Watching your child go through a divorce is a heartbreaking experience. When your grandchildren are involved, it can be even more difficult as you worry about how the divorce will affect them — and how it will impact your ability to spend time with them. Divorces can get ugly, and the fallout may result in a set of grandparents losing contact with their grandchildren. This situation can be devastating for the grandchildren, who may lose an important bond with their grandparents. In most states, grandparents have no right to visitation with their grandchildren. However, in Ohio, grandparents may seek visitation and may also be able to obtain custody of their grandchildren in limited circumstances.
Since 1990, Paul Panico has shepherded families through the legal system. As a dedicated family law attorney, Paul has served clients in Columbus and the surrounding areas for nearly thirty years. He will fight to protect the rights of grandparents to see their grandchildren, negotiating agreements or taking the matter to court if necessary to secure visitation or custody. He offers free consultations and will work diligently to achieve the best possible results for your grandparents’ rights case.
Ohio is unique in that it recognizes a right for grandparents to visit or even obtain custody of their grandchildren in certain situations. A court may award visitation to grandparents when it is in the best interests of the child when the parents separate or divorce; a parent of the child has died or the child was born to an unmarried mother. In addition, when children have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services requires case workers to make arrangements for grandparents to have visitation with their grandkids.
In any of the above situations, grandparents will likely need the assistance of a skilled family law attorney to advise them and advocate for them in court and within the child welfare system. For visitation rights outside of the child welfare system, a court must consider any agreement made by the parents during mediation, along with the same statutory factors considered in custody cases. This may include the health and safety of the child, the wishes of both the parents and the child, and the location of the grandparents’ residence relative to where the child lives.
As a general rule, grandparents do not have custodial rights over their grandchildren. However, if it can be demonstrated that the child’s parents are unfit or unsuitable, then the grandparents may be awarded custody if it is in the best interests of the child. In these cases, Children’s Services is usually involved, and the children may be in state custody. That is why it is critical for grandparents to obtain counsel and seek custody as soon as possible after learning that the children have been removed.
Going to court to prove that your child is an unfit parent is a difficult proposition for any grandparent, but it may be necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of your grandchildren. Paul Panico understands the challenge of seeking custody in this situation. He represents grandparents with compassion and skill, knowing that the process can be incredibly stressful for all involved parties. He will work with his clients to ensure that the best interests of the children are protected, and will strive to ensure that the children are not stuck in the system unnecessarily.
Paul Panico is a compassionate attorney with decades of experience in Ohio family law. He will help grandparents secure visitation so that they can continue their relationship with their grandchildren or custodial rights to keep the children safe. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation, at no cost or obligation to you.