Tag Archives: child custody

Do Grandparents Have the right to visit their grandchildren in Ohio?

GrandparentGrandkidsUnder current Ohio law, grandparents are permitted to petition the court for visitation rights with respect to their grandchildren.  One would think that such a petition would not be necessary, but, unfortunately, more than we would like to think grandparents are prevented from seeing thier grandchildren.  Quite frequently, grandparents turn to the courts in order to have the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren. This often comes up as a problem when a couple divorces and whomever is chosen as the residential parent does not want his or her former in-laws to visit the children.  Therefore, grandparents need to be aware that if the Court finds that it is in the child’s best interest to have visitation with his or her grandparents, they do have legal recourse. However, it must be noted that the Court is required to give some special weight to the wishes of the parents as to whether the grandparents are granted the right to certain visitation with the children.

This does not mean that the parents wishes control the Court’s decision, but that if the parents feel strongly against visitation, the court must consider that fact.  But even if the residential parent does not want to allow the visitation, the Court can , and often does, grant the visitation if it is in the best interest of the child.  There are specific stautory provisions that cover the visitation rights of grandparents in Ohio, so you should seek the advice of counsel to determine if your case is worth pursuing.

Brought to you by the Ohio law offices of Morrison & Nicholson.  Call today for a free consultation (937) 432 – 9775.

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Child Support in Ohio – How can I have the amount adjusted if I can no longer pay the current amount?

childsupportChild Support in Ohio is established by statute and is based upon a standard formula. Only in rare cases does the Court deviate from the amount that the formula prescribes for the divorcing couples’ situation (if the divorcing couple makes a lot of money or very little money combined, the Court has the power to ignore the prescribed formula and establish an amount itself). This formula is useful and may be fair at the time of the divorce decree, but many clients want to know what happens if circumstances change such that the amount of child support is too much or too little a few years down the road. For example, maybe the father has lost his job and can no longer pay the amount originally set-down in the divorce decree. Or, say the wife wins the lottery and now has a better financial position than she did when the couple divorced. Well, a child support obligor can ask for an Administrative review of the child support amount (through the Child Support Enforcement Agency) and ask that it be reduced based upon a change of circumstances. Or, the obligor can file a motion with the Court (as a post-decree motion) and ask that the Court modify the amount based upon the change in circumstances. If the Child Support Agency (CSEA) declines the obligor’s request for a modification downward, he can appeal that ruling to the Court afterward. So, in short, if you are a current child support obligor and you feel that based upon a change in circumstances, the amount you are paying is no longer appropriate, there are avenues to pursue where you might have it reduced.  Speak with an attorney or contact our firm for a free consultation to determine whether you can have your child support reduced (or increased) and how best to go about it.

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Difference between Domestic Relations Court and Juvenile Court in Custody cases

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It can be very confusing as to which court is the proper court to file a motion for alteration of parental rights and responsibilities. Do I file in the Domestic Relations Court? Or, do I file in the Juvenile Court? How are they different? It seems that they both handle child custody issues in Ohio, so which is the right one? Well, the answer is a simple one. If the parents were married and divorced, then the Domestic relations Court will handle all post-decree motions, including those related to child custody, child support and spousal support. However, if the parents were never married, then any original custody determination was made in the Juvenile Court and that Court would handle all subsequent motions related to child custody. Basically, go back to the Court where the original determination was made. If you cannot remember which Court or find your papers, then simply apply the general rule.

If you have never been married to the other parent, and there has never been a Court Order determining child custody, then you would need to file in the Juvenile Court initially.

In Sum: always file in the court that originally issued any order respecting child custody. If there has never been a Court Order respecting child custody and you are not married to the other parent, then file in the Juvenile Court. If you are married but have lived a part for several years and you want a custody determination, then look to the Domestic Relations Court.

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What is the standard to request legal custody in Ohio?

custody_kidsUnder Ohio law, once a parent is designated as the residential and custodial parent, the prefernce is to maintain that person as the custodial parent.  The Courts want to avoid a perneial tug-of-war between the parents with the children caught in the middle.  Courts do not want to see motion after motion filed by the parents, but would rather have the custody established and settled for the benefit of the children.  However, when it is appropriate, a post-decree motion for a reallocation of parental rights should be filed.  The issue, then, becomes what must a parent prove in order to gain custody of their children from the other parent.

When the issue of custody is originally litigated during the divorce proceeding, the parents stand on equal footing as to custody and the standard is simply what would be in the “best interest of the child.”  The best interest standard is a broad concept with 10 factors listed in the statute for the Court to consider.

The situation changes in the context of a post-decree motion. Unlike when the issue of custody was originally litigated during the divorce, the burden is higher on the petitioner.  The parents no longer stand on equal footing as the preference or presumption is to maintain the status quo.  For that reason the legal standard is more involved, which are:

1. That there has been a change in circumstances of the residential parent or the child since the original decree was issued (note: a change in circumstances of the non-residential parent does not matter).  There must be some change that warrants a reallocation of parental rights and responsibilities.  case law has been developed which provides lawyers an idea of what the courts consider to be a substantive change in circumstances.

2. That the change of custody is in the best interest of the child (and the court is again guided by the factors set out in the statute).

3. That any harm to the child by disrupting the status quo will be outweighed by the benefits of the change.

This is a condensed expression of the legal standard, and anyone wishing to have custody altered should consult an attorney, but hopefully it will give our readers an idea of what they must show if they want to pursue custody of their child.

Brought to you by the Ohio law offices of Morrison & Nicholson.  Call today for a free consultation (937) 432 – 9775.

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What is the standard to request a change of custody in Ohio

Under Ohio law, once a parent is designated as the residential and custodial parent, the prefernce is to maintain that person as the custodial parent.  The Courts want to avoid a perneial tug-of-war between the parents with the children caught in the middle.  Courts do not want to see motion after motion filed by the parents, but would rather have the custody established and settled for the benefit of the children.  However, when it is appropriate, a post-decree motion for a reallocation of parental rights should be filed.  The issue, then, becomes what must a parent prove in order to gain custody of their children from the other parent.

When the issue of custody is originally litigated during the divorce proceeding, the parents stand on equal footing as to custody and the standard is simply what would be in the “best interest of the child.”  The best interest standard is a broad concept with 10 factors listed in the statute for the Court to consider.

The situation changes in the context of a post-decree motion. Unlike when the issue of custody was originally litigated during the divorce, the burden is higher on the petitioner.  The parents no longer stand on equal footing as the preference or presumption is to maintain the status quo.  For that reason the legal standard is more involved, which are:

1. That there has been a change in circumstances of the residential parent or the child since the original decree was issued (note: a change in circumstances of the non-residential parent does not matter).  There must be some change that warrants a reallocation of parental rights and responsibilities.  case law has been developed which provides lawyers an idea of what the courts consider to be a substantive change in circumstances.

2. That the change of custody is in the best interest of the child (and the court is again guided by the factors set out in the statute).

3. That any harm to the child by disrupting the status quo will be outweighed by the benefits of the change.

This is a condensed expression of the legal standard, and anyone wishing to have custody altered should consult an attorney, but hopefully it will give our readers an idea of what they must show if they want to pursue custody of their child.

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