Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Ohio – Part II

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child_choosing_parentWe had quite a reaction to the blog related to whether a child can choose which parent to live with upon the parents divorce in Ohio.  Readers were surprised to learn that a child no longer had the ability to make such a choice, even if the child is 12 or 13 years old, and many were upset to learn this fact (evidently many were counting on this fact). Given the level of reaction, we thought that a few points of clarification were in order. While it is true that a child in Ohio no longer has the absolute right to choose which parent he or she would like to be deemed the residential and custodial parent, a child’s preferences can play a role in the Court’s ultimate decision on the matter.

Under current Ohio law, when a party requests (or upon the Court’s own motion) the minor child can be interviewed by the judge or magistrate in chambers (called an “in-camera” review) as to the child’s wishes and concerns related to custody matters. However, before the Court will take into account the child’s wishes or preferences regarding child custody, it must first determine whether the child has the maturity level to adequately express such feelings in a useful manner (what the statute calls “reasoning ability”).

Should the child have the requisite reasoning ability, the Court must then ask whether interviewing the child and asking him or her to express those wishes and concerns is actually in the best interest of the child, or whether asking the child to “choose” between parents would be detrimental to the child. In other words, although the Court is empowered to take into account the child’s preferences in determining custody matters, it will only do so if the child is mature enough to provide useful input and if asking the child to pick between parents would not be detrimental to the child’s well-being.  So, in short, for those of you counting on the fact that your child wants to live with you as being the winning card against your ex, there is some benefit to that being the case, even if the law doesn’t allow the child to make the ultimate decision.

Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Ohio - Part II, 9.8 out of 10 based on 53 ratings
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8 Responses to Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Ohio – Part II

  1. Haley says:

    I find this disapointing. I am 13,and I wished to live with my dd instead. Tehy divorced about 6 years ago, and frankly, i’m tired of my mom’s crap. I like my dad way better.

  2. Alyssa says:

    I am so tired of living in Ohio! My mother lives in Washington, and I wish to stay with her. Quite frankly, the Ohio laws are a complete obstacle for me! There’s more to do, more to explore, and more to learn there. And I have friends and family out there who I need to reunite with. They MUST return the Ohio laws back to the child choosing, because I am 13, and I’m sick of living with my dad! I am very disappointed to see this article! I will need to have a talk with my dad’s attorney, and talk to the judge ASAP!

  3. Tasha says:

    My parents are getting a divorce, and I can’t stand my step dad. I just want to stay with my mum, I don’t want to deal with how horribly he treats me. I’m 17, I have 2 jobs, carry a 3.1 GPA and a 26 on the ACT I think I’m level headed enough to choose who I live with so they need to change the law back!!!!!!!!!

  4. hannah says:

    im very upset by this. my parents got a divorice 3 years ago and at the time it seemed best for them to have joint custody over me. but now i just want to live with my dad! my mom and her boyfriend treat me like crap, i come home from her house recking of smoke (if she even picks me up on tie from my dads),and she doesnt have have any money because she spends it all on gambling and cigerrettes! its pretty bad when my friends mom treats me better than my real mom does! im 14 years old and i think i should be able to decide for my own well-being where i should be liveing at full-time! they need to change this law!!!

  5. Canyon says:

    I find this disappointing, but no real issue. I am currently living with my mom, and wish to remain as such, but my father is attempting to force me to visit him on the weekends. Thank you for the information.

  6. dustin says:

    I am dissappionted to here this my dad got my mom knocked up, and i lived with my mom for 2 years then my dad married my step mom who wanted me so she told my dad to take my mom to quart they won. ive always wanted to live with my mom. I have a brother that is 19 and i never see him because my dad signed off on him because of child support. My dad told me he was going to put me in a foster home. Im 14 and im currently going to quart to live with my mother jessica miller.

  7. david says:

    i really need to try and get to my moms my dad and step mom put me and my sister through so much bullshit i need to choose

  8. Natalie says:

    I wish My son could get custody of my grandchild. he wants to be with his father, and its so hard to read he will not have the choice to choose like it used to be when I was young. This is very sad. These children for the most part have a better idea on daily basis what they deal with, NOT the courts!

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