What Are Parental Rights?
Parental rights refer to a parent’s rights to make important decisions and take certain actions on behalf of their child or children. Parental rights are generally considered to apply automatically to biological parents, as well as adoptive parents, foster parents, and in some cases, legal guardians.
Parental rights typically include the right to:
- Assume legal and physical custody of a child or children;
- Possess certain rights concerning visitation and contact with a child or children;
- Make decisions regarding fundamental matters for a child or children, such as
- Religion; and
- Medical treatments.
- Pass property to a child or children through inheritance; and
- Enter into a contract on behalf of a minor child or children.
Essentially, parental rights are meant to protect and ensure the wellbeing of a child. Laws that define parental rights vary widely from state to state. Regardless, all courts interpret parental rights using the child’s best interest standard.
Grandparents do have legal rights in Ohio and are applied when a grandparent is concerned about their grandchild’s well-being. Grandparents rights’ include both, custody or grandparent visitation. Ohio law authorizes Grandparent Visitation Rights in three circumstances:
- When married parents terminate their marriage or separate,
- When a parent of a child is deceased, and
- When the child is born to an unmarried woman. In such cases, a court may order reasonable visitation if it is in the “best interest” of the child.
Grandparents have no right to sue for visitation with grandchildren who live in an intact family. An order for visitation can be a part of several court proceedings, including divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, or child support proceeding. The suit for visitation need not be filed before the finding in the case but can instead be filed at any time. Grandparents may file a Motion for Visitation asking the Court to award them their own Visitation schedule with their grandchildren.