Parenting Time and Modifications in Ohio

If you are getting a divorce in Ohio, and you have children with your soon-to-be ex, you will have to come to an agreement on parenting time. If you already have a parenting time arrangement but are going through a significant change in circumstances, you may need to modify your existing agreement. Specific requirements must be met before an Ohio court will sign off on your modification. If you are considering filing a motion for more parenting time in Ohio, it is important to understand the rules so that you are more likely to get the desired results. There are also steps you can take, with the help of your family law attorney in Ohio, if you are denied a parenting time or modification request.

What is Parenting Time in Ohio?

In Ohio, parenting time (also known as visitation) is the right of a parent to spend time with their child. Parenting time is often done in person, but under limited circumstances, it may also take place by phone or other means of electronic communication. The law sets forth specific conditions under which parenting time can be granted and specifies the amount of time that a visiting parent can spend with their child.

In general, the amount of parenting time that a parent can receive will vary depending on the child's age, living situation, and relationship with the other parent.

What Parenting Time Rights are Parents Entitled to in Ohio?

When parents divorce, Ohio law typically provides for certain parenting time rights for both sides. These parenting time rights may be set forth in a custody agreement or in the court's decree of divorce. 

Generally, both parents are expected to share equal time with their children. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

For example, if one parent is abusive or neglectful, then that parent may be restricted from having any parenting time with the child at all. Furthermore, if one parent moves away or becomes incapacitated and can no longer care for the child, then that parent might also be limited in terms of parenting time. 

Ultimately, it is up to the courts to decide which parenting time rights are appropriate in specific cases. This determination mostly revolves around the best interests of the child.

What is the Best Interests of the Child Rule in Ohio?

As we just mentioned, in Ohio, the best interests of the child are a key consideration in virtually every family law case. Courts use a number of factors to determine whether a child's best interests would be served by continuing or terminating parental rights, awarding custody to one parent over the other, or appointing someone to care for the child. These factors can include the child's age, health, relationship with each parent, and adjustment to living in a new environment.

As the best interests of the child rule is an important part of Ohio family law, parents should take note of this when filing for parenting time or parenting time modifications. This way, they will be more certain that the judge will take their wishes into consideration.

What are Parenting Time Modifications?

Parenting time modifications are specific changes that can be made to a child's visitation order in Ohio. These changes may include adjusting the frequency, time, or location of visitation. A parenting time modification may also involve modifying the conditions of visitation, such as if a third party is required to be present or what activities are allowed.

When Might a Parenting Time Modification Be Required?

In Ohio, when a parent is deemed unfit to have direct custody of their child due to a mental health disorder, the child may be placed in an intervention program. If the parent is able to improve and no longer meets the criteria for an intervention program, parenting time may need to be modified in order to ensure that both parents have regular access to their child.

Another common circumstance in which parenting time modification is necessary is when the parent has a substance abuse problem. If they are unable or unwilling to refrain from using drugs or alcohol during visits with their children, it can pose a serious threat to the children's safety and well-being. In these cases, authorities often prohibit any parenting time for such a parent. However, if that parent is able to present evidence that they have changed, then a parenting time modification may be granted.

Other instances when parenting time modification may be required include the following:

  • When there has been a significant change in the parties' relationship since the original order was issued;
  • When there has been a drastic change in circumstances since the original order was issued;
  • When a parent is no longer able to care for their child;
  • When the child is in danger;
  • When a child grows older and expresses displeasure with the original parenting time plan;
  • When one of the parents is incarcerated;
  • When one of the parents has died;
  • When one of the parent's physical health is in jeopardy;
  • When a parent's current residence is too far from their children;
  • When a parent refuses to have visits with their child.

The Process for Parenting Time Modifications in Ohio

The process for parenting time modifications in Ohio is relatively straightforward and relatively simple. However, there are several steps that must be followed in order to obtain a modification, and the steps are as follows: 

  • Stage One: The parental request for a modification must be made in writing. The request should include specific information about why the modification is needed and should be submitted to the court. 
  • Stage Two: The family law court will review the request and may require additional documentation before scheduling a hearing and making a decision. 
  • Stage Three: If the court decides to grant the requested modification, it will set a date for implementation. The modified visitation schedule will take effect from that date forward. 

If any party fails to comply with the court's order, further legal action may be taken.

What Can Parents Do if They Disagree With a Parenting Time Order?

If you are thinking of filing for or disputing a parenting time order in Ohio, so as not to get your request denied, it is important to speak to an attorney at Timonere Law. Our attorneys can help you better understand the “best interests of your children” statute. We can also help you create and file a winning proposal that ensures you get what you want.

We have a team of experienced family law attorneys. Speak to us to get specific advice on your specific situation.