Family Law Attorney Discusses Recent Expansion of Ohio's Grandparent's Rights

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Under new law, Grandparents must be promptly contacted if a Juvenile Court awards temporary custody of a child to a children’s services agency, and are provided the right to file for custody if a written assignment of parental rights to the grandparent is revoked. Brian Piper is an attorney who assists in family law matters, including grandparent rights, custody cases, divorces and dissolutions, throughout Columbus and central Ohio.



Parts of House Bill 279 (signed into law December 20, 2012) will go into effect on March 20, 2013. Under this new law, notice is to be provided within 30 days to all grandparents and other adult relatives of a child, whenever temporary custody of a child is given to a public children’s service agency, or placing agency, as the result of any filing in juvenile court. This legislation also encourages agencies to place siblings together with family members, where appropriate.

Grandparent rights are also expanded by this new law by its changing the rules for “parental rights power of attorney” and “caretaker authorization affidavits”. Under current law, the “parental rights power of attorney” allowed a child’s parent, guardian, or custodian to grant to a grandparent with whom a child is residing, any or all of the rights and responsibilities regarding the care, physical custody, and control of a child, including enrollment in school, obtaining medical information, and giving consent to medical or dental treatments. The “caretaker authorization affidavit” is a similar document, but is utilized where a child is living with a grandparent who has made reasonable attempts to locate and contact the parents, but has been unable to do so. The “caretaker authorization affidavit” provides for the same authorities as the “parental rights powers of attorney” but may be signed and filed by the grandparent without the signature of the absent parents.

Neither document gives the right to consent to the marriage or adoption of the child, nor do they grant legal custody to the recipient. Under prior law, these documents terminated upon issuance of a court order, revocation by the person who created it, the cessation of the child’s residing with the grandparent, or they expired on their own after one year from its inception. The new law eliminates the prior one-year expiration provision and more importantly, it allows a grandparent to file a complaint in juvenile court seeking a determination of custody if the power of attorney is revoked or the child is removed from the grandparent’s residence. This complaint must be filed within 14 days of the revocation or removal. Until a hearing and final decision is rendered, the court may make any temporary orders it deems necessary to protect the best interest of the child. In cases where the power of attorney is revoked, the grandparent may retain the child at its residence until the expiration of the 14 day filing period or, once a complaint is filed, until the court Orders otherwise.

The Law Office of Brian S. Piper is a law office located in Westerville, Ohio, that handles family law cases and can be of assistance in all cases involving grandparent rights and custody issues. You can contact the Law Offices of Brian Piper by visiting them on the web at or by phone at 614-895-5500

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Brian S. Piper, Co., LPA
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