When parents separate and divorce in the State of Ohio, or if they have not been married to each other but share a minor child, the court may get involved in determining custody and visitation if the parties cannot independently come to an agreement.

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In determining visitation and parenting time, the court will take several factors into account. First and foremost, the court will consider the child’s best interests. Depending on the child’s age, his or her wishes may also be taken into account, but the child’s wishes are not determinative. Other factors include, but are not limited to, where each parent lives and how far these residences are from one another; the child’s age; the child’s adjustment to his or her community; and any prior instance of child abuse or neglect in the past of either parent.

When developing a schedule for visitation and parenting time, most counties in Ohio have a model schedule that is used as the baseline. While parents are able to tailor this to their own needs provided they are able to agree, in the absence of an agreement, adherence to the model schedule may be court-ordered.

If a parent wants to modify an existing visitation or parenting schedule, he or she must petition absent an agreement. If a parent is not in compliance with the current court ordered visitation, he or she may be found in contempt of court and ordered to pay a fine.