Yes, under some circumstances. Typically, a grandparent can seek visitation rights if the children's parents are unmarried, a parent is recently deceased, or the children's parents have filed for divorce. However, though filing for visitation is easy enough, convincing a court that visitation is appropriate may not be as simple. To acquire these rights, you must satisfactorily show that you have an interest in the children's well-being and that visitation is in the best interests of the child. This means showing that you have an established relationship with the children and that ceasing that relationship will be detrimental to them.
It is important to note that even if you are granted visitation, a court can modify or terminate those rights. The main reason visitation rights are terminated is when a parent shows that, due to changing circumstances, grandparent visitation is no longer in the children's best interests.
Also, if the grandchildren's parent has custody of the grandchildren and you are not related by blood to that parent, the parent remarries, and the new spouse adopts the children, your visitation rights automatically terminate. This is because the law in Ohio does not distinguish between step-parent and stranger adoptions. Thus, unfortunately, in this circumstance you become a legal stranger to your grandchildren.
Things can get complicated when grandparents' rights come into play. However, the bond between grandparent and grandchild can be strong. Therefore, you should consider all of your legal options should you desire to continue that relationship in the event that the child's parents divorce. One of the best ways to do this is to speak with a legal professional who will put your best interests first and will do everything possible to try to reach a fair resolution.
Source: Ohio State Bar Association, "At the Crossroads of Grandparent Visitation," accessed on Feb. 14, 2015