Child Custody Attorney Dayton Ohio
Dayton Child Custody Attorney at Hartley Law Office, LLC
Our Dayton child custody lawyer helps our clients resolve challenging family law issues--including those related to the establishment, modification, and termination of child custody --by taking the time to understand each of our clients' unique situations and by providing informed, frank, and understandable guidance. Whether through skillfully negotiated settlement or aggressive trial representation, we are here to help our clients achieve their immediate and long term goals.
Child Custody in Ohio
These materials are offered by Dayton child custody Lawyer Aaron Hartley and Hartley Law Office, LLC, for information purposes only. Do not act or rely upon any of the resources and information available in or from this site without first seeking professional legal advice in your home state. The information on this website is general in nature, may not be current, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Contact a Dayton child custody lawyer for legal advice applicable to the unique set of facts and circumstances surrounding the establishment, modification, or termination of child custody in your case.
Domestic Relations Courts - Child Custody in Ohio
Ohio domestic relations courts now "allocate parental rights and responsibilities," or, when modifying a prior custody order, "reallocate parental rights and responsibilities," rather than grant or change custody. A parent granted custody in a divorce, dissolution, annulment, or legal separation, is designated "the residential parent and legal custodian" of the minor child. In a divorce, often the most contentious issue is the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.
When parties to a divorce, dissolution, annulment, or legal separation have minor children, the court has to make decisions regarding the care of those minor children. Moreover, the court has the obligation to inquire and make an order regarding the care and maintenance of such children, even if the issue was not raised in pleadings. Such decisions must be made in the best interests of the child.
When allocating parental rights and responsibilities, or making a "custody" determination, the court can allocate the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the children primarily to one parent, designating that parent as the residential parent and legal custodian, or the court can allocate parental rights to both parents (i.e., shared parenting). In a shared parenting arrangement, the child's physical and legal care is divided between the parents. Contrary to common belief, shared parenting does not necessarily result in an equal split of time or support, but rather indicates that both parents share equal responsibilities.
Even in cases where a divorce is denied for one reason or another, the domestic relations court retains the right to make determinations on parental rights and responsibilities, if it is in the child's best interest to do so. Moreover, the domestic relations court has continuing jurisdiction to make modifications to their parental determinations.
Juvenile Courts - Child Custody in Ohio
Under Ohio law, and absent a court order otherwise, the biological mother of a minor child born outside of wedlock is the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the minor child; outside of marriage, biological fathers have no rights to custody or parenting time, merely the ability to pursue such rights.
In order for a father to gain custody of a child born outside of wedlock, paternity must be established. Only then may a father bring an action for custody and/or parenting time (sometimes also known as 'visitation') before an Ohio juvenile court.
Ohio juvenile courts have exclusive, original jurisdiction to determine the custody of minor children in Ohio. Although Juvenile courts in Ohio typically only make custody decision concerning minor children born outside of wedlock, Ohio juvenile courts may make custody determinations in other types of cases, wherein the parents are married, most commonly in abuse, neglect, or dependency cases.
Genreally, the same legal standards--governing the allocation, or re-allocation, of parental rights and responsibilities--in Ohio domestic relations courts also govern custody determinations in Ohio juvenile courts, i.e., the best interest of the child.
Best Interest of the Child - The Standard for Determining Child Custody in Ohio
When allocating parental rights and responsibilities, Ohio courts must consider: (1) the wishes of the parents; (2) the wishes and concerns of the child (if the court first determines that (a) the child has sufficient reasoning ability to express their wishes and (b) that no special circumstances exist which would cause it to not be in the child's best interest to have their wishes determined); (3) the child's interactions and interrelationships with others who would significantly affect their best interest; (4) the child's adjustment to their environment; (5) the physical and mental health of all involved persons; (6) the parent more likely to honor court ordered parenting time or companionship rights; (7) whether a either parent has failed to make court-ordered child support payments; (8) "Whether either parent or any member of the household of either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being an abused child or a neglected child; whether either parent, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated an abused child or a neglected child, previously has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act that is the basis of an adjudication; whether either parent or any member of the household of either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to [domestic violence] or a sexually oriented offense involving a victim who at the time of the commission of the offense was a member of the family or household that is the subject of the current proceeding; whether either parent or any member of the household of either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any offense involving a victim who at the time of the commission of the offense was a member of the family or household that is the subject of the current proceeding and caused physical harm to the victim in the commission of the offense; and whether there is reason to believe that either parent has acted in a manner resulting in a child being an abused child or a neglected child" (ORC 3019.04(F)(1)(h)); (9) whether a residential parent or parent subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent court-ordered parenting time; and (10) whether either parent has established a residence outside the state of Ohio, or intends to do so.
Additional Considerations - Child Custody in Ohio
When determining the best interest of a child, the court may interview the minor child in chambers, regardless of the child's age. If the child is found to have sufficient reasoning ability, the child may be able to express their wishes directly to the court regarding with whom the child wishes to live. However, an Ohio court is not bound to follow the wishes of the child, if the court finds that the child's wishes are not actually in the child's best interests. Moreover, an Ohio court may find that special circumstances exist which would cause it not to be in the child's best interest for the child's wishes to be determined.
The court is required to appoint a guardian ad litem, if either parent requests one or the court deems it necessary. A guardian ad litem is typically an attorney, appointed by the court, to protect and act in the child's best interest. Rule 48, of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio, governs guardian ad litem standards in Ohio.
The court has the power to cause an investigation to be made as to the character, family relations, past conduct, earning ability, and financial worth of each parent. The court can also order that parents and minor children submit to medical, psychological, and psychiatric examinations.
Experienced and Dedicated Child Custody Attorney in Dayton, Ohio
Hiring a Dayton child custody attorney is an important decision; it should not be based solely on advertisements. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, experienced, and effective child custody attorney in Dayton, Ohio, learn more about Attorney Hartley.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney in Dayton, Ohio
If you face a significant Family Law issue, need experienced legal representation, and would like to schedule a confidential, initial consultation with our Dayton child custody Attorney, Aaron Hartley: contact our office at (937) 312-9130 or by using our online contact form. Please be advised that, upon request, evening and weekend appointments are generally available. View and print directions and contact information.
Learn About Family Law and Our Dayton Child Custody Attorney
Dayton child custody Lawyer Aaron Paul Hartley and Hartley Law Office, LLC, publish and regularly update both Blog and multiple FAQ pages focused on various topics in Family Law. If you would like to learn more about the types of Family Law matters that we handle in Centerville, Dayton, Kettering, Moraine, and Oakwood, as well as other Southwestern Ohio communities, please examine the individual pages written about those practice areas, including: Alimony / Spousal Support, Child Support, Dissolution, Divorce, Father's Rights, Grandparent's Rights, Juvenile Court, Legal Separation, Military Divorce, Parenting Time / Visitation, Paternity, Post-Decree Modification, Property Division, Protection Orders, Shared Parenting, and Temporary Orders.