When the parents of a minor child divorce, have their marriage dissolved or annulled, or legally separate, the court may issue an order affording parenting time to the nonresidential parent. Visitation may be granted to grandparents or other relatives if a child’s parents have their marriage terminated or are unmarried, or a parent dies. Local courts have considerable discretion in granting parenting time and visitation rights, as they are required by state law to determine what serves the child’s best interest. State statutes and state and local court rules guide their decisions. The following brief summation illustrate the court’s views.
Parenting Time and Visitation: When and to Whom Granted
When Married Parents Terminate Marriage or Separate In a divorce, dissolution, annulment, or legal separation proceeding involving a child for whom the court has not issued a shared parenting decree,1 the court must issue an order granting just and reasonable parenting time rights to the nonresidential parent, unless it determines that parenting time would not be in the child’s best interest. The order must specify a schedule of parenting time. If the court determines parenting time would not be in the child’s best interest, it must publish in its journal the findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting that determination.
Grandparents and other persons may request visitation rights by filing a motion while a divorce, dissolution, annulment, legal separation, or child support proceeding is pending or at any time after the final order is issued in the case. The court may grant reasonable visitation rights to a grandparent or other person who files a motion if it determines that the person has an interest in the child’s welfare and granting visitation is in the child’s best interest.
When Parents are not Married
If a child is born to an unmarried woman, the woman’s parents or other relatives may file a complaint asking the common pleas court of the county in which the child resides to grant them reasonable visitation rights. The child’s father and any of his relatives may file a complaint requesting reasonable parenting time or visitation rights if he has acknowledged paternity in accordance with Ohio law or has been determined to be the child’s father pursuant to a paternity proceeding. The court may grant parenting time or visitation rights if it determines that doing so is in the child’s best interest.