Divorce has a rippling effect. Though it can be easy to get tied up in one's own struggles during the dissolution of a marriage, others might be suffering from emotional hardship and uncertainty, too. This is particularly true when a child is involved in the divorce process. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members might wonder if they will ever be able to see the child again, which can leave them very concerned.
Ohio law does provide visitation protection for these individuals, provided that it supports the best interests of the child. Under the law, grandparents and other relatives, including those related to a deceased parent, can petition the court for visitation or companionship rights. In determining whether to grant such visitation, the court will look at the prior interactions with the individual seeking visitation, the location of the individual in comparison with the child's, the child's age and available time, each party's mental and physical health, all parties' criminal records and the child and parent's desires. Also, the court will consider any other factors that may play into the child's best interests.
So what does all of this mean? It means that those who wish to have visitation with a child despite divorce should be sure to know their legal rights. Since the best interests of the child is such a broad consideration, there is considerable leeway for a persuasive argument. Therefore, those who choose to seek visitation or companionship rights will have the opportunity to state why they believe the visitation will benefit the child.
Drafting compelling legal arguments is not always easy, and a slip of the tongue may give a judge cause to deny a motion for visitation or companionship time. This is why acquiring the help of a family law attorney experienced with visitation plans can be so critical.
Source: Ohio Legislature, "3109.051 Parenting time - companionship or visitation rights," accessed on Oct. 31, 2015