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Legal Information: Ohio

Custody

Updated: 
November 4, 2019

How will a judge make a decision about parental rights and responsibilities (custody)?

A judge will make a decision about parental rights and responsibilities (custody) based on what s/he thinks is in your child’s best interest. The judge will look at any factor that s/he thinks is important to make this decision.

According to Ohio law, when determining what is in the best interest of the child, the judge will look at the following factors:

  1. the wishes of the child’s parents regarding the child’s care;
  2. the child’s preference for who s/he wants to live with if the judge interviewed the child;
  3. the relationship the child has with his/her parent(s), siblings and any other person that might significantly affect the child’s best interests;
  4. the child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
  5. the mental and physical health of everyone involved;
  6. which parent is more likely to honor and assist with court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights;
  7. whether either parent has failed to make child support payments that s/he was ordered to make;
  8. whether either parent or any member of the parent’s household has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being an “abused child” or a “neglected child;” whether any court determined that either parent has abused or neglected a child (not just a criminal court); or whether there is any reason to believe that either parent abused or neglected a child;
  9. whether either parent or any member of the parent’s household has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to domestic violence, a sexual offense, or any crime that resulted in physical harm against someone who is a member of the family or household involved in the custody case;
  10. whether either parent has continuously and willfully denied the other parent’s right to parenting time under a court order; and
  11. whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside of the state.1

Note: The judge must not give preference to a parent because of that parent’s financial status when deciding parental rights and responsibilities.2

1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.04(F)(1)
2 Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.04(F)(3)