Child Custody Frequently Asked Questions
Allocation of parental rights and responsibilities is the term used in the Ohio Revised Code to refer to Custody and Visitation issues. In the State of Ohio, the Juvenile Court usually has jurisdiction over private custody cases involving unmarried parents. The Domestic Relations court will usually have jurisdiction over the custody of a child born to the married parents. If there have been previous actions filed regarding the child, these jurisdictions may change. The Domestic Relations Court may also have jurisdiction over a child born to unmarried parents if a Civil Protection Order is filed.
When a court makes a decision about the custody of a child, it is required to determine what is in the best interests of the child. If there is a request for a modification of a prior custody order, the Court addresses whether there is a change in circumstances of the child, the child’s residential parent, or if there is a shared parenting plan – either of the parents, without consideration to a parent’s financial status or condition.
ORC § 3109.04(A),(B),(F); § 3109.04(F)(3)
2. ORC § 3109.04(F)(3)
In a domestic relations case, the Court considers:
The wishes of the child's parents;
The wishes of the child as expressed to the court, if the court finds that the child has sufficient reasoning ability to express his or her wish;
The child's interaction and relationships with parents, siblings and other persons who may significantly affect the child's best interest;
The child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation;
The parent more likely to honor and facilitate visitation and companionship rights approved by the court;
Either parent's failure to pay child support;
Any past history of child abuse or neglect by the parents;
Any continuous and willful denial by one parent of the other parent's visitation rights;
Whether either parent has or plans to establish a residence outside the state.
The court may order an investigation of the character, family relations, past conduct, earning ability, and financial worth of the parties and may order the parents and minor children to submit to medical, psychological, and psychiatric examinations.
Shared parenting does NOT mean 50/50 parenting time or that there will be no child support. It means that the parents will cooperate in the co-parenting of their child. Schedules, Support, and other parenting related issues are negotiated between the parents. A good shared parenting plan is comprehensive and addresses anticipated problemsby agreement as opposed to litigation. A good plan should reduce future litigation because both parents have participated in the development of the plan.
If a shared parenting plan is being considered the following factors must be considered.
The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions about the children jointly;
Each parent's ability to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
Any history of domestic violence or parental kidnapping by either parent;
The geographic proximity of the parents to each other as it relates to the practical considerations of shared parenting;
Any recommendation by the child's guardian ad litem.
8. ORC § 3109.04(F)(2); ORC § 3113.215(B)(3)
What is Legal Custody?
An order of legal custody gives the custodian the following rights and duties: (O.R.C. 2151.011(B)(19))
- The right to have physical care and control of the child;
- The right to determine where and with whom the child lives;
- The right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child; and
- The right and duty to provide the child with food, shelter, education, and medical care.
The parents retain the following residual rights:(O.R.C. 2151.011(B)(19) and (46))
- privilege of reasonable visitation
- consent to adoption
- the privilege to determine the child's religious affiliation
- and the responsibility for support
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