Ohio Child Custody and Child Support Lawyers

Ohio Child Custody and Child Support Lawyers

Help and Hope for Divorcing Parents

Divorce is difficult enough. When children are involved, working through issues of child custody and child support can make it even harder.

In an ideal world, parents will agree on child custody and child support arrangements. But the reality of divorce is far from ideal, and parents frequently disagree on child custody and child support arrangements. When parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will step in to determine what is in the “best interests” of the children and make child custody and child support orders accordingly.

Child custody and child support decisions are made when one or both parents file a motion and plan for child custody. When the motion is filed as part of a divorce or dissolution of marriage, the motion is filed in the Ohio Domestic Relations Court. If the parents of the child are not married, the motion is filed in Ohio Juvenile Court.

When parents agree about child custody and child support issues, they can file a joint motion and plan for child custody. The court will review the plan to ensure that it is in the “best interests” of the children, and will approve it. If the court finds that the plan is not in the “best interests” of the children, the court will reject it, tell the parents what needs to be changed, and ask them to resubmit it.

When the parents cannot agree on child support or child custody, they file separate motions and plans. The court reviews both and decides which one is in the best interests of the child.

Child Custody—Allocating Parental Rights and Responsibilities

The Ohio legislature has removed the term “custody” and instead refers to “allocating parental rights and responsibilities for the care of children.”

When making decisions about parental rights and responsibilities, the court’s decisions will be “in the best interests” of the children. The court will consider the following factors in determining the best interests of the children:

  • The wishes of the children’s parents
  • Prior relationships and interactions between the children, the parents, and other relatives
  • The location of the grandparents’ residence and its distance from the children’s residence
  • The children and parents’ available
  • The age of the children
  • How the children adjust to home, school, and community
  • The wishes of the children
  • The amount of time the children have available to spend with siblings
  • The health and safety of the children
  • The physical and mental health of all parties
  • Whether the person seeking custody or visitation has been convicted of any criminal offense that resulted in a child being abused or neglected

The court’s preference is to grant joint custody, also known as “shared parenting.” When analyzing parental rights and responsibilities, the court may consider additional factors such as how well the parents cooperate and each parent’s willingness to encourage the child to maintain a strong relationship with the other parent.

As part of the divorce decree and child custody order, each parent will be assigned a parenting time schedule and visitation rights.

One or both parents will be assigned the right to make decisions about the children’s welfare, including decisions about where the children will attend school, as well as major medical, religious, and legal decisions for the children.

Parents will also share parenting time. The parent who the child primarily lives with is known as the residential parent, while the other parent is the noncustodial parent.

Joint custody, also referred to as “shared parenting,” is a parenting plan in which both parents are deemed the residential parent of the minor children and both share equally in making decisions regarding the children.

A child custody plan remains in effect until the children turn 18 or graduate from high school, whichever is later. A judge will consider modifying a child custody or a child support order if there has been a material change in circumstances and it is in the child’s best interests to make a change.

How to Calculate Child Support in Ohio

Calculating child support in Ohio is a complicated and nuanced process that will vary depending on the specifics of your unique situation. When making decisions about child support, the court will analyze factors including:

  • Each parent’s income
  • The amount of time the children spend with each parent
  • Which parent is paying for health insurance and other childcare expenses
  • Ohio’s child support statute

Parents’ Visitation Rights

Even when one parent has been granted sole custody over the children, the other parent is entitled to regular visitation. A typical visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent is one night during the week and visits every other weekend. Each parent is entitled to a minimum amount of visitation, unless visitation would put the safety or well-being of the children at risk. Even in cases of domestic violence, it is unlikely that a judge would completely eliminate visitation. Instead, a court might order supervised visitation.

Child Support and Parenting Time Are Separate Issues

Parenting time and child support are separate issues. Even if one parent is not complying with the court’s parenting plan, the other parent must continue to make child support payments as ordered by the court. The opposite is also true—if one parent has not been making child support payments, the other parent cannot withhold parenting time.

If it is necessary to make changes to a parenting plan, support order, or visitation schedule, an attorney can help with modifications to child support, child custody, and visitation orders.

Clarke Law. Reassurance for Your Family’s Future.

If you have children and are considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, you need a divorce attorney who understands the needs of divorcing parents and will fight to protect the future for you and your children.

At Clarke Law, we know that legal advice is only part of the picture. That’s why we approach divorce as true attorneys and counselors. We are caring, compassionate attorneys who listen to your concerns, make a plan to see you through, and fight for your rights.

Our attorneys have been serving the needs of divorcing parents in Northwest Ohio since 2005, and proudly represent people in and around Toledo, including Lucas County, Wood County, Fulton County, Erie County, and Sandusky County.

When you work with Clarke Law, know that you have a caring, principled advocate on your side who will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and fight to protect your future.

Learn more about divorce and dissolution of marriage in Ohio and what to expect when you hire Clarke Law, then contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case.

What to Expect

At Clarke Law, we know that our clients come to us when they are at their most vulnerable, often facing some of the most difficult and stressful events of their entire lifetimes. That is why we take pride in our caring, thoughtful approach to domestic relations, family law, and commercial litigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to hire a divorce attorney?

If you are considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side who will answer your questions, make a plan to help see you through, and fight to protect the future for you and your children. Divorce and dissolution of marriage can be overwhelming. Here, we answer questions about divorce and dissolution, property division, and child and spousal support. We understand that each case is unique, and we will answer these questions and more during your initial consultation.

What is the cost of hiring an attorney for my divorce?

There are many factors that determine the fee for divorce services, as each case is unique. To best understand your case and provide you with an initial estimate of services, we offer a free consultation to discuss your case. This meeting typically lasts about an hour during which we will listen as you tell us about your current situation, the reasons for the divorce, and share your concerns. We will answer your questions and make a plan for how to successfully get through the divorce.

How long does an average divorce take in Ohio?

A divorce in Ohio can take up to 18 months depending on the issues you are facing. We will identify these issues and provide reasonable timing expectations during the initial consultation.

When can I file for divorce?

Ohio law requires that you have been a resident of the state for at least six months before you can file for divorce.

Schedule a Consultation

We take pride in our caring, thoughtful approach to domestic relations, family law and commercial litigation. Complete this form and we will contact you to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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