How Ohio Courts Assign Parenting Time In Custody Cases
When Ohio courts make a child custody determination and one parent receives sole legal or physical custody, the court usually still wants both parents to be involved in a child’s life. Section 3109.051 of the Ohio Revised Code details considerations for parenting time and companionship.
If there is no shared parenting decree, a court can grant parenting time and set conditions for visitations. This will include a specific schedule for parenting time, and courts could also grant visitation rights to grandparents, other relatives or those who file a motion asking for rights. Courts choose to grant companionship by considering many factors like the age of the child, the prior relationship the person and child have, the time the sole caregiver and other person has available and the location of all parties.
Courts must also assess if a child will be safe with the person asking for access and consider the person’s mental and physical health, criminal record concerning child abuse or neglect and the willingness of the party to reschedule visits and work with the parent or person who has sole custody. A judge might also interview a child privately to ask the child’s wishes about a parent or someone else who seeks companionship. Parents can also voice concerns or wishes when another person seeks access.
Parents who are unmarried or going through a divorce may have to make tough decisions regarding child custody. Courts can make a determination or make changes to a proposed parenting plan, but a couple might be able to come to an agreement without the court’s intervention. Using mediation services and making decisions outside of court can be less expensive and time-consuming, and an attorney can represent a parent when dealing with issues of child support or custody.
Source: codes.ohio.gov, “3109.051 Parenting time – companionship or visitation rights“, October 18, 2014