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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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Parental Rights

I often get asked what parental rights parents have when they are married, unmarried or have a child support order in place.  These are the common questions and the answers to those questions.   What is a putative father?   A putative father is a man who may be a child’s biological father but who is not married to the child’s mother at the time the child is born or who has not established paternity of the child in a court or administrative hearing.   Does a putative father have parental rights?   (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…)

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…)

Grounds For Divorce in Ohio

What are the grounds for divorce in Ohio?  Wait, you may have heard that Ohio is a no-fault divorce state.  Ohio does have no fault-grounds, but you still have to prove grounds if you want a divorce and your spouse does not.  If your spouse does not want the divorce, they may be able to stop you.
Ohio Revised Code 3105.01 (R.C. 3105.01) and Ohio Revised Code 3105.17 (R.C. 3105.17) set forth the grounds for divorce.
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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…)

What Is A Legal Custodian In Ohio?

What is a legal custodian in Ohio?  There are a number of sources that explain this term.  Essentially, this is the person with the rights and obligations to care for a child.  Ohio law provides further guidance:

Legal Custodian In Ohio Definitions  

  The Ohio Administrative Code defines “custodian” as “a person having legal custody of a child or a PCSA, PCPA, or Title IV-E agency that has permanent, temporary, or legal custody of a child.”  The code also defines “legal custody” to mean “a legal status vesting in the custodian the right to have physical care and control of the child and to determine where and with whom the child shall live, and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide the child with food, shelter, education, and medical care, all subject to any residual parental rights, privileges, and responsibilities.”  Finally, the code also says that an “individual granted legal custody shall exercise the rights and responsibilities personally unless otherwise authorized by any section of the Revised Code or by the court.” (more…)

Can A Parent With Sole Legal Custody Move Out Of State With The Child?

Can a parent with sole legal custody move out of state with the child? Often, a parent will be presented with an opportunity to move elsewhere. Common reasons include a better job opportunity for themselves or their spouse, or moving closer to family. Ohio Revised Code 3109.051(G) requires the residential parent to file a notice of intent to relocate with the court. The other parent must get a copy of the notice in order to give him or her a chance to be heard on whether the child should move out of state. The right to move the child out of state will depend on a number of factors, including: the child’s relationship with his or her parents and extended family; the child’s adjustment to home, school and community; the age of the child; and the child’s wishes. Courts will look at these factors in making their decision. (more…)