To understand who custody is decided, one must first understand that there are one of two categories that a custody case will fall in. Custody cases are either an “Allocation” or a “Reallocation” of parental rights and responsibilities. An “allocation” is an initial decision regarding custody. A “reallocation” is a change to an initial decision regarding custody. Within these categories, child custody cases decide what is in the “best interest” of the child(ren). As a result, custody cases often involve the use of psychological experts. These experts may examine one or both parents, the children, or any other significant figures in the case. Additionally, the court may order drug and/or alcohol testing of one or both parents in the appropriate circumstances.
It is also common to have many individuals and experts testify to the court. These witness should provide the court with an accurate, honest and full account of all facts relevant to the child(ren)’s best interests. Further, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent and advocate for the best interest of the minor child(ren). Courts also look to the relevant Ohio statutes and factually or legally similar court decisions to determine child custody and visitation rights. Courts use a complex variety of information to determine what is in the “best interest” of children.
The Best Interest 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:
- the wishes of the child’s parent regarding his care;
- if the court has interviewed the child in chambers pursuant to ORC 3109.04(B)(1);
- the child’s interaction and interrelationship with his parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
- the child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
- the mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation;
- the parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights;
- whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments pursuant to a child support order;
- if either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded to any criminal offense involving any act resulting in a child being an abused child or a neglected child;
- whether the residential parent or one of the parents has continuously and willfully denied the other parent their right to visitation;
- if either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside of the state.
Do the Child’s Wishes Matter?
The short answer is yes, however, the court has the ultimate decision-making authority. The court decides: child custody, child support, parenting time, which parent has the decision-making authority for extracurricular activities, and all other issues related to the minor child. The court can listen to the child’s wishes, but does not have to adopt or approve the child’s decision. For more information on children’s wishes in custody, click here.
The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco provides each and every client with professional, aggressive and practical representation. Our top priority is our client’s unique goals and concerns. Our firm has experience preparing for all issues involved in a divorce or a dissolution. From complex, high-asset, and emotionally charged cases, to the most basic and amicable dissolution, Attorney Greco’s team is prepared to aggressively represent our clients’ concerns and interests from the first day of representation through trial.
Our firm has represented clients in the pursuit or defense of their child custody rights for over 25 years. Attorney Greco and his team will aggressively argue their client’s position from the first meeting through trial. Click Here to contact us and see what sets us apart from other firms.