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What Factors Does A Court Use To Decide Child Custody?

What factors does a court use to decide child custody and parenting time?  The following from Ohio Revised Code 3109.051 (R.C. 3109.051) sets forth the factors:  
  1. The prior interaction and interrelationships of the child with the child’s parents, siblings, and other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, and with the person who requested companionship or visitation if that person is not the parent, sibling, or relative of the child;
  2. The geographical location of the residence of each parent and the distance between those residences, and if the person is not a parent, the geographical location of that person’s residence and the distance between that person’s residence and the child’s residence;
  3. The child’s and parents’ available time, including, but not limited to, each parent’s employment schedule, the child’s school schedule, and the child’s and the parents’ holiday and vacation schedule;
  4. The age of the child;
  5. The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
  6. If the court has interviewed the child in chambers, pursuant to division (C) of this section, regarding the wishes and concerns of the child as to the parenting time by the parent who is not the residential parent or companionship or visitation by the grandparent, relative, or other person who requested companionship or visitation, as to a specific parenting time or visitation schedule, or as to other parenting time or visitation matters, the wishes and concerns of the child, as expressed to the court;
  7. The health and safety of the child;
  8. The amount of time that will be available for the child to spend with siblings;
  9. The mental and physical health of all parties;
  10. Each parent’s willingness to reschedule missed parenting time and to facilitate the other parent’s parenting time rights, and with respect to a person who requested companionship or visitation, the willingness of the person to reschedule missed visitation;
  11. In relation to parenting time, whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being an abused child or neglected child; whether either parent, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated an abused child or neglected child, previously has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act that is the basis of the adjudication; and whether there is reason to believe that either parent has acted in a manner resulting in a child being an abused child or a neglected child;
  12. In relation to requested companionship or visitation by a person other than a parent, whether the person previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being an abused child or neglected child; whether the person, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated an abused child or neglected child, previously has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act that is the basis of the adjudication; whether either parent previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of section 2919.25 of the Revised Code involving a victim who at the time of the commission of the offense was a member of the family or household that is the subject of the current proceeding; whether either parent previously has been convicted of an offense involving a victim who at the time of the commission was a member of the family or household that is the subject of the current proceeding and caused physical harm to the victim in the commission of the offense; and whether there is reason to believe that the person has acted in a manner resulting in a child being an abused child or a neglected child;
  13. Whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent’s rights to parenting time in accordance with an order of the court;
  14. Whether either parent has established a residence or is planning to establish a residence outside this state;
  15. In relation to requested companionship or visitation by a person other than a parent, the wishes and concerns of the child’s parents, as expressed by them to the court;
  16. Any other factor in the best interest of the child.
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Can I Record My Child’s Wishes?

One may ask, “Can I record my child’s wishes?”  The answer is no.  Ohio Revised Code 3109.04 (R.C. 3109.04) specifically prohibits the court from considering such evidence:   “No person shall obtain or attempt to obtain from a child a written or recorded statement or affidavit setting forth the child’s wishes and concerns regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities concerning the child.  No court, in determining the child’s best interest for purposes of making its allocation of the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child or for purposes of resolving any issues related to the making of that allocation, shall accept or consider a written or recorded statement or affidavit that purports to set forth the child’s wishes and concerns regarding those matters.”   (more…)

Who Is Entitled To A Child’s School Records?

Who is entitled to a child’s school records?  Under Ohio law, both parents have the right to access their child’s school records.  The schools generally recognize the right of the legal custodian and residential parent’s access to school records.  However, some schools may not always recognize the non-residential parent’s right to access their child’s records.  If this problem arises, the legal custody papers usually contain language stating that both parents have the right to have access to their child’s school records. (more…)

Notice of Intent to Relocate

What is a notice of intent to relocate?  It is a provision that is most likely tucked away within an order allocating parental rights and responsibilities, including divorce decrees, dissolution decrees, and legal custody orders.  It is a provision that is often overlooked.  If a residential parent moves, that parent must notify the court when he or she moves.  If one parent does not know where the other parent lives, they may become anxious about where their children are during that other parent’s parenting time.  This could lead to one parent employing various methods to respond.  Such methods may include methods that may not be permissible, such as withholding visitation.  That parent may also decide to call the police or file a motion in court to have custody changed, all because that parent simply did not know where their children were at during the other parent’s parenting time. (more…)

Medina County Legal Custody Attorney

What does a Medina County legal custody attorney do?  In Ohio, it is usually a request from the court to “allocate parental rights and responsibilities” or when modifying an existing custody order, “reallocate parental rights and responsibilities.”  If a parent is granted custody in a divorce, dissolution, annulment, legal separation or parentage case, that parent is named the residential parent and legal custodian of the child.  If shared parenting is granted, both parents are the residential parents, but one will be the residential parent for school purposes, which means the child will go to school in the district in which that parent resides.  Shared parenting does not necessarily mean equal time or support, but simply means that both parents share equal responsibilities. (more…)

Custody Rights Of An Unmarried Mother

What are the custody rights of an unmarried mother?  Ohio law provides a number of direct answers to this question.  Ohio Revised Code 3109.042 (R.C. 3109.042) answers that question: “An unmarried female who gives birth to a child is the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the child until a court of competent jurisdiction issues an order designating another person as the residential parent and legal custodian.”  This means that, unless a court has ruled otherwise, an unmarried mother is the sole legal custodian of her child, giving her the right to make decisions for her child. (more…)