Historically, grandparents and other relatives have not had legal rights to see children after their parents seek divorce. It was generally considered an issue that the parents could decide upon, solely or collectively, but recent legislation throughout the country aims to extend legal powers to other family members. Ohio is one of the early states that allowed grandparents legal rights to visitation, though laws may not protect visitation rights to other members of the family, such as aunts or uncles. A recent article describes how another state is now passing legislation in order to allow grandparents and other family members to have court-sanctioned contact with children of divorces.
One state recently enacted laws that will allow grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles and aunts to seek reasonable visitation rights to children after their parents divorce. There are stipulations to this bill, specifically towards any relative who is not a grandparent. The court would have to find that the child or children would be significantly harmed if visitation was not allowed.
Under this bill, the parents will have the ability to petition the court for amendments or a complete revocation of these rights. The bill was originally created in order to address issues that typically arise from court cases involving child custody. Its intent is to prevent children from being torn away from important family members due to the strife between their parents during acrimonious divorces.
People in Ohio facing similar custody battles and visitation rights may benefit from discussing their situations with a family law attorney. An attorney who focuses on divorces and other areas of family law could be a good source of information regarding current shifts in legal rights with regards to visitation. They can assist in navigating through the difficult and emotional time of a divorce and discuss the various legal options available.
Source: henryherald.com, “Bill for visitation rights signed into Georgia law“, Asia Ashley, April 27, 2016