A divorce takes an emotional toll on husband, wife and children. Kids thrive on stability and comfort. Children may feel that they’d rather be with their mother and each other, rather than with the father. Or, they may feel that the mother was abusive, and the father is a good parent. Courts in the Buckeye State use Ohio’s Child Custody and Visitation Statute (Section §3109.04). The information here is a summary based on this statute (see Resources).
Ohio Child Visitation Laws
The Ohio Visitation Law allows for the parent that doesn’t have custody of the kids to be able to visit them. The court decides what time the visitation occurs, what frequency it happens and under what conditions the visitation can happen. Ideally, the law strives for the parent not living with the child to be able to visit the child as often as possible. If visitation doesn’t benefit the children, the court would prohibit the non-resident parent from visiting.
Relationship and Scheduling
The court considers how well the children interacted with the other members of the family. It also considers relationships; for example, if the child was a stepchild, the court might not grant visitation rights. The court also considers the home location for each parent and how far those homes are from each other. Both parent’s employment schedules are matched to the children’s school schedules to find out who will have more time for the kids.
The child’s age is considered as well as the home the child feels more comfortable living in. Another factor that any court in Ohio will consider is how much time the child will be able to spend with brothers and sisters. The court will put heavy emphasis on the child’s wishes.
The Ohio court will check both parents’ criminal background to see if they entered a guilty plea or were convicted for abuse or neglect. If one of the parents was previously divorced and had custody of the kids, the court will look at whether they respected the court’s decision or not. The court will also look at both parent’s plans and see if either one of them intends to leave Ohio.
Visitation Rights in Conjunction with the Overall Divorce
Even if a parent has visitation rights, that parent doesn’t always have to exercise it. If the parent living with the child refuses the other parent’s rights to visit the child, then the court could hold them in contempt of court. The non-resident parent can’t withhold spousal or child support funding if the resident parent refuses visitation.
Changing a Visitation Order
Sometimes, the circumstances between one or both of the parents changes. A child may outgrow his mother and may need the father’s stronger hand and guidance. The mother’s job responsibility could have increased and she needs the father to spend more time with the children to cover her absences. If both parents could show the court that conditions have changed and that it’s in the child’s best interest for visitation to increase, the Ohio court could change the visitation order.