Child Custody Decisions in Ohio

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What Guidelines do Courts follow regarding Child Custody Orders?

In Ohio, courts allow either parent to assume full custody of the child or children. If one parent is designated as the custodial parent, the court may still choose to divide other rights and responsibilities between the parents.

Alternatively, one parent can file for a shared parenting plan if it is in the best interest of the child. If an agreement cannot be reached between the parents, the court will have to render a custody order that meets the child’s best interest standard.

What Types of Factors are Considered by the Ohio Court?

In order to determine what the best interests of the child are, an Ohio court generally considers the following factors:
• The child’s previous interaction with parents, siblings, and other family members
• The child’s ability to adjust to a new home, school environment, and social community
• The child’s wishes
• The mental and physical health of the parents
• Previous instances of abuse or neglect
• Whether either parent will be establishing residence outside the state, and the resulting geographic proximity to one another
• Any criminal record or background of each parent
• Capability of the parent in providing emotional support to the child

Are there any other considerations I need to know about ?

Yes. Unlike other states, Ohio courts do not give preference to either parent based on their financial status or earning capacity. Therefore one parent is discouraged from using their economic background as leverage for obtaining full custody of a child. Instead, courts will consider the factors listed above.

What happens once the court has made a decision?

After the judge has issued and finalized it by signing, the court clerk will file it to be kept in court records. Both parents will subsequently be bound by the terms of the order. Violations may result in penalties such as a fine or a modification of the custody order.

Do I need to consult with a Ohio lawyer for my custody issues?

Even if the parties can potentially reach a mutual agreement, it is still in your best interest to obtain the expert advice of lawyer. They are trained in family law issues and will be able to guide you through the process of obtaining custody and dividing responsibilities. Also, they will be able to keep you updated with any changes in child custody laws.

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Last Modified: 02-01-2013 04:05 PM PST

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