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Ohio high court rejects 2 rulings to end grandfather’s custody

Parental rights aren't removed by courts as easily as some Columbus families think. Ohio judges strive to keep parents in a child's life, whenever possible, because parent-child relationships are frequently in the best interests of the child.

A child's needs rise above the desires of other parties in a child custody dispute. Separation or divorce can cause adult inconvenience and financial upheaval, but a child's stability outranks those considerations.

Parents sometimes require someone else to care for their child temporarily, usually because of an emergency or hardship. Courts assist with temporary custody transfers with a goal of reuniting the child with a parent as soon as possible.

An Ohio grandfather had custody of his granddaughter for about a year, after petitioning a juvenile court to take over the 5-year-old's care. The child had been with her maternal grandmother temporarily, while the girl's mother attended a job interview in the state where the child and mother resided.

The parent, the girl's sole custodian since 2009, did not request her daughter's transfer to the paternal grandfather, but the juvenile court refused to reverse its decision. The case was bumped to a Toledo appeals court, where the mother again failed to secure the return of her child.

The matter recently reached the Ohio Supreme Court, where both lower courts' rulings were overturned. The majority of justices felt the juvenile court acted wrongly when it did not make contact with a court in the girl's home state. The high court also decided the temporary child support order lacked finality.

An indefinite end-date was placed on the order that gave the grandfather custody rights. The state Supreme Court justices felt further litigation could take years and harm the child, by keeping her away from her parent and home.

Grandparents do have visitation and custody rights in Ohio, but not at the expense of a fit parent-child relationship.

Source: The Blade, "Ruling returns custody of child to Ariz. mother" Blade Columbus Bureau, Dec. 17, 2013

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