Family Law : Child Custody

What is visitation?

When a parent is awarded custody of a child, the other parent is usually entitled to visitation rights. Under Ohio law, the usual legal term for visitation is “parenting time.”

How is visitation established?

Each county in Ohio has a “standard parenting time schedule,” which is used as a starting point by courts in setting parenting time schedules for the cases in those jurisdictions.  Visitation can only be determined by the courts.

The standard parenting time schedules vary somewhat from county to county.

Are there alternatives to “standard parenting time schedule?”

A court may order a parenting time schedule with terms and conditions that vary from the standard schedule.

In cases involving child abuse or domestic violence, the court may restrict the abusive parent’s visitation rights.

For example, the court may order supervised visitation, designating specific pick-up and drop-off points, prohibiting the parent’s consumption of alcohol or legal drugs during visitation periods, requiring the abusive parent to attend parenting classes or counseling, or prohibiting the parent from taking the children out of state.

What if a parent violates their visitation rights?

A custodial parent’s interference with the visitation rights or parenting time of the other parent may trigger a court contempt action against that parent. Such interference is also a “best interest of the child” factor that the court must consider in determining which parent should be awarded custody in any future child custody or custody modification proceedings.

What does emancipation mean?

Emancipation means the act or process of releasing a person from the parental control, care and custody of his or her parent(s).

In general, emancipation occurs automatically when a person reaches age 18, the age of majority for most purposes, or upon graduation from high school if a child turns 18 during his or her last year of high school.

However, a person may be emancipated before he or she attains the age of 18 if the child gets married or joins the military service.

Ohio law does not provide a way for someone under the age of 18 to petition a court to "become emancipated." Even if a court relieves parents of financial responsibility for a minor child, the child is not emancipated and the parents still may be held responsible for the child's actions.

What is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)?

A Guardian Ad Litem is appointed by the court for the specific purpose of protecting the interests of a minor during the course of legal proceedings.

Does a party to a child custody proceeding have to inform the court of any other court proceedings relating to the children or give information regarding the present and past whereabouts of the children?

Yes.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), Ohio Revised Code Section 3127.23,  requires, that whenever a party files a complaint or answer in a child custody case, that party must also file an affidavit giving information concerning other court proceedings involving the children, other persons who have physical custody of the children, the present address or whereabouts of the children, and the places where the children have lived within the past five years.

You may complete a UCCJEA affidavit by clicking here.

I am a grandparent -- what rights do I have to visitation of my grandchild?

You must file a Motion to Establish Visitation through the court. More information about your rights is available in the Grandparents Rights With Regard to Grandchildren brochure.

For more information on domestic violence visit the Ohio Domestic Violence Resource Center.

See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

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