Child custody and parenting time are sensitive, highly emotional aspects of family law that have a significant, long-lasting impact on your parenting role – and ultimately affect your child’s well-being.
In Ohio, courts will consider the child’s best interests when determining child custody and visitation matters. Various factors ultimately influence the court’s determination. Therefore, the judge must have all the facts before making a decision.
Our family law attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, has over 30 years of experience helping parents with child custody, visitation, and support matters. We know how critical parenting time is to your relationship with your child – as well as their mental, emotional, and physical health. That is why we fight – using all of our skills, dedication, and resources – to get you and your child the best possible outcome.
Types of Custody in Ohio
When parents go through a divorce or legal separation, most think of custody as only one issue that needs to be decided – when in fact, it refers to two completely separate matters. Ohio law recognizes two types of custody: legal and physical.
Legal custody refers to the ability to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. These decisions include what school they will attend, medical treatment they will receive, activities they will participate in, and religion they will practice. Legal custody can be awarded to one parent (sole custody) or both parents (known as “shared parenting.”)
Physical Custody or Visitation
On the other hand, physical custody or visitation refers to which parent the child will live with. In ideal cases, physical custody is shared between both parents, meaning the child alternates living at both parents’ residences.
In some cases, however, one parent is awarded sole physical custody and is known as the “custodial parent.” In this situation, the other parent, or “non-custodial parent,” is given parenting time or visitation rights. They are typically given a visitation schedule of regular days and times when they and their child have the opportunity to spend time together.
Factors in Determining Child Visitation in Cleveland
In custody and parenting, time matters, and courts work hard to determine what is in a child’s best interests. Several factors are considered when establishing visitation, including:
- The child’s wishes
- Their mental and physical health
- The child’s unique needs
- The parent’s wishes
- The child’s existing relationship and interaction with each parent
- Their adjustment to home, school, and community life
- The child’s relationship with their siblings and others living in the homes
- The parent’s mental and physical health
- Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, child abuse, or child neglect
- Whether either parent has failed to pay court-ordered child support payments
- Either parent’s history of denying the other parent’s right to parenting time
- Whether either parent lives or plans to live out-of-state
A domestic relations judge will carefully assess these factors and make a decision based on what they feel is in the child’s best interest. Because these factors weigh heavily on the court’s decision, it is critical for your attorney to skillfully and thoroughly provide all of the facts supporting the ideal visitation arrangement.
Parenting time matters often arise when a child is born to unwed parents. In Ohio, an unwed mother is automatically given full physical and legal custody of her child. This remains the case until the child’s father establishes paternity and requests custody and visitation from the courts.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, a father can establish paternity in one of three ways.
Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit – Both parents, can acknowledge paternity by filling out and signing this affidavit.
Court Order – Paternity can be established through a court order issued by a Domestic Relations Court during a divorce proceeding.
Administrative Order – A father can have a paternity test performed through their local Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA.) Once the test confirms he is the biological father, he can petition the court for custody and visitation.
If you are a father seeking visitation in Cleveland, we welcome you to contact our child visitation attorneys to discuss your rights and determine the best course of action.
Grandparent Visitation in Cleveland, Ohio
A grandparent plays a pivotal role in their grandchild’s life. They teach their grandchildren important life lessons and greatly contribute to their health and well-being.
But in certain situations, grandparents are denied the right to a relationship with their grandchildren. This can be especially devastating when they previously had a close bond. It is not uncommon for grandparents to be denied visitation when:
- The grandchild’s parents separate or divorce
- When the grandchild was born to unmarried parents
- One of the grandchild’s parents die
- When one or both parents deny them visitation for any reason
Unlike many other states, Ohio recognizes grandparents’ rights and will award visitation or custody should a Cleveland court deem it in the child’s best interests. To learn more about your rights as a grandparent, contact the experienced and compassionate legal team at Slater & Zurz.
How a Cleveland Child Visitation Lawyer Can Help
Whether you are a parent fighting for visitation – or a grandparent wanting desperately to see your grandchild, Slater & Zurz can help. Our child visitation lawyers in Cleveland will work diligently and aggressively to get you the desired result.
We will help you address any issue relating to child visitation, custody, or support by:
- Being readily available to address your questions or concerns
- Taking the time to get to know you and your situation so that we can tailor the most effective strategy
- Working to resolve the matter quickly and amicably outside of court
- Skillfully advocating on your behalf in court should negotiations not result in a resolution in line with your needs and goals.
- Continue offering our expert guidance and support in all future family law matters if and when they arise.
Talk to a Leading Visitation Lawyer in Cleveland Today
If you are facing a child custody or visitation matter, you can count on the skilled and dedicated team at Slater & Zurz. We understand how frightening and stressful these issues can become, so we are committed to getting you the resolution you – and your child – deserve.
We will work hard to help you resolve your child custody and parenting time arrangement in a mutually beneficial manner through skilled negotiations. However, if the matter remains unresolved, we are more than willing and able to advocate on your behalf in court to secure an outcome in line with your – and your child’s needs. When experience matters, turn to the Cleveland family law attorney at Slater & Zurz. To learn more about visitation and child custody in Ohio, call (440) 557-2861 or complete our simple online form to schedule your FREE, no-obligation case review today.