Parenting General Information
Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities
In all divorce, dissolution and legal separation actions where there are minor children the Court will allocate parental rights and responsibilities (formerly “custody”) for the care of the children, provided no other court has determined or is in the process of determining an allocation of parental rights of the same children. An allocation of parental rights may be awarded to one parent who is designated the residential parent and legal custodian or both parents if shared parenting is awarded. Ohio Revised Code §3109.04 sets forth the requirements and factors the Court needs to consider when making an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.
When making a determination of parental rights the Court will also order parenting time (formerly “visitation”) to the parent determined to be the nonresidential parent. If shared parenting is awarded a parenting time schedule will be included in the shared parenting plan. Ohio Revised Code §3109.051 governs the award of parenting time along with the Court’s Local Rule 6.
A Parenting Proceeding Affidavit must be filed pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §3127.23 at the initial filing of a complaint for divorce, legal separation, annulment or a petition for dissolution when there are minor children. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is a sworn statement stating the names and dates of birth of the minor children of the parties, their residence addresses for the previous five years and whether any or all of the children have been the subject of any court cases where a designation of parental rights has been made no matter where the location of the case. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is necessary for the Court to determine if it has the authority to issue parenting orders in the case being filed.
The allocation of parental rights and responsibilities is always modifiable. In order to modify a previous allocation of parental rights and responsibilities the party requesting the modification must show that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child, the residential parent, or either parent if there was an award of shared parenting, and that a modification is in the best interest of the minor child.
As with the initial allocation of parental rights any modification of the allocation of parental rights may cause a need for the court or the parties to modify the schedule of parenting time. Ohio Revised Code §3109.051 governs the modification of parenting time.
A Parenting Proceeding Affidavit must be filed pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §3127.23 upon the filing of a motion to modify a parenting order. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is a sworn statement stating the names and dates of birth of the minor children of the parties, their residence addresses for the previous five years and whether any or all of the children have been the subject of any court cases where a designation of parental rights has been made no matter where the location of the case. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is necessary for the Court to determine if it has the authority to issue parenting orders in the case being filed.
Q: Must I obtain the Court's permission to move my child outside Scioto County?
A: Permission is only required if a previous decree or order requires the party to obtain permission. However, Ohio law requires that the person having custody of a minor child notify the Court if the person plans to leave Scioto County. The person must complete a “Notice of Intent to Relocate” and file it with the Clerk of Court. The Court will mail a copy of the Notice of Intent to Relocate to you former spouse. Your former spouse may file a Motion with the Court to contest the relocation. Even if the relocation is not contested, parties often find it useful to file a motion to modify the parenting schedule if relocation will make complying with the current schedule impractical.
Q: What can I do if my spouse will not let me see our child?
A: Both parents are presumed to have equal rights to their children unless a court orders otherwise. You may file a motion to get a court order in the Scioto County Juvenile Court.
You may also request a court order from the Scioto County Domestic Relations Court if you have filed a Complaint for Divorce or a Complaint for Legal Separation.
Q: What can I do if my former spouse will not return my child but I am the residential parent and legal custodian?
A: Take a certified copy of your order awarding you this status and contact your local police department or sheriff’s department for help in securing the return of your child.
Q: Can I get a court order to see my grandchildren?
A: Ohio law allows the Court to grant companionship time to grandparents of children with divorced parents under certain circumstances if it is in the best interest of the children. An appropriate motion must be filed with the Clerk of Court and served on all parties.
The Court may allow spousal support to be paid directly if there are no minor children and the parties agree.
Some of the advantages of paying through the CSEA are a permanent record of payments is kept, and non-payment triggers automatic enforcement actions by the Support Enforcement Tracking System (SETS).
Q: What Is Shared Parenting?
A: Shared Parenting is an arrangement through which divorcing parties share the responsibilities for the care of the children. Shared parenting does not mean that each parent has the children 50% of the time. However, it does require that the parents prepare a “shared parenting plan” that outlines how they will make the major decisions affecting the children once the marriage is over. Some of the areas that the parents must address are education, medical treatment, and the religion the children will practice. Usually, the parents agree that they will both be involved in making these decisions. In addition, the plan must contain a schedule that sets out with whom the children will be during the week, on weekends, national holidays and days of special meaning.
Q: At what age can my son or daughter choose which parent he or she wants to live with?
A: There is no law in Ohio that gives a child the right to elect which parent he or she will reside with. The Court will consider the child’s wishes and concerns, but ultimately the Court must decide where the child will reside and which parent will make major decisions about the child based on what the Court comes to believe is in the child’s best interest.
Scioto County Domestic Relations Court, Scioto County Courthouse,
602 7th Street, Rooms 301 and 303, Portsmouth, Ohio 45662
Judge's Office: (740) 355-8316
Magistrate's Office: (740) 353-1646
Fax: (740) 355-8205