Custody & the Best Interests of the Child
The child custody process in the state of Ohio starts when one or both parents files a motion and submits a custody plan for a child. If the motion originates from a divorce, it’s filed in a state Domestic Relations Court. If there’s a custody dispute between unmarried parents, the motion is filed in a Juvenile Court.
If the parents are unable to agree on custody parameters, Ohio family law mandates the court to order an arrangement that’s be in the best interest of each child. After evidence on the case is presented and admitted, the court applies the evidence to a set of “best interest” factors in order to determine the custody order.
Best Interest Factors
These factors can include how a child interacts with the parent and any siblings; the child’s capability to adjust to changed living arrangements; the physical and mental health of both parents and children; each parent’s respect for the other parent’s rights and relationship with the child; a parent’s track record of meeting their child-support obligations; any history of violence or abuse in either family; and if applicable, the child’s specific wishes.
Under Ohio law, child custody is officially decided when a judge signs your Decree of Divorce/Dissolution or your Decree of Shared Parenting and the document is time-stamped by the Clerk of Courts.
Fair to Both Parents
Courts in Ohio don’t favor one parent over the other in custody cases. The decisions are made based on the facts provided for a given case.
Modifying a Custody Order
The court can modify a custody order at any time if a change of circumstances happens in either parent’s life or income that warrants such a modification, and if that modification is in the best interest of the child.