Some Ohio residents may know that court rulings involving child custody are supposed to further the best interests of the child. However, situations that foster the best interests of the child are not always convenient for parents or other caregivers. Unmarried mothers often become aware of this when relatives of their children petition courts for visitation rights.
A man who has legally acknowledged his fatherhood of a child can petition a court in the jurisdiction where the child lives for establishing parental rights. The father's parents and other relatives can also petition the appropriate court for a reasonable visitation schedule. The child's relatives through the mother can also file a request for visitation with the child. The courts rule on these requests with the best interests of the child in mind.
The courts recognize the practical and logistical needs of an unmarried mother when devising a reasonable visitation plan. Additionally, the courts assume that the best interests of the child are furthered if the child can develop and maintain a stable relationship with both biological parents. An unmarried mother who does not want her child to have contact with the father must demonstrate that the father poses a danger to the health or safety of the child. Civil courts dealing with family law do not require supervised visits, but juvenile courts may do so if they have determined a child has been abused or neglected.
Anyone who is encountering obstacles visiting a child may wish to discuss the issue with an attorney. An attorney can discuss fathers' rights, child custody and other aspects of family law. None of the information in this article should be construed as specific legal advice.
Source: Ohio Laws and Rules, "3109.12 Mother unmarried - parenting time, companionship or visitation rights.", November 11, 2014