Nancy L. Sponseller

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Ohio girl not allowed at own custody hearing

On behalf of Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller posted on Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

The Supreme Court of Ohio recently ruled that the child who is the subject of a custody hearing does not have a right to be present in the courtroom. This decision occurred more than 15 years after the girl’s parents divorced. The American father was originally granted supervised visitation, and the girl’s Russian mother received custody.

Both parents later violated court orders and traveled with their daughter outside the United States. It was not clear what impact, if any, these actions had on the custody order. When the father filed for unsupervised visitation in 2009, the young girl asked for a seat alongside her attorney. However, the Ottawa County juvenile court judge denied the request. The teenager also requested that visitation be denied to her father. It was not stated whether the judge allowed ongoing visitation, but the girl appealed the order denying her the ability to participate in the hearing. The Supreme Court held that this order was within the judge’s discretion.

The girl in question was four years old at the time of her parents’ divorce. Thus, she is now an adult and the court’s ruling does not impact the amount of time she must spend with each parent.

Child custody cases can become heated. One thing that an attorney may be able to do is help keep the client keep a level head and seek to keep emotion out of negotiations. Once a court issues a custody order, an attorney may be able to help enforce it by asking that the child’s passport be deposited with the court for safekeeping. It may also be possible for an attorney to seek sanctions if the order is not followed, or to request to have the order modified if the situation changes.

Source: WBNS-10TV, “Ohio court denies child’s request over visitation“, June 22, 2014