What are the steps for filing for custody? Will I have to go to mediation?
The steps you should take to file for custody depend on the particulars of your situation. To find out what the process will be like for you, please consult a lawyer in your area. Go to our Ohio Finding a Lawyer page for more information.
Generally, if the parents are married, parental rights and responsibilities will be determined within the divorce, legal separation, or annulment proceeding. If the parents are not married, then a proceeding can be filed for the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of a child.1
If the parents do not agree on rights and responsibilities of their child or on a parenting time schedule, the judge may order the parents to go to mediation. However, before ordering mediation, the judge must consider if mediation is in the best interests of the parties when one of the parents was convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, domestic violence within that household.2
If the judge does order mediation, the judge will consider the mediation report but is not bound by it. The judge will consider the best interests of the child when making a decision.3 For more information on best interests factors, you can see How will a judge make a decision about parental rights and responsibilities (custody)?
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.04(A)
2 Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.052(A)
3 Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.052(B)