Child Custody Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

  1. What Court has jurisdiction over my custody issue ?
  2. How does the Court decide custody issues?
  3. What does "best interests of a child" mean?
  4. Can a court order me to have a medical or psychological evaluation?
  5. What is shared parenting?
  6. What does Legal Custody mean? What rights are retained by parents?

What Court has jurisdiction over my custody issue?

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.

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How does the Court decide custody issues?

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.[1] 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.[2]

1. ORC  §  3109.04(A),(B),(F); §  3109.04(F)(3)
2. ORC  §  3109.04(F)(3)

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What does "best interests of a child" mean?

In a domestic relations case, the Court considers:[3]

3. ORC  §  3109.04(F)(1)
4. ORC  §  3109.04(B) in camera interview by the Court
5. ORC  §  3109.04(F)(1)(i)
6. ORC  §  3109.04(F)(1)(j)
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Can a court order me to have a medical or psychological evaluation?

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.[7]

7. ORC  §  3109.04(C) ; Ohio Civ. Rule 75(D)
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What is shared parenting?

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.[8]

8. ORC  §  3109.04(F)(2); ORC  §  3113.215(B)(3)

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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 parents retain the following residual rights:(O.R.C. 2151.011(B)(19) and (46))

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Revised: 02/08/17.