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Child Custody
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Ohio Child Custody

In Ohio, if parents cannot reach a custody decision, then the judge will make a custody decision based on the best interests of the child. (Ohio refers to child custody as the "allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the minor children of the marriage.") Among the factors the court will consider:

  • Each parent's custody wishes
  • The wishes of the child
  • The child's relationship with each parent, siblings, and other people who may affect the child's best interests
  • How well-adjusted the child is at home, in school, and in the community
  • The state of both the parents' and child's mental and physical health
  • Any parental history of child abuse or neglect
  • Where each parent lives
  • Whether one parent is more likely to honor the custody and visitation agreement
  • Whether one parent has failed to make child support payments or denied the other parent visitation rights

If either parent seeks joint custody (called shared parenting in Ohio), the judge will also consider:

  • Whether both parents are capable of cooperating with one another and making joint decisions on behalf of the child
  • Whether both parents are capable of encouraging the child's relationship with the other parent
  • Whether either parent has a history of, or potential for, abuse or violence
  • Whether shared parenting is possible from a geographic standpoint
  • Whether the child's guardian ad litem (if there is one) would recommend shared parenting

Both parents are bound by the court's allocation of parental rights and responsibilities once it has been signed by the judge and filed with the court clerk.

A child custody attorney in Ohio can help represent you in court, help explain your legal options, and negotiate a child custody agreement.


In Ohio, there are several ways to establish paternity of a child:

  • Unwed parents sign an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit
  • Genetic testing
  • Court order

Child Support

In Ohio, child support is calculated based on the both parents' gross income and the number of children each parent supports.

Ohio child support can also be adjusted if circumstances change in the future. These changes would include:

  • A significant change in one parent's income
  • A change in the child's financial needs (such as extraordinary medical or educational expenses)

Once the divorce has been granted, child support payments can be processed through the Office of Child Support. Payment can be set up online, making the process more convenient for both parties. If payment of child support becomes a problem, the local County Child Support Enforcement Agency is responsible for child support enforcement.

Ohio Custody Additional Resources