Ohio Mother’s Rights Lawyer
Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a lifetime, impacting how you think, feel about the world, and what you want to teach children. As parents, mothers usually want to spend time with their children and watch them grow. Because parenting is so important to the human experience, all parents have a legal right to spend time with and take responsibility for their children.
If you are an unmarried mother or are going through a divorce with the child’s other parent, it is important for you to know your rights and how to protect them. Whether you are experiencing divorce, custody, or another parenting dilemma, co-parenting arrangements will likely impact you and your child’s life. At Joslyn Law Firm, we understand these dilemmas because family law is what we do. We know that each case is unique and that every client has a different story.
In Columbus, Ohio, lead attorney Brian Joslyn and his team are known as some of the finest lawyers in the area. Rue Ratings, a highly prestigious organization dedicated to finding and promoting the finest legal representation in the country, selected Brian Joslyn as one of the Best Attorneys in the United States. He was also nominated by The National Trial Lawyers Association as a Top 100 Trial Attorney. When you work with Joslyn Law Firm, rest assured that you are in good hands. Call us today at (888) USA-RIGHTS to schedule your free consultation or contact us online.
Our family law attorneys serve clients in Franklin, Pickaway, Delaware, Licking, Madison, Union, and Fairfield counties.
Mother’s Rights Information Center
Your Right To Be A Mother To Your Child
When mothers feel uneasy about time spent with their children, fears often come from the other parent’s threats. These threats show themselves in many different ways, including:
- Keeping the child from the mother withholding her parenting time;
- Failing to follow a court order regarding custody and parenting time details;
- Verbal threats to take away the child or bring the mother to court; and
- Using the child as a bargaining piece for other relationship problems.
If any of the problems above seem familiar to you, it is time to consult an attorney to help ease your mind and advocate for your right to be a mother to your child.
The United States Supreme Court and the state of Ohio have determined that parents have the ultimate authority to decide who spends time with their children. Generally speaking, the law presumes that parents are in the best position to determine the best interests of their children. Because parenting your children is a right, it cannot be taken from you unless you have been determined to be unfit or your parental rights have been terminated. Proving parental unfitness and terminating parental rights are very difficult to achieve.
Custody And Parenting Time For Mothers
Whether or not you and the child’s father have a court order in place that outlines custody and parenting time, or you are in a divorce disputing the issue, having a general understanding of the law surrounding custody labels and parenting time can provide you with a place to start.
In a custody and parenting time dispute, courts have the authority to grant sole custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents.
Legal custody includes the right to have control over your children and decision-making power over their lives. These decisions include medical care, schooling, where they live, religious upbringing, and legal decisions for the child. If one parent has legal custody, but both dispute medical procedures for the child, the parent with legal custody has the ultimate authority to make the medical decision. Religious upbringing can also be a highly contentious issue for parents. If a parent has sole legal custody and wants the child to be raised under a particular religion or church, that parent has the sole authority to make that decision.
Ohio law requires courts to consider both parents equally in a legal custody dispute. The court cannot favor one party over the other because of income, gender, or in most cases, the reasons for a relationship ending. If parents share joint legal custody, both work together to make choices for their child’s upbringing. Generally, Ohio courts favor joint legal custody so that both parents have an opportunity to play a significant role in their child’s life.
Physical custody includes the day-to-day care of raising children, such as providing meals, getting them to and from school, and where they live. If one parent has sole physical custody, that parent is called the “custodial” or “residential parent,” and their home is the child’s primary residence. Even if one parent has sole physical custody, it does not necessarily mean that the other parent receives no time with the child.
If parents share joint physical custody, both parents are considered residential parents, each with a primary residence for the child.
If one parent has sole physical custody, courts can grant parenting time to the non-custodial or non-residential parent. The purpose of parenting time is to ensure that the non-custodial parent has opportunities to spend time with the child and build a positive relationship, even though the other parent hold’s the child’s primary residence.
How Courts Determine Custody
To get joint legal and physical custody, at least one of the parents must submit to the court a shared parenting plan that reflects the best interests of the children. If neither parent submits a plan that is in the children’s best interests, the court must grant sole custody to one parent. It is important to remember, however, that judges greatly appreciate parents who can agree upon a schedule for their children. Judges are people too, and in family law, they generally prefer that parents decide what is best for their children rather than making big decisions for children and their parents. An agreed-upon parenting schedule also shows a judge that the parents are capable of working together for the benefit of their children, even if their relationship is strained or ending.
Best Interest Factors
When judges review parenting schedules or make custody decisions for parents and children, Ohio custody laws provide judges with the following “best interest factors” to consider:
- Parents’ wishes regarding child care;
- Child’s relationships and interactions with parents, siblings, and other people who could impact the child;
- Child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- Mental and physical health of all individuals involved in the familial situation;
- Whether and which parent is more likely to honor and facilitate court-ordered parenting time;
- Whether either parent has missed child support payments, including a failure to pay back child support payments;
- Whether the parent or anyone in either parent’s household has a criminal conviction for certain sex offenses or child-related crimes, or physical harm to the other parent;
- If there is an existing parenting agreement, whether either parent has previously and willfully denied parenting time to the other parent; and
- Whether a parent has plans to move out of state.
Children’s preferences can also be considered if the judge interviews the children. A parent can request an interview, or the judge can decide to speak to the children. Whether or not these interviews occur often depends on the children’s ages and maturity.
When courts consider a shared parenting arrangement, the court must consider the best interest factors and the following additional factors:
- The parents’ ability to cooperate for their children’s benefit;
- Both parents’ ability to encourage a strong relationship with the other parent;
- History of (or potential for) domestic violence to a spouse or abuse to children;
- Parents’ geographic location to each other and its impacts on practical aspects of shared parenting; and
- A guardian ad litem’s opinion, if a guardian was appointed.
If enough factors favor one parent over the other, one parent may end up with legal and physical custody. This could result in more one-on-one time with the child, but that is for a judge to decide. Depending on the facts of your case, some of the factors may not apply. When we advocate for our clients, we keep these factors at the forefront of our minds.
Rights Of Unmarried Mothers And Parents Getting Divorced
An unfortunate but common situation arises when parents who never married but had a child together begin to dispute time spent with their child. In these situations, there may or may not be a court order stating what custody and parenting time look like for the parents. Because of mutual relationship difficulties and hard feelings, a mother will contact us when the father begins to threaten the mother with court or keeps the child from her.
The law provides some protections for unmarried mothers. Under Ohio law, unmarried women who give birth to a child are the child’s sole residential and legal custodian. In other words, if you are a mother and were unmarried to the child’s father when you gave birth, you have sole legal and physical custody of the child. These custody labels can change when a judge’s court order says otherwise. If you are interested in establishing a court-ordered custody and parenting schedule or the child’s father has already started a court case, we will help you decide how the best interest factors apply to your case.
Book a 100% no-cost, no-obligation consultation today with one of our experienced mother’s rights attorneys.
If you are an unmarried mother with no court order granting custody or parenting time to the child’s father, you likely have the authority to determine all legal decisions and manage your child’s day-to-day activities. However, every case is unique, so it is best to consult a highly qualified family law attorney to better understand your rights and how they could be impacted.
Mothers in the middle of a divorce do not receive all the same protections as unmarried mothers because the father, as a person in marriage, is presumed by law to be the father of the child or children. Accordingly, the law treats the divorcing parents the same, and the mother doesn’t automatically receive sole legal and physical custody.
Many parents have questions about child custody during divorce proceedings. Ohio child custody laws can be complex and difficult to understand. For this reason, you may wish to hire our Columbus child custody lawyers. A child custody lawyer at our firm can answer any of your child custody questions and advocate for you during child custody negotiations. Contact us today for a free child custody consultation.
Child Support And Paternity
If parents are living separately and they cannot mutually agree on how much each should contribute to the child’s needs, a mother may choose to obtain a court order that outlines what each parent must contribute financially. Until a child support order is in place, the father is not obligated to pay the mother anything for the child.
However, a child support order depends on whether the father’s paternity, or his legal right to the child, has been established. Establishing paternity can be a relatively smooth process, but if the parents do not get along well and the father does not want to pay child support, establishing paternity can take longer. Generally speaking, though, paternity can be established through genetic testing, the father acknowledging his paternity through a signed affidavit, or through a paternity proceeding. Once paternity is established, a court can impose child support payments on the father.
Unpaid Child Support Payments
Sometimes there is a child support order in place, but the father is either unable or refuses to pay child support. Child support can be part of a divorce decree or a stand-alone order. This can be very frustrating for mothers who are now solely required to pay for their children’s needs. Without the additional financial support, mothers sometimes have to make difficult financial choices.
If you are the mother and the father has not paid court-ordered child support, a qualified attorney can help you ask a judge to enforce the child support order. A judge can find the father in contempt of court for failing to pay child support. If the father continues to withhold payment, a judge can order other punishments, like jail time or garnishing the father’s wages.
If you are a mother, regardless of your marital status, and you are not receiving child support payments, please contact Joslyn Law Firm.
Hiring An Award-Winning Attorney In Ohio
The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm are ready to advocate for your rights as a mother, whether you were unmarried when your child was born or were married when your child was born and are now getting divorced. As an award-winning lawyer, lead attorney Brian Joslyn has the experience and skills to fight for you aggressively. When you are ready, please call our office at (888) USA-RIGHTS to schedule your free consultation or contact us online.
We serve clients in Franklin, Pickaway, Delaware, Licking, Madison, Union, and Fairfield counties.
What Our Clients Say
Read this 5-star Google review below regarding a complex family law case in Columbus OH
“Very kind and caring attorneys and staff. Would refer to anyone in need of a family law attorney.”
By: Abby Farber
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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This page was last updated by Brian Joslyn