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Personal injury claims occur when you have been injured or a loved one has been killed by someone’s negligence or intentional act. There are countless ways in which such a claim could arise including everything from an auto accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, atv accident, to a defective product that causes injury or death, nursing home negligence or medical malpractice, and negligent hiring, among other things. The best way to evaluate whether you have a legititmate case for damages is to contact an attorney. You can start right here by calling our office at 937-432-9775 or filling out our free online consultation form.
Often, people want to know whether they can leave the state with their child during or after a divorce. Like many answers to legal questions, a good attorney will tell the client, “it depends.” Here is a very brief overview of the law and considerations.
Prior to the Divorce Process
If the two parents are still married and there has not been a complaint for divorce filed in any court of this state, Ohio law states that parents stand on equal footing as to custody of the children, and that both parents are considered the residential and legal custodian of the children. This means that yes, technically, there is no crime involved for taking the children and moving to another state. As a legal custodian, the parent that wants to move certainly can determine where and with whom the child shall reside.
However, it should be noted that while a parent that is the legal custodian of the children can move and relocate with his or her children, this fact may in fact impact a court’s later determination on how to allocate parental rights and responsibilities (custody and parenting time/visitation). Some of the factors that a court is to consider is whether a parent is or is planning to establish a residence outside of Ohio, whether a parent is more likely than the other to facilitate and promote visitation, and finally, whether the other parent has been guilty of parental kidnapping. Please note that although no criminal charges will follow, taking the children out of state may be considered “parental kidnapping.”
During the Divorce Process
When the parents are not yet divorced, but a complaint for divorce has actually been filed in an Ohio court, there still has not been a FINAL allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. However, unless the parents are still residing in the same household, the Court will issue temporary orders as to custody and visitation. The Court will normally award one parent the interim temporary custody of the children during the pendency of the case. If the parent that was not designated as the temporary custodian takes the children, then that parent will be guilty of contempt of court for violating a valid court order.
Furthermore, it is very common and routine for both parents to seek and obtain temporary restraining orders during the pendency of the case. Normally these restraining orders prohibit a parent from removing the children from the state of Ohio, except for vacations of 14 days or less. Again, if the non-residential (temporary) custodian removes the children to another state, that parent will be in violation of a valid court order.
If a parent believes it is necessary to move to another state, that parent will have to file a motion requesting the court allow that parent to do so.
Again, this is a very brief sketch as to this subject and it cannot be urged strongly enough that any parent that wants to move out of Ohio consult an attorney to ensure that it will not negatively impact that parent’s case for custody or subject him or her to civil or criminal penalties.
It is one of the most common myths that people maintain when it comes to child custody: Once a child reaches a certain age, that child can choose which parent to live with, right? Well, that is actually incorrect. However, this myth is based in history and actually grounded is truth. Under former Ohio law, once a child attained the age of 12 years old, that child had the power to choose which parent was to be deemed the residential parent and legal custodian of that child. However, under current Ohio law, minor children no longer have the ability to choose which parent they want to live with on a permanent basis. In other words, when the Court issues its final divorce decree which, among other things, allocates parental rights and responsibilities, it is not the child that determines which parent is to be the residential parent, even if that child is a teenager. Ohio law treats a 14 year old in the same manner as a 4 year old when it comes to determining which parent with be designated as the residential parent. And, like almost all issues involving minor children, the determination is guided by what is in the “best interest of the child”.
So, divorcing parents, remember that your child will not be choosing for or against you when it comes to custody issues. Rather, the Court will decide and you need to focus your energy on convincing the Court that it would be in the best interest of the child to live with you … do not work on convincing the child that he or she should choose you. Which, in truth, is not fair to the child anyway.