Q&A: Grandparent Custody Battles in Ohio
In Ohio parent versus nonparent custody battles, the court must first determine that the parent is an unsuitable parent before custody can be taken from the parent and given to a nonparent.
Q: My child is living with my parents while I am getting my life in order. Do I still have rights?A: Yes. You can grant different types of custody to your parents: legal custody (rights to the care and control of your child) or temporary custody (the temporary right to have physical care and control of the child). You can also grant joint custody rights (in which case, you both share care and control) or visitation rights to your parents. In Ohio, giving a grandparent temporary custody does not mean that you have given up your full parental rights, even if you file the agreement in court. However, if your parents file for custody of your child and you did not visit or maintain contact with your child for 90 or more days, then the court may determine that you have abandoned your child and could decide that you are an unsuitable parent. If that happens, the court would likely determine that it is in your child's best interest for your parents to have full legal custody. Should this happen, you could file for custody again once you show that there has been a change of circumstances and that it is in your child's best interest for you to regain custody.
Q: I financially support my grandchild. Can I get custody?A: In order for you to get custody, a court must first find that the parent is unsuitable. Unsuitability is determined on a case-by-case basis. The fact that you are better off financially or live in a better school district than the parent is not enough to show that the parent is unsuitable. However, if the court finds that the parent is unsuitable, then the court will likely determine that it is in the child's best interest for you to have custody.
Q: I don't agree with the way my daughter is raising her child. Is that enough to show unsuitabilityA: No. Courts have explicitly held that mere character or moral weakness of the parent is not enough to show unsuitability. There must also be evidence of some detriment to or negative effect upon the child.