Changing child custody in Ohio: What are the rules?

Splitting time with your child with your ex can be challenging. And just when you have adjusted to a new normal, things can change, and you may need to make another custodial transition with a modification.

Custody modification is something many parents must navigate at some point. It involves changing an original child custody order to reflect new or changing circumstances, and there are rules in place of which parents should be aware.

Grounds for modification

If you want to modify your child custody order, you must be able to show that there has been a significant change in your situation or your child’s needs. With such a change, modifying custodial rights can be in your child’s best interests.

Some examples of what these changes might be can include:

  • Parental substance abuse
  • Child neglect or abuse
  • Parental incarceration
  • Job loss or relocation

Under these and similar circumstances, changing custody arrangements can be crucial in protecting a child’s physical and emotional well-being.

Procedural missteps to avoid

One mistake people make when modifying custody is doing it without the approval of the courts. Parents might think they don’t need the courts’ permission if they agree on a change or make changes themselves because they do not want to deal with the time and expense of navigating the legal process.

However, making changes to a custody order or parenting time informally and without a court’s approval can create several issues and endanger a child’s welfare. Thus, if you want to change your custodial arrangement, you can talk to your attorney to help you navigate the legal process properly.

Another misstep is assuming changing custody is the same as changing parenting time. In Ohio, these are two different matters. While courts must approve both custody and parenting time modifications, the reasons for adjusting parenting time are typically less significant than those that parties must show to change custody.

Finally, failing to complete paperwork and attend hearings can hinder your modification plans. As such, you should be diligent in complying with legal requirements and protocols.

Protect your parental rights and your child

The needs and capabilities of parents and children change over time. And modifying your legal agreements to reflect these changes can be necessary for protecting your rights as a parent and your child’s best interests.

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