Child Custody Modification Lawyer in Columbus
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What will an Ohio family law judge look at in determining whether modification of a prior child custody agreement is warranted?
In Ohio, section 3109.04 of the Ohio Revised Code specifies that it will not modify the child custody agreement unless new facts have arisen since the Court’s entry of the prior decree, which were unknown to the Court at that time, or the following circumstances are applicable:
These could include changes in the mental or physical health of the child, changes in the mental or physical health of the residential/custodial parents, changes in the child’s residence, abuse or neglect of the child, or substance abuse issues pertaining to the child or pertaining to the custodial/residential parents.
If the court determines that a “change of circumstances” has occurred, then the court must decide whether or not to modify the custody agreement. In determining whether or not to modify the residential parent/custodian, the Court will look at whether:
- The current custodial/residential parent has agreed to the change of custody;
- The child has been placed in the other parent’s home by the custodial parent and is integrated into that home; or
- The harm that will likely to be caused by the changing the child’s environment and whether that harm is outweighed by the benefit of putting the child in the other parent’s home.
However, Ohio law favors keeping the child with the current custodian. Although, if strong and persuasive evidence is presented, the court will modify the custody agreement and award custody to the other parent. The court must consider the factors cited in § 3109.04 in determining whether this modification is in the child’s “best interest”, as discussed in the previous section regarding child custody.