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Common questions about visitation rights

In Ohio, the custodial parent is the person who retains physical custody of the child. Visitation rights are usually granted to the noncustodial parent and grandparents may be given visitation rights under certain circumstances. Here is a discussion of some commonly asked questions related to visitation rights.

Visitation rights: Basic Q and A

1. Are there situations when a parent would not be entitled to visitation with his or her child?

Ohio courts typically encourage child visitation rights for both parents in the case of divorce, separation or annulment. However, the main factor courts look at when deciding custody and visitation rights is the welfare of the child. If it is not in the best interest of the child to spend time with the noncustodial parent, visitation rights may be denied or restricted.

2. Do grandparents have visitation rights?

If grandparents believe they are not getting enough time with their grandchildren in the case of divorce, separation or annulment, they may petition the court for visitation rights. If it is found to be in the best interest of the child, the court may grant some visitation rights to the grandparents.

3. Can grandparent visitation rights be limited?

Yes, these rights can be limited in some circumstances. According to the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), courts must consider the custodial parent's wishes when granting, denying or scheduling visitation with grandparents. Additionally, a grandparent's right to visitation is terminated if the child is adopted by a new stepparent, or if circumstances change rendering grandparent visitation in opposition to the welfare of the child.

4. What is reasonable visitation?

The court may specify a fixed visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent. Alternatively, it may grant reasonable visitation rights. In this case, visitation is worked out between the parents and typically remains flexible. This is done most often in cases where the divorcing couple has gone through mediation or collaborative divorce. These alternatives work well for divorcing couples who maintain good relationships, and can make decisions solely based on the child's welfare without regard to hurt feelings or vengeance.

In the case of reasonable visitation, the custodial parent normally retains more control over the visitation schedule. However, both parents must be able to communicate freely and positively with each other, keeping the child's best interests at the forefront of their decision-making.

5. Can a visitation schedule be changed?

Yes, if it is in the best interest of the child. Changes can be requested by grandparents or either parent, but must be brought to the court with substantiating reasons for the change. If the court determines that visitation changes are being petitioned out of spite or cruelty, this will work against the petitioner and the visitation schedule is unlikely to change.

At the law offices of Rieth Antonelli & Raj, our goal is to preserve important family relationships. If necessary, we can help you litigate visitation schedules and other details at trial. Our experienced lawyers are dedicated to finding solutions to family conflicts.

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Although we resolve many cases through collaborative negotiations and other out-of-court methods,
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