When a person has a child in Medina, Brunswick or Wadsworth, one of the issues that must be resolved is the allocation of Ohio parental rights and responsibilities for the care of any minor children of the parties. Ohio formerly referred to this as custody, but legislation was enacted to adopt new terminology in recognition of the role both parents should share in raising their children even if the parents are not cohabitating.
Allocating Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Courts in which an action for divorce, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation is pending has jurisdiction over the issue of the allocation of parental rights unless another court has previously decided the issue or where there is an action pending before another court involving the issue. When deciding how to allocate parent rights and responsibilities, the Ohio Revised Code offers judges in Medina, Brunswick or Wadsworth several options:
- Allocate parent rights to only one parent and designate that person as the residential parent and legal custodian of the child or children.
- Allocate parental rights and responsibilities between the two parents
- Allocate parent rights and responsibilities to a relative of the child or children other than their parents
- Certify the issue to the juvenile court for it to decide to whom to allocate parental rights and responsibilities
Shared Parenting Plans
When there are minor children and one or both parents file for divorce, separation or dissolution of the marriage, a Parenting Proceeding Affidavit must be filed with the court under section 3127.23 of the Ohio Revised Code when the complaint or petition is filed.
The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is a sworn statement containing the names and dates of birth of each minor child, the residence addresses of the children for the past five years and information about any previous court actions concerning a designation of parental rights and responsibilities for any of the children. One of the reasons for filing the affidavit is for the court in which the case is pending in Medina, Brunswick or Wadsworth to decide if it has jurisdiction over the issue of parenting rights.
One or both of the parents must submit a proposed shared parenting plan to the court. The shared parenting plan includes information about the physical living arrangements, child support needs, medical and dental care, education and other factors concerning the care and well-being of the child or children.
If neither parent submits a shared parenting plan to the court, or if the court does not agree that the proposed plan is in the best interest of the children of the marriage, the court can designate one parent as the one with whom the children will reside and the one who will be their legal custodian. Where the parents of children who are the subject of a court proceeding were never married, the law in Medina, Brunswick or Wadsworth and elsewhere in Ohio states that the mother shall be designated as the residential parent and legal custodian of the child or children provided such designation is in the best interest of the children.
Visitation and Parenting Time
An order granting parental rights to one parent with the designation of that parent as the one with whom the child or children will live will include a provision for parenting time for the nonresidential parent. Parenting time was formerly referred to as “visitation”.
In a shared parenting plan where the court allocates the rights and obligations over the children to both parents, there is a sharing of the legal and physical care of the children between the parents. Regardless of the proposal made by the parents for the sharing of responsibilities, courts in Medina, Brunswick or Wadsworth must always determine what is in the best interest of the children.
Factors Considered by Courts
Courts in Medina, Brunswick or Wadsworth are obligated under section 3109.04 of the Ohio Revised Code to take the following factors into consideration in determining what is in the best interest of a child:
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child as expressed to the judge
- Interaction between the child and the parents and other family members
- Adjustment of the child to school, home and the community
- Mental and physical health of the children and the parents
- The likelihood of a parent to honor court orders pertaining to parenting time
- The failure of a parent to pay child support
- A parent’s criminal record that includes child abuse or neglect
- A parent’s criminal record that includes sexually oriented offenses or domestic violence
- The denial of visitation to the other parent
- Plans by a parent to live outside of the state of Ohio
Modifying an Allocation of Parent Rights
An order allocating parent rights and responsibilities may be modified upon the application one of the parties. The application must demonstrate that a change of circumstances has occurred on the part of the child, the residential parent, or either parent if there was an award of shared parenting. The application must also show that the requested modification is in the best interest of the child.
A Medina Parental Rights Allocation Lawyer May Help
The relationship between parents and their children is an important one that the laws of Ohio endeavor to protect and maintain even when the relationship between the parents ends. If you have questions or concerns about the allocation or modification of parental rights and responsibilities in Medina, Brunswick or Wadsworth, contact attorney Thomas Erb Jr. today at .