OH Supreme Court rules in favor of grandparent visits


#1

I find this to be one of the more interesting areas of child and guardian law, where what’s in child’s interest isn’t necessarily that important. In some cases, it may be clearly better for a child to have his grandparents raise him, but the law generally gives parents that right nonetheless.

Here, it looks like the court did do what’s in the interest of the child by requiring grandparent visitation, but it seems to have done so only because of the extended time the grandparents had already spent with her.

Grandparents Given Rights by Ohio Court

By James Dao
New York Times
Published: October 11, 2005

Ohio’s highest court unanimously ruled yesterday that the grandparents of an 8-year-old girl must be allowed to visit her over the objections of her father, upholding the constitutionality of a state law granting nonparents visitation rights to children.

The decision by the Supreme Court of Ohio comes at a time when parents across the nation have been challenging the constitutionality of such laws. While courts in some states, like Florida and Washington, have struck down those laws, courts in others have upheld them.

The Ohio court’s ruling came in a bitter legal battle over Brittany Collier, who was born to a single mother, Renee Harrold, in 1997. She was raised for the first two years of her life by her mother, who lived with her parents, court records show.

In 1999, Ms. Harrold died of cancer, and her parents, Gary and Carol Harrold, were granted temporary legal custody of Brittany…


#2

Yes, the relationship was obviously well established and pre-existing. The child would have been asked what she wanted as well.

These laws are not blanket ways for grandparents to get visitation of grandchildren where parents have decided it is not in the child’s best interests to have that grandparent in their life. These laws were designed to be there for grandparents who have a pre-existing relationship with a grandchild that is being impeded by divorce or seperation. Where the parents are both married and the decision has been made by them to distance themselves and a child from a particular grandparent/grandparents the court will rule in favour of the parents, not the grandparents.


#3

I have mixed feelings about this. I worry about parental rights getting repeatedly chipped away. (i.e. abortion parental notification, etc.). I know if something happened to DH I can forsee problems with my MIL under this law. Not that I would want to cut the kids out of her life (she doesn’t really give them the time of day now) but she really is mentally unstable (something DH knows and admits to) and she also thinks nothing of undermining their Catholic upbringing behind my back. Which once DH is out of the picture to put her in her place, there is nothing stopping her from degrading their Catholic beliefs when they’re around her. Which if it became a problem, I would have to cut her contact off from the kids and I would be furious if some judge interfered with that decision.

On the other hand, my parents are extremely close to my kids. They are almost like second parents to them and if something happened to me it would be devastating to both the kids and my parents if DH wouldn’t let them see eachother. (I don’t think DH would necessarily do that, but some parents would)


#4

I think the judge did a good job on this one.

I don’t think this situation even beings to resemble a normal (yes, NORMAL- it’s NORMAL to be married, stay married, and have and raise kids together) home of a married mom and dad raising their family. You are doing a really good job at normal, masondoggy, no matter how it might feel some days.

This is not normal.

I can’t imagine where Daddy-dear was the first five years, but it seems that whatever judge ruled for Daddy to get custody in the first place did not take into account the fact that if the man was out of the child’s life for at least five years, those years cannot be “made up” in a matter of months. Any good psychologist would testify that it takes a lot of time to build a relationship with a child, that a child is a person, not a piece of property, to be awarded simply because a man impregnated a woman (or worse, a boy impregnated a girl). I really like adoption for this very reason.

I worry a little because my ex-son-in-law has not seen his daughters excepting one weekend their whole lives, and the eldest is in first grade. He hadn’t seen them for two years (the little one was two), and expected to be able to go into court to get them for two weeks and take them to to his home state. The judge told him then if he could find supervision, he could see them. He showed up hung over- I was the supervisor. He has refused to cooperate with the courts on psychological testing, parental classes, etc., because he thinks by simply having assisted in their creation, he is entitled to call himself “dad”. He has four other children with three other women, and married an underage teenager while he was in his 30s.

We help our daughter as much as we can. We are there for our granddaughters every step of the way.

Yet, if- God forbid- anything happens to my daughter, there is a possibilty a court could award this guy custody, simply because he gave them DNA.


#5

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]I think the judge did a good job on this one.

I don’t think this situation even beings to resemble a normal (yes, NORMAL- it’s NORMAL to be married, stay married, and have and raise kids together) home of a married mom and dad raising their family. You are doing a really good job at normal, masondoggy, no matter how it might feel some days.

This is not normal.

I can’t imagine where Daddy-dear was the first five years, but it seems that whatever judge ruled for Daddy to get custody in the first place did not take into account the fact that if the man was out of the child’s life for at least five years, those years cannot be “made up” in a matter of months. Any good psychologist would testify that it takes a lot of time to build a relationship with a child, that a child is a person, not a piece of property, to be awarded simply because a man impregnated a woman (or worse, a boy impregnated a girl). I really like adoption for this very reason.

I worry a little because my ex-son-in-law has not seen his daughters excepting one weekend their whole lives, and the eldest is in first grade. He hadn’t seen them for two years (the little one was two), and expected to be able to go into court to get them for two weeks and take them to to his home state. The judge told him then if he could find supervision, he could see them. He showed up hung over- I was the supervisor. He has refused to cooperate with the courts on psychological testing, parental classes, etc., because he thinks by simply having assisted in their creation, he is entitled to call himself “dad”. He has four other children with three other women, and married an underage teenager while he was in his 30s.

We help our daughter as much as we can. We are there for our granddaughters every step of the way.

Yet, if- God forbid- anything happens to my daughter, there is a possibilty a court could award this guy custody, simply because he gave them DNA.

[/quote]

Yes, I agree with you that that is ridiculous. I don’t know what these judges are thinking sometimes? I could see giving the Dad visitation rights, but to drag the kid away from her grandparents who raised her is just cruel and heartless. That’s why I hope and pray that the fate and well-being of my kids never ends up in a judges hands…


#6

Follow-up on this story: US Supreme Court let stand the ruling of the Ohio court, rejecting the father’s appeal.

Court Sidesteps Grandparents’ Rights Case

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider making it harder for grandparents to win visitation rights, rejecting an appeal from a dad who went to jail to fight a court-ordered visitation.

Brian Collier had asked the justices to strike down Ohio visitation laws, on grounds that they interfere with parents’ rights to raise their families free from government interference.

Collier, who never married the mother, later won custody of his daughter but refused to let the girl see her maternal grandparents.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the girl should be allowed to maintain contact with the grandparents who had raised her until she was 5 years old.

‘‘Any statute allowing any non-parent visitation rights in contravention of a fit parent’s wishes is repugnant to that parent’s constitutional rights,’’ [Collier’s lawyer] wrote in the appeal.


#7

Looking at my own situation, I’m glad that there is precedent for the courts to mandate my parents (and my inlaws too) ability to mantain a continued presence in my kids lives should something happen to me. It ought to be very much a case by case basis and not in situations where both parents had previously agreed to keep thier kids away from thier grandparents, but there needs to be that flexibility in the courts. Considering my (probably soon ex-)wife wouldn’t even let her parents see our kids and tried to hide them from me to use them as bargaining chips when I inisted she get better mental help, I feel sure she’d also isolate them from my family if I was out of the picture.

Mine is a long story. I currently have full custody, she gets supervisied visitation a few hours each Saturday and Sunday, and she’s still seeing her therapist of 5 years that helped put her up to running with the kids and filing (almost immediately ruled out) child abuse charges against me when the priest we’d seen for marriage counseling for 7 months agreed it was time for her to change her mental health treatment. I’ve also been accused of doing almost everything she’s said her parents did, which has me fairly well convinced she’d been falsely accusing them the whole time too, so I’m taking the kids to see them when I can, we’ve already tripled the number of times they’d seen our youngest.


#8

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