It is the general received wisdom that in many court systems the judge will automatically assume the child will be better off with its mother. This is based in historical president, but it must always be remembered that fathers custody rights are important too.
As a father I found my self in the extremely painful position of having to fight my ex wife for visitation rights to my daughter. Let me just say this, regardless of how well you and your ex do or don’t get on there is definitely a best way to go about things to get the best deal. If you are too nice, or in any way complacent about things your other half’s lawyer will try to run roughshod over you. You need to put up an excellent fight or you may lose out on your rights completely, ending up only seeing your child once a month or even worse when it suits your ex.
Some people are led to believe that if their ex gets full custody in the first court, then they can go back to court and apply for joint custody. While this is true, as a strategy this way of doing things rarely works. Even visitation rights could be put in jeopardy using this strategy. At the end of the day the more times you end up going to court the less likely you are to see a positive result and get child custody rights you deserve.
When Dealing with the Ohio child custody system (or that of any other state) you need to get as much information and knowledge as you possibly can before your court date. This may be one of the most important days in your life as regards your relationship with your child and surely that makes it well worth preparing for.
You have to be willing to put up a good a fight for your fathers custody rights. Get everything worked out and every shred of possible information you can before going to court. It can only work in your favour. You of course need to get yourself the best lawyer you can afford (an Ohio child custody specialist if possible). But also dont be afraid to learn as much about the whole process as you can yourself.
Ohio State Custody & Support Guidelines
In child custody cases it is important to remember that either one of the parents may be awarded custody, the court shall not give any preference to a parent because of that individuals financial status or condition.
The court may give parental rights and responsibilities as regards care of the children primarily to one of the parents. The court may also designate that parent as the legal custodian and residential parent of the child, the other rights and responsibilities for the care of the children, including, but not limited to, the responsibility for the provision of support for the children. The right of the non residential parent to have ongoing contact with the children may also be designated as the court sees fit.
The last point there is the doozie “contact with the children may also be designated as the court sees fit”. Essentially this means that if you really fail to make a case for ongoing contact, or if your ex spouse makes a very strong case to disallow you contact you may be stuck having virtually no rights as regards seeing your children.
It goes on to say. When allocating parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall take into consideration the following factors:
- The wishes of the child
- The wishes of the parents regarding the child’s care
- The child’s interaction and interrelationship with their parents, siblings, and any other significant persons that may affect affect the child’s best interests
- The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community
- The mental and physical health of everyone involved in the situation
- Whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state
- Whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offence involving any act that resulted in a child being an abused child or a neglected child
- The parent more likely to facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation rights
When determining whether a shared parenting arrangement is in the child’s best interests, the court shall consider the following factors:
- The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly, with respect to the children
- The ability of each parent 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 by either parent
- The proximity of the parents to each other geographic, as this relates to the practical considerations of shared parenting
- The recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the child, if the child has a guardian ad litem (Ad Litem is a legal term that refers to a party appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party who is incapable of representing themselves. In this case this will sometimes be your child)
When considering your actions building up to your case or the building of your case always keep these factors as high in your mind as you can as they can make all the difference between a satisfactory sharing of parenting and decent visitation rights and a very unsatisfactory result.