In Ohio, it is possible to modify a previously ordered child custody and parenting time arrangement at any time. Many factors, however, determine what might be necessary to accomplish a modification of a previous order, in your case.
When a parent files for sole custody of a child, the parent must prove that he or she can provide a healthy, stable environment in which to raise the child. Often, the other parent is granted visitation. With joint custody, each parent shares their home with the child and splits the parenting responsibilities.
A custody agreement, or parenting plan, is the legal explanation on how the child will be raised and may outline the visitation schedule, child support, health insurance, college tuition and more. At some point in the child’s life, one or both parents may want to change the custody agreement.
When can a child custody order be changed?
At any time. If both parents agree on the change, it’s could be as easy as filing a motion and paying a fee. If the parents disagree, however, the court will have to decide.
How does the court decide on custody order changes?
If the state determines that the requested change(s) are in the best interest of the child(ren), they will allow modifications to be made to the parenting plan.
How do you change a custody agreement when both parents agree?
When you and the other parent agree on a change to your previous custody order, a basic motion is likely all that is required. You and the other parent may ask the court to replace your previous order entirely or you may ask the court to simply modify certain provisions.
Your motion must be filed in the same county in which your previous action took place and you will be charged a filing fee. The court will review your motion, along with your proposed changes, and, in most cases, the court will approve your requested changes and issue a new order.
Can I change a custody agreement if my ex doesn’t want to?
When you and the other parent cannot agree on changes to a previous custody and parenting time order, you must file your own motion requesting modification. You will not only be required to pay a filing fee, but you will also be required to pay to have your motion “served” on the other parent.
Additionally, before the court will approve your requested changes, you will be required to present evidence on two central issues:
1. You must prove there has been a “substantial and unforeseen change” in the circumstances of the residential parent.
2. You must prove your requested changes would be in the child(ren)’s best interests.
How long does it take to change a custody agreement
Depending on the complexity of your case, the process can take anywhere from a few months up to a year or more. In most cases, each parent will present witnesses supporting their position, including themselves, their children (in cases involving older children), friends, family, co-workers, teachers, and others.
In some cases, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to investigate the “best interests” of the child(ren) and issue a report with a recommendation about what would be in the child(ren)’s best interests.
Ultimately, however, the court will consider all evidence presented, along with a variety of required “best interest” factors, before issuing an opinion deciding what modifications, if any, are appropriate.
As family law attorneys, we represent people who want to change custody orders in terms of child support payments, child custody and parenting time. If you have questions about custody disputes please contact Gottlieb, Johnston, Beam, and Dal Ponte, P.L.L.