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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1503
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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My now 9 and 7 year old children have been going to their

Customer Question

My now 9 and 7 year old children have been going to their dad's parents every other weekend for almost 6 years. Their son, my husband passed away almost 6 years ago. My kids are now getting to the point where they don't always want to go because they want to stay home. I am remarried and have a 3 year old daughter and a 9 year old step son. They know we do a lot of fun things on the weekends and will ask to stay home. The grandparents do work with me on most weekends I want to keep the kids and we have a good relationship. However them going over there every other weekend is becoming more and more difficult with how busy we are and are losing out on family time since the weekends is when we are able to do things together as a family. I know that I need to talk to them first about adjusting or even terminating their rights, but what are my options if they refuse?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience. I am a family lawyer and an appellate attorney, but I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, contract law, and other types of law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

You have an interesting question, something we usually get from the grandparents instead of the parents. You have a logical reason for wanting to stop the every other weekend visits, but the kids have had a good relationship with their grandparents for 6 years and cutting it out completely is going to be hard on a 9 and 7 year old. I would suggest that you work something out with the grandparents, and you can have the kids see them less if you want, but if you cut them out completely, they can take you to court.

Under Ohio law, a court can award visitation to a grandparent in a domestic relations proceeding if the grandparent has an interest in the welfare of the grandchild and if visitation is in the grandchild’s “best interests”. Ohio law allows grandparent visitation by statute in 3 different situations: (1)when married parents end their marriage or separate, (2) when a parent of a child is deceased, and (3) 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.

Under (2) here, the court will likely award reasonable visitation to the grandparents because it has become a regular event in the children's and grandparents' lives. If you have a good relationship with your former in-laws, why not talk to them and see if you can compromise? Explain to them that the kids are getting older, there are two other children in your family now, and that it's time to see what you both can do about working out some other arrangement. If you work out a different arrangement and present it like that, most grandparents would be a little upset but might understand where you're coming from. I don't know these grandparents but they could be the ones contacting us next week asking how to get visitation back if it's cut out from them.

Were the kids going for the entire weekend twice a month?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

If they were going for the entire weekend and staying overnight, that's a lot of contact with their grandparents. If they were just going for the day, it's still contact with their grandparents but not as much.

In either event, cutting it out completely is going to be difficult on both the kids and the grandparents. Since the grandparents are able to work with you and you have a good relationship, to keep you out of court I'd suggest a heart-to-heart with the grandparents. They may not know their rights at this time but if visitation is cut out, they will probably ask around to find out what their rights are. Why not leave it open-ended so that the kids can see them, especially during the summer when school is out, at a night during the week if that's not too inconvenient? During the school year perhaps you can come up with another arrangement for them to get together.

Of course your family is your first priority and you should do what you need and want to do with your family. I would just advise to keep the grandparents in the children's lives even if its for a few hours a month so they're not cut out completely. You can make sure it's not an inconvenience to you and work with the grandparents to make sure it fits into your schedule. Even a few hours a month will probably satisfy both the grandparents and the kids so that they maintain that contact. The grandparents may have a little trouble adjusting to it in the beginning, but in time they will. Do the kids call the grandparents? I'd encourage more calls and less visits if you want to do it that way, and even set up a Skype with the grandparents if that will help. There are many things that can be done to diminish the time with the grandparents on weekends yet keep the grandparents in the kids' lives without it being a burden on you.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you or if there is any more information that you need. Thanks!