Ohio Grandparents Rights: Important Changes In Custody Laws

  • By: Maya
  • Date: April 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Since 2009, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3111.02 has included grandparents as legal guardians of their grandchildren in the event that the grandchild’s parents are deceased, absent, or unable to care for the child. This law gives grandparents a stronger legal right to custody than they previously had. Grandparents also have a right to be consulted on important decisions concerning their grandchildren and can petition the court for visitation rights.

What has changed?:

Since 2007, grandparents in Ohio have had a legal right to custody of their grandchildren unless the parents are deceased or missing. This change is part of a larger trend across the United States where grandparents are gaining more legal rights and responsibilities. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, since 2007, 19 states have passed laws granting grandparents more rights with regard to their grandchildren. In Ohio, this change took effect on October 1st, 2007. Prior to that date, grandparents had no legal right to custody of their grandchildren unless the parents were deceased or missing. The purpose of this article is to explore why grandparents are gaining more rights and responsibilities with regards to their grandchildren and what implications this has for families in Ohio.

Grandparents often play a crucial role in raising children after their parents die or disappear.

Now what?:

Grandparents in Ohio now have new rights if they want custody of their grandchildren. Previously, grandparents had to go through the courts to get custody, but now if the parents are deemed unfit, have died, or are missing, grandparents can seek custody themselves. This change was made in response to a case where a grandparent fought for custody of her grandchildren after their mom disappeared and their dad became abusive.

How to file for custody?:

To file for custody of a grandchild in Ohio, grandparents must file a motion with the court and prove that they have a significant relationship with the child. In most cases, this means that the grandparents must be able to show that they are more like parents to the child than any other relatives. The grandparents also need to provide evidence of their financial stability and ability to care for the child.

What if the parents don’t want me to?:

If the parents do not want the grandparents to have custody, they have a right to contest the motion. However, if the grandparents can prove that they are a good fit for the child and will provide a stable and loving environment, courts are more likely to award custody to them. It is important for grandparents to understand their rights and how to best advocate for themselves in order to ensure that they receive custody of their grandchildren.


In conclusion, Ohio’s custody laws have changed to be more in favor of grandparents. This is important, as grandparents often provide stability and support for their grandchildren during difficult times. If you are a grandparent who is seeking custody of your grandchild, or if you are a parent who is considering giving up custody to a grandparent, be sure to consult with an attorney to learn more about your rights and options under Ohio law.

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