Support & Custody

What factors does a court consider when determining child custody?

Ohio law doesn’t establish an age at which children can choose which parent to live with. Instead, the court looks at the issue of custody on a case-by-case basis. While the court is not allowed to give a parent preference because of that parent’s financial status, the court’s decision on custody will take into account a number of factors, such as the child’s wishes, the child’s relationship with parents and siblings, the child’s adjustment to home and either parent’s failure to make past support payments.

What is sole custody versus shared parenting?

In a situation where one parent has “sole custody” of the child or children, that parent is designated as the “residential parent and legal custodian” and the other parent is designated as the “non-residential parent” or the “non-custodial parent.” In this arrangement, the non-custodial parent generally has visitation with the child or children.  Most default parenting schedules in central Ohio provide for visits on alternating weekends and one or two weekdays per week. Parents may also have different support obligations when one has sole custody, with the non-custodial parent paying child support to the residential parent. Residential parents bear the weight of major decision-making, such schooling, medical care and religion.

In a shared parenting situation, both parents have the same title. For school district residency and tuition, one parent is typically designated as the school placement parent. In shared parenting arrangements, some parents seek to spend approximately equal time with the child or children, but parenting schedules can provide for as little or as much time between homes as may be in the best interests of the children.

Columbus family law

What can I do to get my overdue child and spousal support payments?

Ohio law authorizes the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) to use various means to enforce a child support order. The first stage is administrative enforcement, such as issuing a withholding order or a Notice of Default. If those attempts are unsuccessful, the CSEA has the option to file a motion for contempt in the domestic or juvenile division of the court. If your ex is found in contempt and fails to comply with the court’s orders, the judge has the option of imposing sanctions, including but not limited to fines and jail time. The CSEA also has similar power to enforce spousal support orders.

After filing a post-decree motion for your ex to be found in contempt of court, your family lawyers at Babbitt & Dahlberg can also ask that your ex pay your attorney fees for the trouble of having to bring the motion before the Court.

Since our divorce, my ex’s income has increased dramatically. Can I ask for increased support payments?

There are a number of factors that determine child support. In all instances when determining support, the court uses a guideline worksheet that includes a number of important factors, including your ex’s income, your income, additional children or support obligations either of you may have, as well as daycare and health insurance costs for the children of this marriage.  Significant changes in those factors since the time of the last order may mean a change in the support order is justified.

Your request must be presented to the court in the form of a motion to modify support, and you will need to demonstrate the change in circumstances in order for the court to consider the modification.

Can I deny my ex’s court-ordered parenting time if I am the residential parent and legal custodian of our children?

Our Columbus divorce attorneys never advise violating a court order. However, the protection of your child is our first priority. Emergency orders may be obtained through the Court to suspend parenting time under extreme circumstances.

Get in touch with Babbitt & Dahlberg

Have more questions? To sit down one-on-one with a Columbus family law attorney, schedule a consultation today by filling out our online contact form or calling 614-228-4200.