Custody and Visitation in Non-Divorce Cases

Date Posted:May 2, 2016 | Categories:,

The standard judges use when issuing child custody and visitation orders in divorce cases is the best interest of the child. When determining which arrangements meet that standard, the judge considers statements by both parents, reports from court officers who conducted home visits and family interviews, and opinions from experts like social workers and teachers. The custodial relationship that best meets the child’s needs for physical safety, health, education, and opportunities for succeeding later in life is assigned by the judge. Visitation rights are granted to the noncustodial parent based on how time spent with the visiting parent will help the child grow and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

The same decision-making process is followed in non-divorce cases such as legal separations and families involving never-married parents, grandparents caught up in the end of a marriage, grandparents who have played a significant role in caring for a child with a single parent, and previously married spouses seeking to modify existing parental orders.

One of the most common non-divorce child custody and visitation cases the Ohio family law attorneys with Edward F. Whipps & Associates handle involves establishing father’s rights when the man never married the mother of his child. State law and family courts favor having both the biological father and birth mother involved in a child’s life, so men are put at no automatic legal disadvantage when seeking legal custody or court-ordered visitations.

A father who did not marry the mother of his child will often need to take a paternity test as a first step in establishing his right to request custody or visitation. Also, if the mother or the person with current legal custody of the child raises any challenges to the father’s request, mediation, court assessments of the father’s finances and living situation, and a hearing before a judge may be required. Children considered old and mature enough to speak on their own behalf will also be asked if they want to live with a non-married father seeking primary custody. A child’s opinion will not be taken as the final word, but it will carry some weight.

Each child custody and visitation case is as unique as the people and relationships involved. Consulting with a caring family lawyer who knows court procedures and case law can help make going through the process smoother and increase a client’s chances of achieving the desired outcome. To put the Edward F. Whipps & Associates legal team to work for you, contact us online or call us at (614) 461-6006.