Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities

A. Establishment

When a couple is married, living together, or has a child together, both parties share parenting responsibilities equally. In the eyes of the law, both parents have equal authority to make decisions concerning the care, discipline and support of their child. When the court terminates a marriage, or establishes parental rights, one parent will have primary responsibility over the children unless a court orders shared parenting. The parent with primary responsibility is called the residential parent and the other parent is called the non-residential parent. If the couple cannot agree who will be the residential parent or upon a parenting time schedule, the court will decide for them or require them to us alternative dispute resolution processes, such as mediation.

When the court decides a custody issue, its primary focus is, “What is in the best interest of the child?”The court must decide whether under all circumstances, it would be in the child’s best interest to be placed with the father or with the mother, or whether a shared parenting arrangement would be more appropriate. When trying to decide the best interest of a child, the court must consider all relevant factors including the various guidelines specified in state law.  Ohio Revised Code §3109.04 establishes the requirements and factors the Court needs to consider when making an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.

When custody is granted to one parent,
parenting time (formerly “visitation”) is normally granted ot the non-residential parent. If shared parenting is awarded a parenting time schedule will be included in the shared parenting plan. Ohio Revised Code §3109.051 governs the award of parenting time.

A Parenting Proceeding Affidavit must be filed pursuant to
Ohio Revised Code §3127.23 at the initial filing of a complaint for divorce, legal separation, annulment or a petition for dissolution when there are minor children. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is a sworn statement stating the names and dates of birth of the minor children of the parties, their residence addresses for the previous five years and whether any or all of the children have been the subject of any court cases where a designation of parental rights has been made no matter where the location of the case. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is necessary for the Court to determine if it has the authority to issue parenting orders in the case being filed.

B. Modification

The allocation of parental rights and responsibilities is always modifiable. In order to modify a previous allocation of parental rights and responsibilities the party requesting the modification must show that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child, the residential parent, or either parent if there was an award of shared parenting, and that a modification is in the best interest of the minor child.

As with the initial allocation of parental rights any modification of the allocation of parental rights may cause a need for the court or the parties to modify the schedule of parenting time.
Ohio Revised Code §3109.051 governs the modification of parenting time along with the Court’s Local Rules 17 and 18.

A Parenting Proceeding Affidavit must be filed pursuant to
Ohio Revised Code §3127.23 upon the filing of a motion to modify a parenting order. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is a sworn statement stating the names and dates of birth of the minor children of the parties, their residence addresses for the previous five years and whether any or all of the children have been the subject of any court cases where a designation of parental rights has been made no matter where the location of the case. The Parenting Proceeding Affidavit is necessary for the Court to determine if it has the authority to issue parenting orders in the case being filed

Henry County Family Court