Judge reading document

This is the next post in a series of articles on the rights of unmarried parents in Dayton, Ohio. The previous post urged unmarried parents to consider obtaining a custody order, even if their relationship is stable at present. Doing so will establish the legal rights and obligations of both parents with respect to their child and help prevent disputes if things go awry in the future. In this post we will discuss the process by which parents can establish custody and support in Dayton and other areas of Ohio. Every family’s circumstances will be unique and therefore it is important to consult with an experienced custody attorney to understand your options. If you need assistance, contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

To establish a custody order, a parent must first file a Complaint with the court. In some cases, the party may also file Motions for temporary custody or support if appropriate. The court will schedule a hearing to review the Complaint and issue an Order setting forth custody and support arrangements. As previously discussed, there is no “gender preference” in Ohio, which would by default favor granting custody to the mother. In Ohio, many judges are predisposed to grant “joint custody”, which is called shared parenting. The decision will be based solely upon what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. The court will review objective evidence focused on several factors. These include the child’s wishes depending on the age and maturity of the child, the relationship of the child with both parents, the physical and mental health of the parents and their ability to care for the child.

As a part of the custody hearing, the court will also establish obligations for child support. In Ohio, this is largely based on a formula established by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The formula primarily focuses on the income of each parent but also considers other factors, such as the number of children the couple has together and from other relationships. While this may seem like a straightforward calculation, it can become complicated. For example, if one party inaccurately reports their current or historical income or if a one-time event skews the earning history of a parent, the formula may result in an unfair result. The parties may be required to provide objective evidence in support or challenging the information provided by the other party. In our next post, we will discuss this process in more detail.

Because custody and support issues can become contentious, even under the best of circumstances, it is imperative that you engage a knowledgeable attorney to represent your interests. Our firm has experience in these matters and can assist you through the process. Contact our office 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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