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10 things everyone should know about custody/visitation in Ohio:


  1. An adult unmarried mother who births a child is automatically designated as the primary residential parent and legal custodian of that child by operation of law.

  2. Paternity can be established by DNA testing, signing an affidavit of paternity by both parents or by court determination.

  3. Ohio Courts generally will not allow a party to withhold visitation simply because the other parent is behind on child support.

  4. Absent a specific court order stating otherwise, a visiting parent may take a child outside of the state of Ohio temporarily for legitimate purposes such as a vacation or visiting family.

  5. Nonresidential/non-custodial parents are legally entitled to receive and access the medical and educational records of their children even though they do not have custody.

  6. Once paternity is established, a father may request that a birth certificate is modified to reflect that he is the birth father and he may request a name change for the minor child.

  7. Under Ohio law, a child support obligation must be paid through the State’s child support enforcement system. Typically direct payments from one parent to another will not be credited towards a child support obligation and will be considered a gift.

  8. Typically most law enforcement agencies will not force a parent to comply with a visitation or custody order. Most law enforcement agencies will simply take a report and advise the parties to address the matter in their local domestic/juvenile court.

  9. There is no age when a minor child can choose with which parent he/she wants to live. Ohio courts will consider the wishes and desires of children in the determination of the best interests of the child in visitation/custody cases.

  10. Typically Ohio Courts require parents to share in the transportation of children to and from their visitation with the non-residential parent.

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