Columbus, Ohio Child Custody Lawyers

Serving the greater Columbus, Franklin county and Central Ohio areas.

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Helping With Child Custody, Visitation & Support Updates Or Modifications

Child Custody specialists with over 59 years of experience.

There are a number of child custody issues that end up needing to either get hammered out by the parents or by the court. There is a dichotomy here. If the parents cannot reach an agreement as to how the situation should be handled, then the courts have to step in and decide the issue for both parents and the children. Contested custody agreements cost a lot of money, takes a lot of time, and puts the children in the crossfire of a battle between two parents. Two parents coming to a mutual agreement on the matter saves money, generally can end amicably, and allows the children a seamless transition into what will be a major change in their lives.

couple talking about custody with attorneyThe Lawrence Law Office offers former a couples an opportunity to manage their custody arrangements themselves. If no agreement is possible or mediation has already been tried—and failed—we can also advocate on behalf of one party’s interests. Give us a call or contact us online for more information.

Understanding the Basics of Ohio Child Custody Laws

Like other states, Ohio considers the welfare of the child or children to be the single most important factor when deciding custody arrangements. From there, the issue becomes decidedly more complicated.

Unmarried Parents

When a child is born to an unwed mother, the State of Ohio automatically grants her full or “residential” custody of the child. A father must establish his rights to the child through a court order. This can be done by paternity test or through the volition of the mother. But the father will not have any rights, including visitation, until the court recognizes that they are the father.

Mother’s Rights and Father’s Rights

Ohio courts are restricted by law from favoring mothers over fathers when considering residential custody of children. This prohibits the court from considering the gender of the parent when deciding custody. Nonetheless, there are other considerations that may favor a mother in some cases. For instance, the courts may not want to move a child out of their school district to accommodate a transfer in custody. In that situation, the parent who retained possession of the house would have an advantage.

Again, when parents can hammer these issues themselves, the process is much smoother for everyone. When they can’t, the courts step in.

Ohio Custody Rights

The laws regarding Ohio custody rights can be found in Ohio Revised Code § 3109.

When two parents enter into a custody battle, the court begins with the presumption that it’s best for the children to have both parents be a part of their lives. Since the parents are splitting up, however, only one parent can be awarded residential custody. In other words, only one parent can live with the child. In situations where it is determined that one parent is unfit or a danger to the child, that parent may be denied visitation entirely.

The court must, however, have good reason to deny a parent access to the child. Nonetheless, the court will favor joint custody arrangements with one parent acting as the residential guardian of the child.

Changing Custody Arrangements

You, as a parent, will not need to go before a judge every time you want to make a modification to the custody arrangement. Nonetheless, those changes should be put in writing. This creates a legally binding contract between the parents and if one parent decides to change the agreement unilaterally, then they will have to answer to the court.

Returning a Child at the End of the Summer

Often, the parent that has the child during the summer learns information from the child that causes the parent to be concerned about returning the child to the school placement parent for the beginning of the school year.

If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend that you document the facts and the circumstances that are creating your concern. Secondly, I recommend contacting an attorney immediately to determine your options to file an emergency motion or at a minimum a motion for modification of your parental rights and responsibilities.

As you may already be aware, the Court’s process motions very slowly. If you have grave concerns about your child returning to the other parent for the beginning of the school year, emergency motions must be filed as soon as possible. If you do not return the child at the appointed day and time, in violation of the court order, a contempt motion may be filed against you and the police may be called to enforce the current order.

The Pros of Using Mediation to Negotiate a Child Custody Arrangement

Linda Lawrence is an OSBA Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. This distinction is awarded to a handful of lawyers in various areas of practice.

Linda is also a skilled mediator who can work with couples that choose to settle their divorce issues through mediation. For many couples, mediation will be the preferable route to take because, in the long run, it’s better for all parties concerned. It’s also cheaper. While there are some instances in which mediation may not be appropriate, particularly if one spouse has been abusive, mediation offers couples a clean way to break up and control their own destiny.

Contact a Skilled Child Custody Attorney in Columbus Today

If you’re going through a divorce, the situation can be very stressful. The skilled Columbus child custody attorneys at Lawrence Law Office can help you and your former spouse craft a deal that meets everyone half way and is in the best interests of the children. The best part is the courts won’t be making these decisions for you. Give us a call or contact us online and we can begin talking immediately.

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Client Reviews

Had free consultation. Advice given was taken, and resulted in change of mind in the other/opposing party. We therefore did not need to retain. Should opposing party resume original opinion, we will retain.


I was in a terrible custody dispute with my ex. I was very upset and afraid of my ex. Rodd listened to everything I said and remembered everything I said. He was aggressive in court and used the information I gave him very well. We won the case and my ex has backed off.


I wanted an easy divorce from my wife. She wanted a fight. Rodd and I discussed fair terms for a dissolution. Because he was pro active and stayed on top of the case, my wife and I finally reached an agreement and had a dissolution. I highly recommend Rodd.


I hired Linda Lawrence because I have a business and I wanted to protect it in my divorce. Linda is top notch and knows about business finance and assets. I was able to keep my business and not have to pay my wife anything from it. Hire her.


I hired Linda Lawrence because I needed an aggressive attorney. Linda was able to stand up against the other attorney and was very aggressive in court. It was an expensive divorce case, but that was because the other attorney was very aggressive and Linda was very thorough. I had great results in my case and highly recommend Linda.


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