Child Custody

Child Custody Attorney

Our Child Custody Attorney at Sylkatis Law focuses on child custody matters in Lorain, Elyria and surrounding communities.

While the term “custody” is no longer present in Ohio laws it is however, what parties contemplating a divorce often think of the most. These days, courts allocate “parental rights and responsibilities” for the care of minor children affected by divorce. These rights and responsibilities are allocated one of two ways:

  • One parent will be designated the residential parent and legal custodian of the children, or
  • The court issues a shared parenting order, requiring both parents to share physical and legal custody of the children

The overriding consideration in both scenarios is what the court deems to be the best interest of the child. How does a court determine the best interest of the child? In determining the best interest of the child, the court considers all factors including but not limited to:

  • That the child’s parents want
  • The wishes of the child
  • 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 his home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all everyone involved in the situation
  • Which parent is more likely to honor and facilitate visitation and companionship rights approved by the court
  • Whether either parent has failed to make their child support payments
  • Whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being abused or neglected; if either parent, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated an abused or a neglected child, previously has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act underlying the adjudication; whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic violence and whether he/she 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 or a neglected child
  • 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
  • Whether either parent has a residence or is planning to establish a residence outside of Ohio.

Parental Rights aka Child Custody

When a relationship end, whether the parties are married or unmarried; only the courts can order or establish parental rights and responsibilities. Those rights include whether or not there will be a shared parenting relationship; or if one parent is to be designated residential and custodial parent.

Shared Parenting

The court may allocate the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the children to both parents. This requires them to share all or some of the aspects of the physical and legal care of the children. In such a case, the court must approve the parenting plan. Shared parenting does not necessarily require an equal division of time.

When determining whether shared parenting is in the best interest of the child your child custody attorney will present evidence of:

  • The parents’ ability to cooperate and make decisions about the child jointly
  • Each parent’s ability to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent
  • Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, other domestic violence, or parental kidnapping
  • The geographic proximity of the parents to each other
  • The recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the child, if there is one.

Parenting Time aka Visitation

The visitation schedule adopted by the court indicate which days of the week the non-residential parent will have the child.  It will also provide for when the non-residential parent can take the child on extended vacations; and which holidays the child will spend with each parent. There are numerous factors your child custody attorney will present to the court; all of which it will consider when allocating parenting time to the non-residential parent.

Grandparent Visitation

Under current Ohio law, grandparents do have some rights to have time with their grandchildren. Ohio courts are permitted to award visitation to grandparents when the parents are divorced; to the grandparents when that parent dies; or to the grandparents of the father when when a child is born to an unmarried mother.