Subscribe to the RSS Feed

What do you do if your ex is constantly late exchanging the children?

visitation attorney, visitation lawyer, father lawyer, father attorney, fathers lawyer, fathers attorneyVirginia Cornwell is a Franklin County Visitation Lawyer, Family Law Attorney, and an Ohio State Bar Association Family Relations Specialist.  

Is your ex late to exchange the children most of the time?  If so, the important questions are 1) How late are they?  2) How late does your court papers allow them to be? and 3) What are you going to do about it?

First, what does your court order say about how late they can be before your ex loses their parenting time?  The specific terms of your order always trump contradictory language in the local rule.

In Ohio, each county has a local visitation schedule, sometimes several local visitation schedules (one for juvenile court, one for domestic court, and in at least one county, one for each magistrate).  Most of the time, at least part of this local rule is incorporated into your court order.  So the first step would be to read your court orders and see if the court order incorporated the local rule.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

mother lawyer, mother's lawyer, custody lawyer, child custody lawyer, lawyer visitation,If the answer is yes, then you must look to see if ALL of the local rule is incorporated into your court order, or just part of it.  Most local rules contain a provision, at least in the section for parents who are NOT long distance parents, about how long you have to wait for you ex to show up before they lose their parenting time.  Has that provision been made part of your court order?

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

post decree lawyer, post-decree lawyer, change custody lawyer, change visitation lawyer, post-decree attorney, post-decree attorneysIn some contentious cases, one of the parents will abuse the “waiting period” and use it to make their ex wait, to create annoyance, or to take extra parenting time that they are not entitled to.  If this becomes a pattern, keep track of all the time you had to wait so that you can show it to the court.  The court has many remedies they can offer.  They can take away the wait period entirely if they think it has been abused.  They can make the other parent give make up time.  They can find the other parent in contempt of court, fine them, sentence them to jail time (subject to purging their contempt), and make them pay reasonable attorney fees and expenses.  If they find that one parent has continuously and willfully denied the other parent their parenting time by abusing this wait period, it is a factor the court can consider when deciding whether to terminate shared parenting or adjust parenting time.  The court can also adjust transportation responsibilities.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

If you have no provision at all regarding how long you have to wait before your ex loses their parenting time, and they are constantly late for pick-ups and drop-offs, maybe it is time for you to look at going back to court to get some additional language added to your orders to address some of the bad behavior that is going on.  If you have no court orders at all, and your former agreements are no longer working, despite your best efforts to work it out with your ex, then maybe you need a court order and not an agreement regarding when your child will be exchanged with the other parent.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

father lawyer, father lawyers, father attorney, father attorneys, father's attorney, father's lawyer, lawyer for fathers, dads lawyerNeed help understanding your parenting order or obtaining a parenting order from the court? We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please give us a call, and one of our Family Law Attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case.

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!

Subscribe to the RSS Feed

“How Do I Get Custody Back?” by an Ohio Child Custody Lawyer

Columbus Child Custody Lawyer, Lawyers Child Custody, Child Custody Lawyers Columbus, Columbus Custody Attorney, Columbus Custody Attorneys, Columbus Custody LawyerVirginia Cornwell is a Custody Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio.  She is also an OSBA Certified Family Relations (Family Law) Specialist.

This is a question that we hear a lot.  The circumstances that led to the question are widely varied, and because of that, so is the answer.   The one common denominator though, is if you really did lose custody in Ohio, then you need to start with a change of circumstances if you want to get it back.

ohio child custody lawyer, columbus ohio child custody lawyer, lawyers child custody, lawyer child custody, attorney child custody, attorneys child custody, lawyer for custody, child custody lawyer inAt this point, people often ask “What is a change in circumstances?”  But before you answer that question, you must determine the answer to this question:  Whose circumstances must be changed?

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

Lawyer Child Custody, Lawyers Child Custody, Attorney Child Custody, Attorneys Child Custody, Attorney Custody, Attorneys CustodyIn a sole custody situation, there must be a change in circumstances of the residential parent, or the circumstances of the child.  When one parent has sole custody (residential parent and legal custodian), the circumstances of the non-residential parent are not considered when the court determines whether there has been a change of circumstances.  In Ohio, if a person gives up custody, or loses it, they need to understand that the court is not even going to consider giving custody back to them unless there has been a change in the circumstances of the child or residential parent (or the non-parent to whom custody was given).

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

In Ohio, when the parents have shared parenting, in order for there to be a change in custody there must be a change of circumstances of the child or either of the parents.

Ohio Child custody attorney, columbus ohio child custody attorney, columbus ohio child custody lawyer, columbus custody lawyerWhat constitutes a change of circumstances is a complicated matter, a creature of case law, and too big a topic for this blog post (but stay tuned for future posts…).   For purposes of this blog post, assume that you have a change of circumstances.  Yay!  Now what?

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

Ohio Revised Code 3109.04 talks about the next thing the court must consider before it decides whether to change custody:

(E)(1)

(a) The court shall not modify a prior decree allocating parental rights and responsibilities for the care of children unless it finds, based on facts that have arisen since the prior decree or that were unknown to the court at the time of the prior decree, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child, the child’s residential parent, or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree, and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the child. In applying these standards, the court shall retain the residential parent designated by the prior decree or the prior shared parenting decree, unless a modification is in the best interest of the child and one of the following applies:

(i) The residential parent agrees to a change in the residential parent or both parents under a shared parenting decree agree to a change in the designation of residential parent.

(ii) The child, with the consent of the residential parent or of both parents under a shared parenting decree, has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent.

(iii) The harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

COLUMBUS CUSTODY LAWYER, custody lawyer, custody attorney, custody lawyers, custody attorneys, columbus custody lawyersNext step on the road to custody: Best Interest of the Child.   Although this sounds like a generic phrase, there are actually very specific criteria Ohio courts consider when determining the best interest of the child.  Those criteria are in Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(F).  You can read a simpler version of the criteria by clicking here: Best Interest of the Child.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

At this point, for your custody case to have a chance, you would have to

  1. Have a change of circumstance, and it has to be in the circumstances of the appropriate person (s);
  2. The court would have to find that it is in the best interest of the child for custody to be changed.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

custody lawyer in, custody lawyers in, custody attorney in, custody attorneys in, find a custody lawyer, find a child custody lawyerIt would seem like you are in the home stretch, right?  Not yet.  Even if you are ahead of the game so far, before the court can change custody, the court would have to find that:

(i) The residential parent agrees to a change in the residential parent or both parents under a shared parenting decree agree to a change in the designation of residential parent.

(ii) The child, with the consent of the residential parent or of both parents under a shared parenting decree, has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent.

(iii) The harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child.

The third criteria (advantages of the change outweigh the harm) is by far the criteria courts most often rely upon if they are going to change custody.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

Best Family Law Attorney in Ohio, best columbus custody lawyer, columbus child custody lawyer, best ohio custody attorney, child custody lawyers columbusIn summary, the steps that must be overcome are:

1.  change of circumstances, in the right person; and

2.  the custody modification is in the best interest of the child; and

3.  One of the following must be true:

(i) The residential parent agrees to a change in the residential parent or both parents under a shared parenting decree agree to a change in the designation of residential parent.

(ii) The child, with the consent of the residential parent or of both parents under a shared parenting decree, has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent.

(iii) The harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

All of the standards you have read about in this article have well developed case law where courts have decided what does and does not meet the standard, but the cases are constantly changing, moving in different directions.  To find out if the facts of YOUR case would meet the standards necessary to change custody, you are probably going to need to talk to an Ohio Custody Lawyer.  There are simply too many variables to cover this topic in a one size fits all blog post.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

Ohio Father's Rights Lawyer, Ohio Father's Rights Attorney, Columbus Father's Rights Attorney, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyer, Columbus Father's Rights LawyersNeed some help? We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please give us a call, and one of our Ohio Child Custody Lawyers will meet with you to discuss your case.

Columbus Father's Rights Attorney, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyer, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyers, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyers

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!

Subscribe to the RSS Feed

Change of Circumstances and Grandparent Custody

Family LawyerThe concept of “change of circumstances” is an important, but complicated concept in family law.  When a person wants to change the court’s custody orders, there has to be a change in circumstances.

CUSTODY LAWYER INThe first important question is “Whose circumstances have to have changed?”  The answer to that depends on whether the order is a shared parenting decree (two residential parents), joint custody (one parent and one non-parent) or whether a person (or persons) have legal custody (aka residential parent or sole custody).  In a nutshell, the question is “Shared Parenting, Joint Custody or Sole Custody? ”

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

Change of Circumstances
When a person has sole custody of a child (aka “legal custody” or sole residential parent), then the change of circumstances must be a change in the circumstances of the child or legal custodian.  It does not matter if the parent who has visitation only, (or has no visitation but simply retains his or her residual parental rights) has changed his or her circumstances, even if his or her circumstances have changed substantially.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

Family Lawyer In OhioIn Alexander v. Alexander, 2013-Ohio-2349, (June 7, 2013), the court of appeals for Champaign County found that the trial court did not abuse it’s discretion when it overruled the Mother’s Motion to Change Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities regarding her three children.  The children were in the custody of their paternal grandmother as a result of the agreement of the Mother and Father during their divorce.  The Mother had visitation (parenting time).

During the trial on the Mother’s Motion to Reallocate, Mother testified that she had been working for some time to make a more stable home for the children.  Among other things, Mother testified that she was employed and had lived in her apartment for a year and a half.  The trial court found that pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(E)(1)(a), the change of circumstances must have occurred “in the circumstances of the child, the child’s residential parent, or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree“.  In this case, the changes were in the Mother’s circumstances.  In addition, the trial court found that the children have become more stable in the grandparents’ home, and so the “harm of a change in environment for the children outweighs any advantages that may have now arisen to justify a change.”

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(E)(1)(a) says that even if there HAS been a change in circumstances of the RIGHT person, the court should not change custody unless the change is in the child’s best interest AND one of the following is true:

(i) The residential parent agrees to a change in the residential parent or both parents under a shared parenting decree agree to a change in the designation of residential parent.

(ii) The child, with the consent of the residential parent or of both parents under a shared parenting decree, has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent.

(iii) The harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child.

Change of circumstances is complicated.  There is no statute that says “such and such is a change of circumstances”.  If you would like to consult with one of our Family Law Attorneys in Ohio, please give us a call.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!

Subscribe to the RSS Feed

Military Custody Issues: Deployment and Active Service in Ohio

OHIO MILITARY CUSTODY VISITATION LAWYER When military servicemembers (sometimes also referred to as service members) are called to active duty or are deployed it can wreak havoc on their families, especially families with children.  Even though the servicemember may already have a Family Care Plan in place, service members who are divorced or unmarried parents may be worried that the other parent is going to try to take advantage of the situation to gain custody of their children.  However, Ohio has special protections for members of the uniformed services who are called to active duty.  Uniformed Services means according to Ohio Revised Code 3109.04: the United States armed forces, the army national guard, and the air national guard or any reserve component thereof, or the commissioned corps of the United States public health service.

OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY MILITARY

ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE IS NOT A CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES IN OHIO!

The good news in Ohio is that state law prohibits a court from changing custody based solely upon military service.  Specifically, Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(I)(2) says: The court shall not find past, present, or possible future active military service in the uniformed services to constitute a change in circumstances justifying modification of a prior decree.  This may not provide as much comfort to a parent in this situation, because they may believe (rightly or wrongly) that when a court wants to modify custody, the court finds a way to do it.  In other words, what if the court modifies custody anyway, but doesn’t admit that the deployment is the reason for changing custody?  In the very next sentence, Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(I)(2) provides additional protection to the servicemember.  It says: The court shall make specific written findings of fact to support any modification under this division.  What does this mean? It means that the court cannot just change custody, say that it is not based on the military service, but not give the reason for changing custody.  The court MUST write down the facts upon which the court chose to change custody.  These facts allow the military member to appeal if  there was no legitimate basis for the court to change custody.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

MILITARY CUSTODY LAWYERSkeptics may say well, that’s great that the law allows me to fight for my kids’ rights, but how am I going to do that from Afghanistan (or Korea, Japan or wherever you are being deployed to)?  Of course there is always the good old Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, but when it comes to kids, stalling the proceedings until you can appear is not always good enough, especially if  the non-custodial parent has obtained emergency custody.  Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(I) provides opportunities to the active duty or deployed military member that Ohio courts will rarely offer to anyone else.  If the court will put a stay on the proceedings pursuant to the SCRA until the member can attend, then, at least while the member is deployed the problem is solved.  The member may have to reapply for the stay several times, but the children will stay put and be cared for under the member’s Family Care Plan.  However, if the non-custodial parent is seeking or has obtained any kind of temporary order or emergency custody order, the court MUST, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(I), allow the service member to “participate in the proceeding and present evidence by electronic means, including communication by telephone, video, or internet to the extent permitted by the rules of the supreme court of Ohio.”

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

COLUMBUS OHIO MILITARY CUSTODY LAWYER

ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE
So who qualifies for the protections Ohio offers under this law?  ORC 3109.04 defines “Active military service” as service by a member of the uniformed services in compliance with military orders to report for combat operations, contingency operations, peacekeeping operations, a remote tour of duty, or other active service for which the member is required to report unaccompanied by any family member, including any period of illness, recovery from injury, leave, or other lawful absence during that operation, duty, or service.

NOTICE TO THE OTHER PARENT IS REQUIRED
If you are the parent of a child who is subject to an Ohio order “allocating parental rights and responsibilities” (custody, shared parenting visitation order or child support), or you are a party to a case to allocate parental rights and responsiblities, and you receive a military service order calling you to active duty, you must notify the other parent within three days of receiving the order.  See Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(I)(1).  You must also give written notice to the court, child support enforcement agency, and the other parent of the date of termination of the your active military service not later than 30 days after the date on which your service ends.

Once notice is received, EITHER parent can apply to the court for a hearing to expedite a custody change or modification proceeding so that the court can issue an order before the parent’s active military service begins. The application must state the date upon which the active duty service begins.  The court MUST schedule and hold a hearing not later than thirty days after receipt of the application, except that the court shall give the case calendar priority and handle the case expeditiously if exigent (unusual, emergency) circumstances exist in the case.

Although the court cannot change custody based solely upon military service, according to Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(I)(1) Ohio courts can make a temporary order “for the duration of the parent’s active military service”. A temporary order shall specify whether the parent’s active military service is the basis of the order and shall state that the temporary order ends and the old order resumes within 10 days after receipt of notice of the end of active military service, unless the other parent demonstrates that resumption of the prior order is not in the child’s best interest.  However, even in those circumstances, the court still cannot change custody based  solely on military service.  Remember, in Ohio, the court must have a change of circumstances to change custody.  Instead, the court would put on a new order which the court believes is in the child’s best interest, but does not change custody.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!

Subscribe to the RSS Feed

A Columbus Ohio Family Law Attorney on Moving and Relocation, Part 1

Ohio Family Law Attorney Custody RelocationA Columbus Ohio Family Law Lawyer article on Moving and Relocation Requirements and Restrictions.  This article applies to both in state and interstate moves.  It is the first article in a four-part series on relocation.  To view the other articles, click any of the following links: Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

 

In Family Law, moving, or, as the Ohio Revised Code calls it, “relocation” is often problematic.  When court ordered parenting time has already been established, with few exceptions (primarily domestic violence convictions)  Ohio Revised Code 3019.051(G)(1) requires the residential parent (in shared parenting BOTH parents are the residential parent) to file a Notice of Intent to Relocate with the court if they intend to move to any residence other than the residence specified in the parenting time (visitation) or decree (shared parenting).  Once that happens, the court is required to send a notice to the other parent.  (Note, however, that the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure require the parent filing the Notice of Intent to Relocate to serve the other parent with a copy of ALL documents filed with the court.)

CALL NOW (614) 225-9316

Ohio Family Law AttorneyOnce the court receives the notice it must send a copy to the other parent.  Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 3019.051(G)(1), the court, on it’s own, MAY (but is not required to) schedule a hearing, with notice to both parents, to determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to modify the current parenting time schedule.  Even if the court does not set a hearing, the parent who is not moving can also file a motion and request a hearing to review parenting time, custody, shared parenting, school placement parent and more.

Ohio Interstate Family Law AttorneyThe amount of notice the moving parent must give is governed by the terms of the parties’ current parenting time order or shared parenting plan.  In addition, terms regarding moving may be addressed in the Local Rules of the Court which made the original parenting time order.  For example, in some counties the Local Rules mandate that  if the school placement parent moves out of the county, the other parent automatically becomes the school placement parent until further order of the court.  While that example is extreme, it helps to explain why it is important to read the local rules of your court to determine what, if any, provisions are contained regarding relocation notices.

Most courts have a form for providing notice of relocation. Franklin County’s form is less detailed than some other county forms, but it gives you an idea of what to expect. If your county does not, you could probably modify the form of another county and use that.

CALL NOW (614) 225-9316

DISCLAIMER Read it, it’s important!