When deciding custody, the Court will look at the ‘best interest of the child.’ In general, the court will consider who best met the needs of the child. The “best interest” factors are:
(a) The wishes of the child’s parents;
(b) the child’s wishes and concerns;
(c) The child’s interaction with the child’s parents and siblings;
(d) The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
(e) The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation;
(f) The parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved visitation rights;
(g) Whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments;
(h) Any criminal convictions;
(i) Any denial of the other parent’s right to parenting time;
(j) Whether either parent has established a residence (or planning) outside this state.
In determining whether shared parenting is in the best interest of the children, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the factors the factors above, as well as:
(a) The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly;
(b) The ability of each parent to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
(c) Any history of child abuse, spouse abuse, or other domestic violence;
(d) The geographic proximity of the parents to each other;
(e) The recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the child, if the child has a guardian ad litem.
If you are married, you and your spouse have joint custody rights. During your divorce, either spouse could request sole custody or shared parenting. However, if you were not married, the unmarried woman who gives birth to a child has custody of the child automatically. The law states:
“An unmarried female who gives birth to a child is the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the child until a court of competent jurisdiction issues an order designating another person as the residential parent and legal custodian." (Ohio Revised Code 3109.042)
So, the unmarried woman has legal custody of the child without having to go to court. That means she has all the rights of a parent to decide who sees the child and for how long, school and medical decisions, as well as any other decisions in the child’s life. If the child’s father files in court for custody, the court will decide custody based on the facts. The Court must give each parent an equal opportunity to prove that he or she is the better parent to have custody.
What is the cost of filing for child custody?
Fees for child support or child custody range greatly but are typically a flat fee service. As with most legal services, the fee is reflective of your specific circumstances and the exact fee is only determined through one of our free consultations.