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Dublin Ohio Child Custody Attorneys
Family Law specialists with OVER 63 YEARS of experience.
Dividing child custody is one of the most significant decisions in a divorce. Once settled, child custody orders are difficult to modify, and they can influence the amount of child support that our clients pay. Many parents are afraid that they will lose contact with their children if they do not gain custody, though this fear is sometimes overblown.
At Lawrence Law Office, our attorneys have extensive experience with child custody disputes. It is sometimes possible to settle custody and devise a parenting plan without a court’s intervention. However, when negotiation breaks down, we often represent our clients in front of a judge.
For help, please contact our law firm today. We will clearly explain your rights to you and obtain the evidence necessary to support your position.
Establishing Paternity First
When a woman gives birth to a child, she automatically has custody of the child. Things are more complicated for men. If a man is married to the mother, then he will become the father legally. However, when men are unmarried, they need to take steps to establish paternity and obtain rights (and responsibilities) as the father.
Establishing paternity can be relatively uncomplicated when the mother agrees that a man is the father. But when paternity is in dispute, a DNA test is often necessary.
Ohio no longer likes the term “custody” and uses the phrase “parental rights and responsibilities” instead. However, we can generally summarize these rights and responsibilities as the following:
This used to be called “legal custody” and describes the legal authority to make decisions for the child, such as what medical care to allow or where the child should be educated. Parents can both share this power.
This refers to who the child lives with. Both parents should have time with the children, unless a parent loses his or her parental rights. Parenting time is not always divided 50/50.
Parents also need a detailed parenting plan that identifies how children will be transported between households and who they will spend holidays with. Parenting plans are more complicated than many people realize, so work with an experienced child custody lawyer.
Deciding The Best Interests Of The Child
All issues involving a child turn on what is in the child’s “best interests.” Ohio Revised Code § 3109.04(F) lists a number of factors a judge should take into consideration, such as:
- How well the child has adjusted to their home, community, and school
- The mental and physical health of all people involved
- The child’s relationship with their parents, siblings, and other individuals
- How well the parent follows a parenting plan
- Whether a parent has intentionally denied visitation
- Whether a parent plans to move or has moved
- A history of domestic violence or child abuse
These are only some of the factors; a judge may consider anything relevant.
However, judges cannot automatically favor the mother or father based on gender. Once upon a time, judges assumed young children should be with mothers, but that is no longer a rule judges can follow. Indeed, Ohio law assumes that both parents should have significant involvement in their children’s lives.
Modification & Enforcement
Once a court allocates rights and responsibilities, the judge expects both parents to follow the parenting plan. When a parent cannot, then enforcement action might be necessary. For example, Mom might be willfully denying Dad visitation with the child, in which case Dad should get the judge involved. We can petition to enforce child custody orders.
As children grow, the plan might need to be revised. Only a judge can modify the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. For example, you might want more time with your children or a different schedule because of lifestyle changes. We have helped parents obtain the necessary court approval.
A “custody fight” is rarely ideal. Parents will still need to work together going forward, possibly for decades as their children grow. Even if you are still angry about the divorce, you will need to set negative feelings aside for the benefit of your children.
Often, resolving custody outside of court can lay the foundation for successful co-parenting. Fortunately, Linda J. Lawrence is an experienced mediator who understands how to bring squabbling spouses together to find workable child custody solutions. We never look for a fight, though we will aggressively fight for your relationship with your children, if necessary.
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
Speak With A Dublin, Ohio Child Custody Attorney
Our attorneys are passionate advocates for our clients and will do everything possible to maximize your time with your child. For assistance, please contact us today.