Happy familyThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing the rights of unmarried parents in Dayton, Ohio. As we have discussed throughout this series, unmarried parents are encouraged to obtain a custody order to legally establish their respective rights and obligations. The previous article explained what parents can expect if their child custody case proceeds to trial. This post will provide information about how parents should conduct themselves once a court has issued a custody order. It is important to understand that one’s behavior after the case has concluded may impact parental rights in the future. An experienced family lawyer can help you understand your obligations. If you have questions about a court order, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.

Following the conclusion of a child custody case, parents should be aware that their compliance with the custody order and behavior around their child may still impact their parental rights. Failing to comply with the order could result in a parent being held in contempt of court. If the non-compliance is severe or persists for a significant period of time, the other parent may have grounds to seek a modification of the arrangement. If a court determines that there has been a material change in circumstances since the issuance of the most recent court order, it may modify the arrangement. One obvious way to avoid this risk is to strictly follow the custody order, including the visitation schedules, support requirements, etc. A judge will consider the extent to which a parent is complying with the visitation provisions and respecting the other parent’s relationship with the child. This includes openly communicating with the other parent regarding important topics such as medical issues, school reports or extracurricular activities. Other recommended courses of conduct include being respectful to the other parent and not discussing the litigation or negative feelings about the other parent with the child.

The family court will review the facts of each case and consider the parents’ behavior after the case has concluded to determine whether a subsequent modification is appropriate. Consider the following examples. Dad has refused to deliver the child to Mom on Wednesday evenings for two months following the issuance of a custody order. A judge reviewing Mom’s request to modify custody as a result, would likely hold Dad in contempt of court for failing to comply with the order and warn Dad to comply in the future. This failure would not likely lead to a modification of the order, but Dad’s behavior would be closely watched afterward and further issues could result in a change. On the other hand, if Mom is three hours late dropping off the child to Dad for every scheduled visitation for a year after the order is issued, a court may decide that her behavior justifies a modification. Although arguably less egregious than Dad’s behavior in the first example, the long-term disrespect of the other parent’s time with the child may result in diminished parental rights.

Our attorneys have been serving the area for decades and we take pride in providing a high level of service in all family law matters. Contact us today to speak with a lawyer. We also serve the areas of Beavercreek, Centerville, Clayton, Eaton, Englewood, Fairborn, Franklin, Harrison Township, Huber Heights, Kettering, Oakwood, Lebanon, Miami Township, Miamisburg, Piqua, Riverside, Springboro,  Springfield, Tipp City, Trotwood, Troy,  Vandalia, Waynesville, Washington Township, West Carrollton, Yellow Springs, and Xenia.

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