parents have divorced or legally separated. The grandparents must demonstrate that they have an interest in the child's welfare, and the grandparents’ visits with the child must be determined to be in the best interests of the child. Under Ohio law, this right of visitation actually extends to “any person” related to the child by consanguinity or affinity. So, stepparents and other interested family members may also petition the Court for visitation with a child in cases where a divorce is filed or the biological parents are unmarried. Keep in mind that these rights are for visitation rights and not custody rights. Legal custody of children can be obtained in various circumstances under Ohio law. Typically, however, there must be a finding that both parents are unfit or unsuitable to act as parents for the child. The most important step in determining whether you may qualify for visitation or custody rights over your grandchild or a stepchild is to consult an experienced attorney so she can review the particular facts of your case.

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