Attorney David P. Drew is a competent divorce lawyer and can provide legal counsel on; divorce, child custody, visitation, alimony, spousal support, parenting, mediation, and other family law related issues pertinent to Ohio.
If a divorce, dissolution, legal separation, or annulment proceeding involves a child and if the court has not issued a shared parenting decree, the court shall make a just and reasonable order or decree permitting each parent who is not the residential parent to visit the child at the time and under the conditions that the court directs, unless the court determines that it would not be in the best interest of the child to permit that parent to visit the child. Whenever possible, the order or decree permitting the visitation shall ensure the opportunity for both parents to have frequent and continuing contact with the child, unless frequent and continuing contact by either parent with the child would not be in the best interest of the child. The court shall include in its final decree a specific schedule of visitation for that parent.
What factors does the court take into consideration when determining visitation rights?
- In determining whether to grant visitation rights in establishing a specific visitation schedule, and in determining other visitation matters, the court must consider all of the following factors:
- The prior interaction and interrelationships of the child with his/her parents, siblings, and other relatives, and with the person who requested companionship or visitation if that person is not a parent, sibling, or relative of the child;
- The geographical location of the residence of each parent and the distance between those residences;
- The child's and parents' available time, including, but not limited to, each parent's employment schedule, the child's school schedule, and the child's and the parents' holiday and vacation schedule;
- The age of the child;
- The child's adjustment to his home, school, and community;
- If the court has interviewed the child in chambers, regarding the wishes and concerns of the child as to visitation by the parent who is not the residential parent or companionship, as to a specific visitation schedule, or as to other visitation matters, the wishes and concerns of the child, as expressed to the court;
- The health and safety of the child;
- The amount of time that will be available for the child to spend with siblings;
- The mental and physical health of all parties;
- Each parent's willingness to reschedule missed visitation and to facilitate the other parent's visitation rights;
- In relation to visitation by a parent, whether either parent previously 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 either parent, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated an abused child or a neglected child, previously has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act that is the basis of the adjudication; and whether there is reason to believe that either parent has acted in a manner resulting in a child being an abused child or a neglected child;
- Whether the person, in a case in which a child has been adjudicated an abused child or a neglected child, previously has been determined to be the perpetrator of the abusive or neglectful act that is the basis of the adjudication; whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a charge domestic violence and, if so whether he/she caused physical harm to the victim in the commission of the offense; and whether there is reason to believe that the person has acted in a manner resulting in a child being an abused child or a neglected child;
- Whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent his or her right to visitation in accordance with an order of the court;
- Whether either parent has established a residence or is planning to establish a residence outside this state;
- Any other factor in the best interest of the child.
Does a parent have to exercise visitation rights?
No. There is no law that requires a parent to exercise his/her visitation rights if they choose not to do so.
May a parent deny visitation rights to another parent if that parent is not making his/her child support payments?
No. A parent may not be denied visitation for failure to pay child support.
May a parent stop paying child support if he/she is denied court ordered visitation by the other parent?
No. The duty to pay child support is separate and distinct from the right to visitation with a child.
How can a parent enforce his/her visitation rights if he/she is being denied visitation?
A parent who is being denied visitation with his/her child can ask the court to find the parent who is wrongfully denying the visitation in contempt of court. If found in contempt, the offending parent may be made to pay court costs, including the attorney fees of the other parent, may be ordered to allow the parent to make up the missed visitation time, and may be ordered to spend time in jail.
Can a visitation order be modified?
A visitation order can be modified under the same conditions that a court can modify a prior order allocating parental rights and responsibilities; there must be a showing of changed circumstances since the original decree or a showing of facts that were unknown to the court at the time of the decree; and that the modification would be in the best interests of the child.