Photo of Greco Law attorneys in office conference room

When can grandparents get legal guardianship of grandchildren in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2021 | Grandparents' Rights |

It’s a tragedy when parents are unfit to give their children the safe and happy life that they deserve. It is even more sad when the child facing this predicament is your own grandchild. If you know that you could provide a better life for your grandchild than the one that their parents are currently giving them, then you may be wondering what needs to happen before an Ohio court would decide to grant you guardianship of your grandchild.

How courts decide custody arrangements

Ohio courts make all of their decisions regarding child custody with the best interest of the child in mind. In other words, the court will not just follow the parents’ wishes for the child – in fact, the court can establish an order that goes directly against the parents’ wishes, if it is in the best interest of the child to do so.

However, when it comes to parental rights, courts start out with the presumption that it is best for the children to be with one of their parents in most circumstances. Thus, you may have to face the challenge of proving to the court that your grandchild would be better off with you than with their parents – such as by proving that the child’s parents are unfit for parental duties.

If you can do so, the court has the authority to issue a court order granting you legal guardianship or even adoption of the child, depending upon the circumstances.

Legal guardianship vs adoption

Essentially, a guardianship is a temporary arrangement whereby someone takes on responsibility for caring for a child until a specific event occurs – such as when the child reaches adulthood.

If the court appoints you as the legal guardian of your grandchild, the child’s parents could still retain their parental rights. For example, you might have to comply with a court-established visitation schedule.

On the other hand, if the court strips the child’s parents of all parental rights and approves your adoption of the child, then you effectively become their parent, with all of the rights and responsibilities that come with it. This is a permanent relationship that will continue even after the child reaches adulthood.

No child should have to suffer the pain of being taken from their parents. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary for their protection and well-being. With luck, you will be able to give your grandchild a much better life than they otherwise would have had.