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Bexley Ohio Child Custody Lawyer
We Provide A Full Range Of Law Services In Bexley
In an ideal world, divorcing parents can reach an amicable agreement regarding child custody and visitation. Voluntary resolution can spare children and parents alike from a long, drawn-out court process. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, and a judge may have to decide what arrangements will best serve the child’s interests.
At the Lawrence Law Office, we provide assistance to parents in either situation. Our experienced Bexley, Ohio, child custody lawyers can assist you in settling your issues through mediation or other alternative means of dispute resolution. And if that fails, we are also prepared to advocate for your rights in court.
How Child Custody Works in Ohio
In a child custody dispute arising from divorce, Ohio law does not presume either parent is more capable than the other. Put another way, do not assume that a judge will automatically award custody to the child’s mother. At the same time, there may be certain factors that tend to favor one parent over the other when it comes to deciding who should exercise primary decision-making authority for the child.
In practice, there is no single factor that will decide custody. A judge must look at the entire family situation and determine how to best serve the interests of the child–as opposed to what may be most convenient for the parents. Some of the factors that may come into play include, but are not limited to:
- The potential impact of moving a child away from their current home or school;
- The overall mental and physical health of both the child and the parents;
- Whether or not either parent has a criminal record or a history of violent behavior;
- If the child is mature enough to express a preference, their desire on which parent they want to live with;
- Whether the parents live far away from one another; and
- How well the child gets along with each parent, and how well the parents get along with one another.
It is important to emphasize that the parents do not need to go running to a judge to resolve custody and visitation. Indeed, the law prefers parents settle such questions among themselves. Going to court should always be a last resort.
You should also never look at child custody as an “all or nothing” matter. That is now how the law works. A judge has the discretion to order “shared parenting” or joint custody if the circumstances warrant. This does not necessarily mean the child will leave with each child half of the time, as that is often detrimental to the child’s welfare. But it does mean both parents will have a say when it comes to major decisions affecting their child’s life, including selecting where they will attend school or authorizing critical medical treatments.
Even in cases where one parent retains sole custody, the other parent still has certain visitation rights. Ohio courts are extremely reluctant to ever cut-off a parent’s visitation rights completely. Only in cases where a child’s safety is at risk will such extreme measures be considered, and even then a judge is more likely to order supervised visitation instead.
Again, parents should always strive to work out visitation schedules together. A common practice is to grant the non-custodial parent visitation at least one night per week and every other weekend. And regardless of whether visitation rights are set by parental agreement or the court, neither parent should ever take any action that would interfere with other parent’s access to their child.
Can Child Custody Orders Be Modified?
Once an Ohio court enters a final child custody order, its terms normally remain in effect until the children reach adulthood (i.e., they turn 18). But it is possible for either parent to request modification of custody or visitation terms. Such requests will only be granted, however, if the judge is convinced there has been a “material change in circumstances” that warrant a modification in the child’s best interests.
Other Practice Areas
- Family Law
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Stepparent Adoption
- Grandparent Visitation Rights
- Spousal Support
- Equitable Distribution
- Military Divorce
- Social Media in Divorce
- Contempt & Enforcement
- Post Divorce
- Business Owners Divorce
- Tax issues
- Child Custody
- Grandparent Rights
- Same-Sex Couples Child Custody
- High Asset Divorce
- Retirement Assets
- Estate Planning
The place to go.
Lawrence Law Office is the place to go if you need expert and experienced legal counsel. Very knowledgeable about the court system. Been around along time. I highly recommend them!Stephen
Why You Should Work with an Experienced Bexley Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody is often the most sensitive issue in a divorce. Even if the parents have already agreed to resolve other issues with respect to division of property and alimony, custody and visitation may remain as key sticking points. Working with an experienced child custody lawyer can actually help you get unstuck and move forward in the process.
Linda Lawrence is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. She is also an experienced mediator who regularly works with parents in the Bexley area who want to settle their child custody issues without resorting to contested litigation. Contact her today at the Lawrence Law Office to schedule a confidential consultation.