Custody or Visitation-Unmarried Parents

Giulitto Law Office located in Ravenna, Ohio has attorneys who regularly handle custody and visitation cases in Portage County Juvenile Court and surrounding areas.  This page discusses such cases for children born outside of a marriage.

When parents have a child outside a marriage all contested issues are held in the juvenile court (in most Ohio counties)  The follow issues are frequently litigated:

Custody:  When a child is born outside of a marriage, the mother is automatically presumed to be the custodial parent of the child.  The father must petition the court for custodial rights.  Prior to asking for custody, paternity must be established.  If there has never been a custodial order entered by a court and father brings an action, mother and father are presumed to stand on equal footing as to custody.  The court is guided by the best interest of the child and the factors spelled out by Ohio law to determine which parent will be named the custodial parent.  The court is also permitted to order shared parenting if one party files a shared parenting plan.  The distinction between shared parenting and sole custodial order is that in shared parenting both parents will make decisions regarding the child/children pursuant to a shared parenting plan whereas in a sole custodial order, one parent is responsible for making the decisions regarding the child/children.

If a court has determined custody, then the parent requesting a change must prove a change in circumstances.  This is a high burden as courts do not like to make changes unless it is absolutely necessary because it is detrimental to the child to have instability.  Other changes after a court has determined custody, such as changes in parenting time or changes in a shared parenting plan, are determined by the best interest of the child factors.

Visitation:  Mother is automatically presumed to be the custodial parent.  Father has NO VISITATION RIGHTS until an agreement is filed with the court or he petitions the court for visitation.  The court will determine the scope of visitation requested by the best interest of the child factors.  A father must have paternity established before he can ask a court for visitation rights.

Call Giulitto Law Office today for a FREE CONSULTATION related to your parent-child custody or visitation issue.

Please review Ohio’s statute to review the “best interests factors” that court will consider: