Child Custody – How It Is Decided

As a contested Child Custody case is always a battle, and often deals with “judging” which parent is the best parent to make the decisions for the child, choosing an attorney who is ready, willing and able to aggressively go after the evidence to prove their Client’s case, is often the difference between winning and losing.  At the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco, L.P.A. we understand the difficult circumstances that parents, children and extended families often deal with when a child custody fight. That is why it is important to have an attorney who has extensive experience in aggressively representing Client’s in custody and visitation (parenting time) related matters.  It is critical for anyone who finds themselves in a contested child custody case to find an attorney who has the experience to advise and represent them in an understandable, practical and effective manner.

Child Custody in Ohio

In child custody cases, the attorneys and Court will often times refer to the case as an action for “Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities” or “Re-Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities” (post decree).  Child custody cases deal with what is in the best interest of the children. These types of cases often times involve the use of psychological experts, who can examine either or both parents, the children, or anyone else who comes into constant contact with the children at issue. Additionally, if there is an issue of substance abuse, drug testing can be Ordered by the Court in the appropriate circumstances.

In contested child custody cases, it is common to have many types of individuals and experts testify to the Court, to provide the Court with an accurate, honest full account of all of the facts which are relevant to the children’s best interests.   It is also common in contested child custody cases for the Court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent and advocate for the best interests of the minor children.

The Courts are further guided by Ohio statutes and factually or legally similar prior court decisions, which are relevant to the determination of child custody and visitation rights.  This is yet another reason  for every parent involved in a contested child custody case to obtain an experienced attorney who will aggressively and zealously represent their interests.

The “Best Interests” Test

The statutory factors a court will consider when making decisions about residential parent (legal custody) and parenting time (visitation) as well as other parenting rights and obligations include:

a. The wishes of the child’s parent regarding his care
b. If the court has interviewed the child in chambers pursuant to (the Ohio Revised Code’s applicable 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 this child, as expressed in court
c. The child’s interaction and interrelationship with his parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest
d. The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school and community
e. The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation
f. The parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights
g.Whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments pursuant to a child support order under which that parent is an obligor
h. Whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being an abused child or a neglected child; whether either parent, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated an abused child or a neglected child, previously has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act that is the basis of an adjudication; whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of section 2919.25 of the Revised Code involving a victim who at the time of the commission of the offense was member of the family or household that is the subject of the current proceeding and caused physical harm to the victim in the commission of the offense; and 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
i. Whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent his or her right to visitation in accordance with an order of the court
j. Whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state

Are The Wishes of the Child Considered in Determining Child Cusotdy

The short answer is yes, but it is the Court that has the ultimate decision making authority to decide all issues in the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, including child custody, child support, parenting time, which parent has the decision making authority for extracurricular activities and all other issues which relate to the minor child.  This means that the Court can listen to the child’s wishes, but does not have to adopt or approve the child’s decision.  For additional information how Ohio law deals with how the wishes of the child are considered in child custody cases, you can follow this link to the Ohio Bar Association website and the article entitled, “Children’s Wishes Are Considered in Custody Matters”,

If you are looking for an attorney who will provide you with experienced, professional, aggressive and practical representation, while being sensitive to the unique concerns and goals of your case contact the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco.  Since 1993, Anthony W. Greco has represented Clients dealing with all issues involved in divorce and child custody matters.  From the complex, emotionally-charged, custody cases, to the agreed upon Shared Parenting Plan, The Law Office of Anthony Greco is prepared to aggressively represent its Clients’ concerns and interests from the first day of representation through trial.

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