Child Custody: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
At The Suriano Law Firm LLC, we understand that child custody is one of the most stressful aspects of divorce. You want to ensure that ending your marriage will not harm the time and relationship that you have with your children.
Divorce can be confusing, so we work hard to ensure that you understand your rights and options. We can provide the solutions your family needs.
Read answers to frequently asked questions about Ohio child custody below to learn more. Please note, these answers are not intended as legal advice. They are provided to help inform your knowledge of child custody matters in Ohio. If you want to discuss your unique situation, call my Columbus office at 614-532-9534. You can also contact The Suriano Law Firm LLC online to schedule a consultation.
How Is Child Custody Determined In Ohio?
In all cases, child custody arrangements are determined based on the child’s best interests. Many factors are evaluated to determine what this is, including any history of domestic violence, the child’s relationship with family members and each parent’s financial stability.
Can You Have A Child Custody Agreement Without Going To Court?
If parents can agree to a child custody plan, they can jointly file their desired plan with an Ohio family law court. If the judge does not accept the plan, they will ask the parents to revise and resubmit the proposed plan for review. A judge will only create the child custody plan if the parents cannot agree to an arrangement, and then only after evidence is presented at a trial.
Can You Use Mediation To Determine A Custody Arrangement?
Yes, you can use mediation to determine your child custody arrangement in Ohio. A trained mediator will help you and your spouse determine a workable child custody plan. The plan would then need to be submitted to and approved by a family court judge before it could go into effect. A mediator cannot provide legal advice. Only a licensed attorney can provide counsel.
Can You Have Sole Custody Of The Kids After Divorce?
Yes. If you are awarded sole custody of your children, you are considered to be the sole residential parent and legal custodian of that child. However, the other parent will usually be awarded visitation rights. Visitation rights are only withheld under extreme circumstances, such as in instances involving sexual abuse, domestic violence or drug abuse.
However, you are not automatically awarded sole custody. If both parents want custody of the children, and both are fit to parent, you may be awarded shared custody. Under this plan, parents share the legal responsibility of the child. This does not mean that time will be equally shared between parents.
Can You Modify A Custody Agreement?
Yes, it is possible to modify a custody agreement; however, you need court approval to do so. If your circumstances change, and you can no longer adhere to your initial custody arrangement, you will need to show the judge why you must modify your plan. You cannot change your custody plan without court approval, even if the other parent verbally agrees to the change.
Can Children Choose Which Parent To Live With?
If the children are determined to be of sound mind and sufficient age and maturity, their custody preferences may be taken into account. They would be allowed to speak directly with a judge behind closed doors to express their opinion, or a Guardian Ad Litem would be assigned to the case, and he or she would take the child’s wishes into consideration when making a recommendation to the court. There is no magic age in Ohio that allows a child to choose which parent he or she wants to live with. The child’s opinion is only one factor in a list of factors that a court must consider.