Ohio Child Visitation Rights Lawyer
Co-parenting isn’t easy. Usually, both parents want a lot of time with their children, and coordinating work schedules, school events, vacations, and holidays can take time and effort. Coordinating and agreeing to a schedule can be even more difficult when parents are separating or getting divorced. Emotions tend to be higher, and stressors are often much greater, making compromising and planning more difficult. Because family law disputes are what we do, the attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm understand the difficulties that come with visitation and parenting time schedules. We treat every client with extraordinary compassion and fight aggressively for them.
Lead attorney Brian Joslyn isn’t just any lawyer. Rue Ratings, an organization promoting extraordinary legal excellence, named Brian Joslyn as one of the Best Attorneys in America, and he was nominated as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association. If you work with Brian Joslyn and his team, you can feel confident that you are working with highly skilled attorneys. To receive a free consultation, please call our office at (888) USA-RIGHTS or contact us online.
If your ex-spouse is denying you time with your kids, we invite you to book a free consultation with one of our experienced child visitation rights attorneys today.
Ohio Visitation Rights Information Center
What Is Parenting Time?
Under Ohio law, visitation, often called “parenting time,” is court-ordered time granted to a parent to ensure the child and parent continue to build their relationship together. Parenting time typically is for the parent who is not the child’s main caregiver or “residential” parent. The non-residential parent is the parent who receives visitation.
Judges have considerable authority to make decisions for parents and children in family law disputes. However, any parenting time order must be reasonable and be in the child’s best interests. Both parents should be provided with frequent and ongoing contact with their children.
Who Can Ask For Visitation?
Parenting time is sometimes referred to as “visitation.” It is also known as “companionship” rights when someone other than the parents requests time with the children. Although parents are typically the ones working out parenting time schedules, grandparents, other relatives, and “other persons” are specifically identified under Ohio law as individuals who can be granted visitation. “Other persons” often include people like former stepparents who helped raise the children.
To be granted visitation as a grandparent, relative, or other person, the individual who wants visitation must file a motion with the court. For the court to grant parenting time, a judge must find that:
- The individual has an interest in the child’s welfare, and
- Visitation with the individual is in the child’s best interests.
If you are a grandparent, relative, or other person interested in establishing visitation with a child, please call our office at (888) USA-RIGHTS to schedule your free consultation or contact us online.
How Is Parenting Time Established?
Mediated Parenting Plans
Ideally, parents will present a judge with an agreed-upon parenting plan that supports the children’s school, personal schedules, and unique needs. Mutually planned and agreed-upon parenting schedules grant both parents considerable time with the children despite busy work and personal commitments.
Mediation may be an option if you believe you and your child’s other parent can work together and create a parenting agreement. The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm have represented many clients during the mediation process. If you want to learn more about mediation, please call our office at (888) USA-RIGHTS to schedule your free consultation or contact us online.
Although judges like to see parents agree to a parenting plan, judges must consider whether the plan is in the children’s best interests. If judges believe the children should not have as much time with one parent or should have more time with the other parent, the judge can reject the plan and state in the court order why the children’s interests are better served under a different plan.
When Parents Cannot Agree To A Schedule
Often parents cannot agree to a parenting schedule. Disagreements arise for several reasons, including relationship difficulties, not wanting the other parent to “win,” and issues pertaining to child support and financial difficulties. There can be other concerns, too, that make it difficult for parents to agree on a parenting schedule. If one parent has an ongoing substance abuse problem or a recent history of domestic violence towards the children or other parent, the ability to compromise and work together becomes considerably more difficult.
No matter your position in your family, working with a qualified family law and parenting time attorney can greatly improve the outcome of your case. At Joslyn Law Firm, our attorneys understand that family dynamics can become strained, but your relationship with your children shouldn’t have to suffer. When you and the other parent cannot agree to a schedule, we will aggressively advocate for you so you can maximize the amount of time you spend with your children.
Best Interest Factors
Whether you and the other parent submit a parenting schedule to the judge for review or there is no agreement, a judge must consider ensuring that a parenting schedule reflects the children’s best interests. In making this decision, a judge must consider the following factors:
- Interactions/interrelationships between the child and parents, siblings, or other persons;
- Distances between parents’ homes;
- Parents’ availability, school and work schedules, holiday and vacation schedules;
- Children’s ages;
- Children’s adjustment to home, school, and a community;
- Children’s health and safety;
- Both parent’s willingness to reschedule parenting time as needed;
- Suspected or recorded criminal convictions of child abuse/neglect;
- Any other important factors that should be included.
If there is already an agreed-upon parenting schedule in place and you want to change the parenting schedule, a judge can also consider whether either parent willfully and continuously denied parenting time to the other parent.
Sometimes the judge or the parents want the children’s preferences to be considered regarding parenting time. These interviews can be very revealing, especially in high conflict cases and disputes involving substance abuse or suspected child abuse. The judge can choose to interview children, or either parent can request an interview. If the judge interviews children, the results are a factor in deciding the parenting schedule. Judges often prefer to avoid interviewing children because doing so can be stressful for children.
Although holding interviews are ultimately up to the judge, a child’s age and maturity may greatly determine whether they occur. When they do occur, several procedural rules apply. These rules are in place to ensure that children can speak to judges openly and honestly. Interviews do not occur in courtrooms but in the judge’s chambers or office. They are “off-the-record,” meaning that they are not recorded by a court reporter, and they do not become part of the official court record. Judges usually cannot accept any written or recorded statements from parents, attorneys, or anyone else before or during a proceeding that establishes visitation if those statements allegedly come from the children.
From A Child’s Perspective
Other than the judge and children, only the following individuals are allowed to be present for an interview between the judge and children:
- Judges’ staff;
- Children’s attorney (if there is one); and
- Parents’ attorneys.
The judge ultimately decides whether anyone from the above list is allowed to be present for the interview. Try to think about it from a child’s point of view. If you were a child, being interviewed by a judge in the presence of attorneys and others you might not know could feel intimidating and scary. This can be true even if everyone in the room is very friendly. Generally, the fewer people in the interview, the better to ensure that the children feel safe to say whatever they want.
Parents are not allowed to observe or participate in the interviews. Although this can frustrate some parents, the truth is that children are far more likely to be honest and genuine when their parents are not present. In many, if not most cases, children have strong bonds with at least one or both of their parents. Even if they know their parents are separating or not getting along, they still want to make their parents happy, spend time with them, and say nice things about them. Children may feel pressured to water down facts or even lie if parents are present. This isn’t necessarily a reflection of the children or the parents. If you are a parent and are concerned that the judge might interview your child, try to remember that the judge is trying to collect information while keeping the child as distant from any familial difficulties as possible.
What Does An Interview Look Like?
In a word—informal. Calling it an “interview” is probably misleading. Interviews between judges and children are conversations. Judges know that kids are kids, not parties to the case, and deserve to have the best relationship possible with both parents. Conversations can greatly differ depending on age and maturity levels as well.
There isn’t necessarily a standard interview. The questions and direction of a conversation are highly dependent on the purpose of the interview. If there are allegations of a parent using drugs around children, the judge will gradually work towards asking questions about those issues. If the parents are high conflict parents who simply can’t agree on anything pertaining to their children, the judge may ask more general questions about enjoyable activities in school and at each parent’s home, the support offered by both parents, and more. If children are much older, perhaps in high school, judges can be much more direct with their questions.
When older children respond with reasonable answers, judges can heavily consider those answers in their parenting time decisions. You may wonder how this can be when parents and their attorneys spend considerable time advocating for their positions. Frankly, as much as a judge would like to encourage a 16-year-old to spend time with each parent for a certain period, judges know that teenagers have minds of their own.
As a parent, you have the right to be in your child’s life. Unfortunately, many parents are unable to see their children. Child custody and visitation are contentious issues that shouldn’t be handled alone. Consider contacting Joslyn Law Firm and speaking with a child visitation lawyer. A visitation rights lawyer or child custody attorney from our family law firm can help protect your rights to see your child and be involved in your child’s life. Additionally, our visitation rights lawyers can help you set up a visitation schedule that corresponds well to your child’s life as well as your child’s mental and physical health. Remember that a child custody lawyer may advocate for you whether you are a custodial parent or a non-custodial parent. Our child custody attorneys will strive to ensure you remain in your child’s life and have input into your child’s physical health decisions. Contact us if you have child custody or visitation concerns.
What If The Other Parent Isn’t Following The Parenting Time Schedule?
Several clients have come to us saying their child’s other parent refuses to follow a court-ordered parenting schedule. Unfortunately, this is one of the more common problems of long-term co-parenting. When this happens, a parent could:
- Neglect to use parenting time, fail to show up;
- Repeatedly cancel with little notice;
- Show up late for pick-up or drop-off times; or
- Fail to reasonably work with the other parent on holidays or vacation times.
These issues can add considerable costs and inconveniences to your life and create inconsistencies and confusion for your children.
If you are experiencing the above issues with your child’s other parent, you do not have to remain frustrated and stuck. We can help you ask the court to enforce the order or modify the schedule. Each motion has different requirements and highly depends on each case’s unique circumstances. In some circumstances, it might be necessary to establish a parental alienation case at the same time.
For a court to modify a prior order, you must show that the current parenting schedule isn’t working to serve the children’s best interests, but a new schedule would. In other words, something significant needs to have changed between the time of the initial court order and now. If the child’s other parent has only failed to follow the schedule a few times, that probably isn’t enough for the court to change the schedule.
Other Concerns Impacting Parenting Time Schedules
Perhaps your children’s other parent has been great at following the schedule for many months or years but suddenly begins to miss appointments and becomes inconsistent. Rather than just poor planning on the part of the other parent, you have learned that the other parent has a new addiction or has relapsed. Substance use often impacts parenting time scheduling as well as the quality of parenting time.
If you suspect substance use, modifying your parenting schedule on a short-term, emergency basis may be appropriate for you. If you feel your child is in danger due to the other parent’s substance use, you do not need to experience the court process alone.
Hiring An Attorney For Your Visitation And Parenting Time Case In Ohio
The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm are ready to answer your questions about visitation and parenting time and help you create a plan that maximizes your time with your children. As an award-winning lawyer, managing attorney Brian Joslyn has the experience and skills needed to aggressively fight for you. When you are ready, please call our office at (888) USA-RIGHTS to schedule your free consultation or contact us online.
If your ex-spouse is denying you time with your kids, or if you have any questions about divore or child custody, we invite you to book a free consultation with one of our experienced child visitation rights attorneys today.
We serve clients in Franklin, Pickaway, Delaware, Licking, Madison, Union, and Fairfield counties.
What Our Clients Say
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This page was last updated by Brian Joslyn