July 6, 2022
When Can I Modify Custody in Ohio?
Written by Erb Legal LLC
Following a divorce involving children, you may experience life changes that make it difficult to stick to your original custody agreement terms. After all, no one’s life stays the same forever. And while it is possible to modify a custody agreement in Ohio, doing so is only allowed in some circumstances. Also, if the other parent opposes your custody modification, you can face a more significant obstacle.
Here’s what you need to know about modifying custody in Ohio.
Ohio Child Custody Modification
In Ohio, custody is referred to as the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. There are two types of rights and responsibilities outlined after a divorce: parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.
Parenting time refers to physical custody, meaning which parent the child primarily lives with. In many cases, a shared parenting order is issued, so the child shares time living with both parents.
Decision-making responsibility is known as legal custody. This type of custody refers to how the child will be raised regarding their education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, and medical decisions.
Parental rights and responsibilities can be awarded solely to one parent or split between the two, and you must meet specific criteria to modify the custody agreement.
Requirements for Modifying Custody
To modify custody, you must prove you have experienced a substantial life change that necessitates changing the original agreement.
Substantial life changes might include:
- Losing or changing jobs
- Getting married or remarried
- Experiencing health complications
New circumstances for the child could also lead to a modified custody agreement, such as if they experience domestic abuse or neglect in the care of one parent.
Consider the Best Interest of the Child
In addition to showing the need for modified custody, you will also have to prove that your proposed changes are in your child’s best interest. The court prioritizes the child’s wellbeing and will consider factors such as:
- How relocating would affect the child’s health and education
- The parent’s ability to care for the child
- The parent’s ability to financially support the child
- Whether the parent has a criminal record or a history of abuse
- Either parent’s failure to pay child support
Does My Child Get a Say in Custody Modification?
The court will consider a child’s wishes regarding a custody modification, but their desires are only one of the many factors a judge will evaluate. There is no specific age where children can choose the parent they wish to live with.
What if My Ex Disagrees?
If you and the other parent agree about changing the custody arraignment, you can simply file a motion for a change of parental rights and responsibilities.
If the other parent opposes your request for a custody modification, you must file your own motion. In any case, you or the other parent may request a guardian ad litem, who is a third party appointed by the court meant to help determine the child’s best interests. The guardian ad litem will hear from both parents and the child’s friends, teachers, and other family members to make a recommendation to the court about what is best for the child.
Call an Ohio Custody Modification Lawyer
Parents can’t modify custody on a whim and proving that custody modification is in your child’s best interest can be challenging, especially if the other parent disagrees with the proposed changes. If you’re considering modifications to your child custody agreement, it’s best to get help from a child custody lawyer at Erb Legal.