This is Part 5 of a Columbus Ohio Child Custody Lawyer series on the Ohio Child Custody Process. DISCLAIMER
To view the other installments in the series click the links below:
- Ohio Child Custody Part 1
- Ohio Child Custody Part 2
- Ohio Child Custody Part 3
- Ohio Child Custody Part 4
WHERE THE CHILD WANTS TO LIVE: WISHES OF THE CHILD
Q. How old does my son or daughter have to be in order to be able to choose which parent he or she will live with?
In Ohio, there is no “magic” number at which a child is given full authority to decide which parent will be the Child’s “home base.” Under most circumstances, the Court is required to consider the wishes of the Child. Generally, the older the Child is, the more weight the Court will give to the Child’s wishes. It is a common misconception that in custody, visitation or shared parenting proceedings, a child can make the decision for themselves once they reach the age of 12. This is not true in Ohio. Although children 12 years or older are sometimes allowed to give or withhold consent to their own adoption, they are not permitted to decide custody, shared parenting, or visitation matters.
Q. Can my son or daughter just tell the Judge that they would like to live with me?
The Court may interview the Child, if requested by either party, or upon its own motion. The purposes of the interview is to determine the wishes of the Child and to help the Judge or Magistrate decide what is in the best interest of the Child. Usually, the interview will be done by a Magistrate either right before or at the end of a trial. Generally, courts will not interview a child to avoid litigation or to settle a case. In addition, courts do not like parents to discuss parenting conflicts with their children any more than absolutely necessary.
Q. How do I request that my child be allowed to talk to the Judge or magistrate?
In Ohio, the procedure for this is to file a Motion for In Camera Interview. People often think that “In Camera” means that the interview will be video taped. This is not true. The term is from Latin, which is often used in the Law. It means that the Child is interviewed in the Judge or Magistrate’s chambers, instead of the Child being put on the witness stand in front of his or her parents. Neither parent is allowed to be present during this interview, but the Judge or Magistrate usually has a guardian ad litem, if one is appointed, and a court reporter present.
If the case goes to trial, each party must present their evidence according to the Ohio Rules of Evidence. If the evidence is not presented in compliance with the Ohio Rules of Evidence, then none of it will come into evidence, and none of it will be considered by the Judge when making a decision. Once trial is ended, evidence is CLOSED. It doesn’t matter if the person did not have a lawyer. It doesn’t matter if they hire a lawyer after the evidence is CLOSED. It doesn’t matter if the lawyer they did hire did not prepare for trial, even if he didn’t prepare for trial because you could not afford to pay the Lawyer to do so. It doesn’t matter if you thought there really wouldn’t be a trial that day and you or your Lawyer were positive you would be able to get the court date continued. There are NO DO-OVERS. There are no special breaks for people who do not have an attorney. The trial is over, the record is CLOSED, and the Parent has to live with it. If all the evidence that complied with the Ohio Rules of Evidence favored the other Parent, then the other Parent is going to win and you are going to lose. No new evidence can be presented on appeal, no matter how good your Lawyer is, so do your best job the first time around.
My niece would like to live with me because of all the stuff she’s been through with her mom and her fiance. Is there a way she can move in with me?
I have a 5 n a 7 yr old grandaughters that there mother n farther r going threw a case of 2 wks on n 2wks off n I raised these girls n the mother n farther was t around very much at all n I filed a motion to be a third party so I can see the girls n the judge told me no n the girls has told me every time they want to be with me n they cry everytime they have to go with dad so what do I do.
My grandson has lived with me ever since he was 4 his mother was giving residential custody with shared parenting with my son my son is incarcerated now she left the county about four years ago I never took him 11 she never called for visitation he would have me call her when he was ready to visit also now she’s moved out of state and plans on wanting to come back and take him what do I do he’s been in this home he’s 11 now all his friends are here he’s established this is his home my husband and I both have taken care of him financially emotionally everything please someone contact me back
My 14 year old grandson wants to come and live with me and my husband (his maternal grandparents). He is scared of his mother who has violent outbursts, is verbally abusive and pushes him against walls when she is yelling at him. His father lives in virginia and has nothing to do with him and hasn’t seen him in over 5 years (although there is a joint custody order). My fear is that he is going to feel helpless and eventually harm himself. Do grandparents have any chance of getting custody? I worry about him terribly, but stay nice with her so she will not stop them from seeing us.
My child does not prefer being with the other parent, he likes to be at home and stay with me. His dad calls him fat and a bad brother what do I do
If a child is told numerous times that one parent is worthless and disgusting and they are not allowed to talk to their parent at all and the people tell parent and siblings that if they try to talk to the child they will be charged with harassment even though the parent has supervised visitation how does the parent file for custody?
My son is just shy of 14 and has asked now on serveral occasions “ how long do I have to keep doing this parenting thing” I am custodial parent. He loves his father but dad never ask our son what he wants to do. He treats him like property instead of the young man he is becoming. What rights does my son have?
Why can the non-residential parent claim the child on income tax when he isn’t paying child support and has no other financial obligations for the child? I pay for school uniforms, cover my son’s medical expenses and all health insurance and his father does nothing. The magistrate says he can claim him on the opposite years. Futhermore, he doesn’t work so he shouldn’t have taxes to find, but somehow he is able to do this.
A magistrate from Mahoning county is ruling on child custody when no parent lives in his county
But if it is court-ordered to see my daughter every Wednesday and the baby daddy is deceased do I still have the right to see my child if it is court-ordered I just want to know if she can get in trouble for disobeying the law in the state of Ohio and West Virginia
My daughter is 16 yrs old and I have custody of my daughter. Her father wants to get joint custody because afraid I am going to do a child support modification on him again. He likes to gamble so that’s why he doesn’t want to pay more. My daughter wants to be with me at all times. So he wants to file because he don’t want to pay child support.
What happens if the parent goes against the agreed court order
How do you help a child that is miserable with their mother but she has become “buddie’s” with the police so they do not believe the child that her mother is so horrible? Her mother is narcissistic and claims she does no wrong, blames her mental instability on her children and has went as far as putting the younger one in a mental hospital claiming he tried to commit suicide. He’s 11. He did not know why he was there and was very upset. Now, the mother is claiming she will do the same to her 14 year old daughter because she does not want to be around her mother. It is a terrible, sickening situation and any help would be appreciated.
So how do you determine wether or not your child will be given the right to decide wether they wanna live with which ever parent of there choice?? My kids father doesn’t pay support an really doesn’t see them at all. Hasn’t for a long time.
If the parent of the child is on drugs and the mother wants to gainful custody of the child Will he or she be able to choose where they want to live
If the people are still married can the father claim the child on his taxes? The mother said the only way she would let him claim the son is if he gives her $700 of what he gets back. He said he was going to give it to child support so now she told him he couldn’t claim the boy. To me this sounds like blackmail
My 12 year old sons grandmother is trying to gain custody of him because she doesn’t like the school district I plan on putting him in. They have coached him into believing he would be happier living with them. so my question is How would I tell the courts I do not want him to be interviewed by a judge or magistrate? He doesn’t have rules, chores, or responsibilities at their house and buy him anything he wants and will be able to go to the school he wants if he lives there. so I’m almost positive he will tell them he wants to live with his grandma.
If some one gets a restraining order for a child against there own parent then calls cps on the parent for the other 2 children child services closes the case says there was no reason for them to even be called or come out then how can the parent get the restraining order lifted on the other child and get that child back home were he belongs
Would we have a good case to claim my 18 yr old stepson if he spends most of his time at our home?