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Legal Information: Ohio


July 12, 2023

Can I change an order after it is issued?

There are two types of orders:

  1. one that allocates parental rights and responsibilities to one parent, and 
  2. joint custody (shared parenting). 

There are different standards for changing each one. The judge can change (modify) an order that allocates parental rights and responsibilities if:

  1. there has been a change in the circumstances of:
    • the child;
    • the residential parent; or
    • in the case of a shared parenting order, either of the parents;
  2. the change of circumstances are based on either:
    • new facts that have arisen since the order was issued; or
    • facts that were unknown to the judge at the time the order was issued; and
  3. the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the child.1

    If there is a shared parenting order, either parent can file in court to modify a shared parenting plan or the judge can suggest a change at any time. In addition, both parents can jointly modify the terms of the shared parenting plan on their own at any time if they agree to the change. The modifications to the plan must be filed jointly by both parents, and the court will include them unless they are not in the best interests of the child. The judge can also terminate a final shared parenting order upon the request of one or both of the parents or whenever the judge determines that shared parenting is not in the best interest of the child. The judge would then issue a modified order for the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities as if no order for shared parenting had been granted and as if no request for shared parenting ever had been made by considering the best interest factors listed in the law.2

    However, to change who is the residential parent, the judge will only do that if one of the following applies:

    • the residential parent agrees to the change or, in the case of a shared parenting order, both parents agree;
    • the child has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent with the consent of the residential parent or, in the case of a shared parenting order, both parents; or
    • the harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child.1

    1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.04(E)(1)(a)
    2 Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.04(E)(2)

    Where can I find more information about custody in Ohio?

    The Ohio State Bar Association has information on how a child’s wishes are considered in a custody case as well as information about parenting plans in divorce and custody cases and information on sharing parental responsibility after separation. (Please note that WomensLaw is not affiliated with the above organization and cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information on that site.)

    If I move to a new state, can I transfer my child custody case there?

    After a final custody order is issued, there may come a time when you and your children move to a different state. For information about how to request to transfer the custody case to a new state, please go to the Transferring a custody case to a different state section in our general Custody page. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you may likely first need to get permission from the court or from the other parent to move your children out of state. Please talk to a lawyer to make sure your plans to move don’t violate your custody order or your state’s parental kidnapping laws.