Ohio uses what is referred to as the “best interest of the child” standard to make custody determinations. This determination is made by the courts evaluation of the statutorily defined factors.
Ohio law allows the judge to consider the wishes of both parents and the children involved in custody decisions, if the child is old enough to communicate those wishes. Courts will look at how a child interacts with their parents and any siblings. Courts are generally not inclined to break up siblings or otherwise break relationships with family members.
Courts examine the actions of the parents. Courts look for parents who have shown respect for prior custody orders and for the other parent’s relationship with the child. A parent who has consistently fulfilled child support obligations will be viewed more favorably than a parent who has failed to pay child support.
The court will also account for any sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and whether any abuse was committed by extended family members and will account for these issues when making custody decisions.
Below are all of the statutorily defined factors courts will look at during a custody case.
While not all of these factors may be relevant to your case, it is important to understand which ones will impact you the most and how to prove them before the judge.
Shared Parenting and the best interest of the child
In order four courts to grant joint custody, known as shared parenting in Ohio, several additional factors will be evaluated. The factors are listed in their entirety below from the governing Ohio Statute.
If the court does not find shared parenting appropriate, one parent will be given custody and the other will be granted visitation rights. This does not mean that the visiting parent will not see their children, but it does mean they have less decision making power.
Can I stop the other parent from seeing our child?
If there is a custody order currently in place, denying the other parent their visitation would mean you are in contempt of court. This can have serious consequences for you. It is in your best interest to follow the court’s orders as much as possible. Court orders are not suggestions. In some situations you may feel that your child is in danger due to abuse or other conduct from the other parent that endangers the child’s health of safety, your lawful remedy is to file a emergency custody motion. The standard for such motions is that of “irreparable harm,” and this is a high standard that must be proven before a judge.