When parents divorce with minor children, one of the issues that must be settled during the case is that of child custody and visitation schedules. Once the custody and visitation are set, it becomes difficult to change them with the court. However, the lives of parents and children change over time, and it might become necessary to modify the existing child custody agreement. If this situation is happening to you, speak with an experienced Ohio attorney about filing a petition for a Modification of Child Custody with the court. Call or contact Kryszak & Associates to schedule an appointment and discuss your case with an Ohio family law attorney today.
Has There Been a Change in Circumstances?
The Ohio court will not simply make a change in child custody because you request it. A parent must show the court that a change in circumstances has occurred that requires the modification in the current custody agreement. The change must have a direct and adverse impact on the well-being of the child and must have occurred after the last custody order hearing. Common examples of a change in circumstances include issues of mental health, frequent changes of residence by the custodial parent, abuse or neglect, and substance abuse.
Once a change of circumstances has been established, the court must then consider whether changing the current custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. The factors considered when making this determination include the following:
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child
- The child’s interactions with parents, family, friends, neighbors, etc.
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Which parent is more likely to initiate visitation
- Any issues with child support payments
- Whether the custodial parent has denied visitation to the noncustodial parent
- Any claims of domestic or sexual abuse
- Whether a parent is planning to establish an out of state residence, and more.
Appointing a Guardian ad Litem
In order to answer some of these questions, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to your case. The GAL will investigate all matters pertaining to the child custody modification and report what they have discovered back to the court. This may include reviewing records, making home visits, speaking with the child, and more. Physical or psychological examinations of the child may also be requested during this time. This process can take anywhere from six to nine months to complete. At the end of the investigation, the judge will take the information that the GAL has collected to determine whether the modification of child custody is in the best interests of the child. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you navigate this process and make the best possible arguments for why the child should be with you.
Call or Contact Our Office
To learn more about modifications of child custody in Ohio and for advice on your case, call the office or contact us at Kryszak & Associates today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.