The following is a summary of Ohio child custody laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Ohio Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Preference of the Child.

When making the allocation of the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the children under this section, the court shall take into account that which would be in the best interest of the children. In determining the child’s best interest for purposes of making its allocation of the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child and for purposes of resolving any issues related to the making of that allocation, the court, in its discretion, may and, upon the request of either party, shall interview in chambers any or all of the involved children regarding their wishes and concerns with respect to the allocation.

No person shall obtain or attempt to obtain from a child a written or recorded statement or affidavit setting forth the child’s wishes and concerns regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities concerning the child. No court, in determining the child’s best interest for purposes of making its allocation of the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the child or for purposes of resolving any issues related to the making of that allocation, shall accept or consider a written or recorded statement or affidavit that purports to set forth the child’s wishes and concerns regarding those matters.

-From Section §3109.04 of the Ohio Statutes.

Joint Custody Plan.

If both parents jointly request the court to grant both parents shared parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall review the parents’ plan to determine if it is in the best interest of the children. If the court determines that the plan is in the best interest of the children, the court shall approve it. If the court determines that the plan or any part of the plan is not in the best interest of the children, the court shall require the parents to make appropriate changes to the plan to meet the court’s objections to it.

If each parent requests the court to grant both parents shared parental rights and responsibilities and each also files a separate plan, the court shall review each plan filed to determine if either is in the best interest of the children. If the court determines that one of the filed plans is in the best interest of the children, the court may approve the plan. If the court determines that neither filed plan is in the best interest of the children, the court may order each parent to submit appropriate changes to the parent’s plan or both of the filed plans to meet the court’s objections, or may select one of the filed plans and order each parent to submit appropriate changes to the selected plan to meet the court’s objections.

If each parent requests the court to grant both parents shared parental rights and responsibilities but only one parent files a plan, or if only one parent request the court to grant both parents shared parental rights and responsibilities, the court in the best interest of the children may order the other parent to file a plan for shared parenting.

Whenever possible, the court shall require that a shared parenting plan ensure the opportunity for both parents to have frequent and continuing contact with the child, unless frequent and continuing contact with any parent would not be in the best interest of the child.

-From Section §3109.04 of the Ohio Statutes.

Best Interest of the Child.

In determining the best interest of a child, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

  1. The wishes of the child’s parents regarding the child’s care;
  2. If the court has interviewed the child in chambers pursuant to division (B) of this section regarding the child’s wishes and concerns as to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities concerning the child, the wishes and concerns of the child, as expressed to the court;
  3. The child’s interaction and interrelationship with the child’s parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
  4. The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
  5. The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation;
  6. The parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights;
  7. Whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments, including all arrearages, that are required of that parent pursuant to a child support order under which that parent is an obligor;
  8. 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;
  9. Whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent’s right to parenting time in accordance with an order of the court;
  10. Whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state.

In determining whether shared parenting is in the best interest of the children, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the factors above, the factors enumerated in section 3119.23 of the Revised Code, and all of the following factors:

  1. The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly, with respect to the children;
  2. The ability of each parent to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
  3. Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, other domestic violence, or parental kidnapping by either parent;
  4. The geographic proximity of the parents to each other, as the proximity relates to the practical considerations of shared parenting;
  5. The recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the child, if the child has a guardian ad litem.

When allocating parental rights and responsibilities for the care of children, the court shall not give preference to a parent because of that parent’s financial status or condition.

-From Section §3109.04 of the Ohio Statutes.

 

This information has been summarized from the Ohio statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Ohio divorce statutes online here: Ohio Divorce Laws.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GENERAL CHILD CUSTODY LAWS.

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