According to Ohio law, a mother’s custody rights differ depending on her marital status at the time of delivery. Unmarried mothers have full custody of their children from the day they are born. The rights of a married mother at the time of the child’s birth are the same as those of her husband.
Due to this, both fathers and mothers have equal rights to custody of their children. In the absence of a court order indicating otherwise, both parents have equal custodial rights.
Unmarried mothers are automatically considered sole residential parents and legal guardians by the court. To legally establish that she has sole custody, an unmarried mother doesn’t need to submit any paperwork. She only needs her child’s birth certificate as proof.
Despite sounding like an advantage, the automatic sole custody designation comes with a major disadvantage. Child support or health insurance cannot be compelled by an unmarried mother until a Child Support Order is in place. It is only through the acquisition of one of these orders that the father will be able to enforce his rights regarding custody, visitation, and decision-making.
The right of a mother to develop and maintain a healthy, nurturing relationship with her child should be respected. The relationship between a mother and her child has been proven to be crucial to a child’s development, health, and overall well-being and should always be protected fiercely. An experienced Columbus child custody lawyer should be consulted immediately if you are going through a divorce or are an unmarried mother who feels her parental rights are being threatened.
Custody Rights for Mothers in Ohio
Child custody laws in Ohio prohibit judges and courts from favoring one parent over the other solely because of their gender. When two parents appear in court to have a custody determination conducted, they both are seen as equal in the eyes of the court. Mainly, the court solely focuses on the child’s best interests when determining child custody schedules and custodial agreements.
Legal and physical custody rights are not automatically granted to mothers based on their gender when it comes to mothers’ rights. There is no legal preference given to either gender in the United States. Children’s interests are the sole consideration of the courts.
Whatever the mother’s marital status is, they and the child’s father have the right to file for custody, parenting time, and child support once paternity has been determined.
How Ohio Courts Determine Custody
Both parents’ custody wishes will be taken into consideration in court; however, the child’s needs will ultimately control the outcome. Whenever a custody decision is made, the child’s best interests must be considered. Best interests are determined by evaluating the circumstances of the family as a whole.
There are many factors a judge can take into account when determining a child’s needs. For example, the court may take into account how a child interacts with each of their parents and any siblings they may have. In order to promote healthy family interactions and continuity, judges prefer custody arrangements that do not fracture relationships between siblings or other members of their family. The judge will also consider the physical and mental well-being of each parent, the stability of each parent, and the ties the child has to their current home and community.
A parent’s actions play a significant role in custody determinations as well. Generally, courts and judges appreciate parents who respect the relationship between the other parent and their child as well as previous custody decisions. In addition, a parent whose child support obligations have consistently been met will be viewed favorably compared to a parent whose child support obligations have not been met.
Parents with a history of domestic violence and abuse, as well as other violent crimes, will generally not be granted shared parenting responsibilities by judges and won’t be looked upon favorably. This is outlined by Ohio Code 3109.4.
Types Of Custody In Ohio
Custody can be divided into two types: legal and physical custody. When a mother has legal custody of their child, they can make important decisions for them. These decisions can include but are not limited to, their school choice, their religion, their medical care, and their participation in various activities.
Physical custody refers to where a child lives on a regular basis. Physical custody can be granted to one parent solely, or it can be shared with the child’s other parent. Physical custody of a child shared with both parents, known in Ohio as shared parenting, does not have to be exactly equal, although it is usually close to 50/50.
If both parents of the child live close together and are on good terms, then a shared parenting arrangement will usually work out.
Joint legal custody, or shared parental responsibility, refers to the fact that both parents of a child are jointly responsible for making decisions regarding your child. Having sole legal custody, on the other hand, means that the parent assigned sole legal custody is the only person who can make decisions for the child.
Shared parenting is typically awarded by courts in most cases. The judge, however, may award custody to the appropriate parent if they believe it is not in your child’s best interest. Courts consider assigning sole custody when one parent:
- Is proven to be abusive or neglectful
- Is incapable of making decisions for the child
- Lives too far away from the child
How a Child Custody Lawyer Can Help Mothers with Custody Issues
A child custody lawyer can help mothers in Ohio ensure their rights and relationship with their children are fully protected. They will provide legal insight and resources that a mother needs to resolve any child custody matters quickly and efficiently.
A child custody lawyer will also make sure that a mother’s parental rights are protected when in relation to custody, relocation, adoption, and visitation. Additionally, a well-versed Columbus family lawyer will provide legal representation for:
- Establishing paternity
- Defining mother and father’s parenting time
- Divorce, legal separation, or unmarried parent’s custody cases involving minor children
- Obtaining child support
- Changing or creating a child support agreement and parenting time
- Ensuring established orders are enforced.