Columbus Child Custody Attorneys
Assistance with parenting plans and custody orders during divorce
Cases involving child custody or parenting time are often among the most complex and contentious issues in family law. This is why it is absolutely essential that you have dedicated and experienced legal counsel to aggressively pursue your rights and interests; most importantly those of your children.
The Columbus attorneys at Soroka & Associates offer full-service family law representation, including child custody and parenting plan matters. Our lawyers are ready to be your compassionate and tough advocates, whether you are divorcing or separating from the other parent. We can help you sort through these issues and work to find the best solution for you and your children.
How can we help?
- How does child custody work in Ohio?
- What does a judge consider when determining child custody?
- What is a guardian ad litem?
- Does my child get a say in custody decisions?
- Can my Columbus child custody order be changed?
- Can I refuse visitation if my ex is refusing to pay child support?
- How can a Columbus child custody lawyer help?
- Do you have a child custody attorney near me?
How does child custody work in Ohio?
During a divorce, or when you and your co-parent are determining custody, the courts determine parental rights and responsibilities. One (sole) or both (joint) parents may be awarded these rights.
Legal custody means a parent has the right to make major legal, medical, educational, and religious decisions for a child. The custodial, or residential, parent is the parent with which the child spends the majority of their time. A judge can award sole or joint custody in any way that serves the best interest of the child or children.
What does a judge consider when determining child custody?
Courts in Ohio resolve child custody issues through what’s called “the best interest of the child” test. Although there is no strict guide by which the court decides a case, there are specific factors they take into consideration when determining parenting time. Key factors include:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The suitability of each parent as a custodian
- The emotional and developmental needs of the child
- Any history of abuse or domestic violence
- The ability of the parents to communicate and work together
- Any past failure to pay a support agreement
- Custodial agreements between the parents
- The wishes of the child (if they are deemed mature enough to express them to the court)
To help make these decisions, the court will often hear testimony from a variety of experts and other witnesses. Further, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent the interests of the child (more on this below). After hearing all of the evidence, the court will set a parenting time schedule.
This schedule will outline which parent will be in charge of making decisions, including things like school placement and extracurricular activities, when each parent will have parenting time with the child, and if child support is appropriate. When determining joint custody, the court will consider additional factors, such as the distance between the parents, the effect of frequent travel on the child, where the child should attend school, and each parent’s willingness to work together with the other to reschedule normal parenting or holiday time when necessary.
What is a guardian ad litem?
A guardian ad litem (GAL) protects the interests of a minor child in court. Here in Ohio, the court appoints a GAL under Section 2151.281 on behalf of a child whenever there’s a conflict between the child’s parents or guardians. The GAL is neutral party who makes recommendations to the court regarding matters like child custody, visitation, and parenting agreements.
Does my child get a say in custody decisions?
Generally, younger children can’t choose with which parent they want to live after a divorce. Many counties use the age of 16 to allow a child to make the decision, but the courts or a guardian ad litem make the ultimate choice.
Can my Columbus child custody order be changed?
Yes, if a parent or child’s circumstances have significantly changed, you can ask the court to modify your order. Under Ohio Code Section 3109.04, some of these changes include when:
- The custodial parent has lost their job or is unable to care for the child
- One of the parents wants to relocate out of the city or state
- One of the parents is neglecting or abusing the child
- One of the parents is convicted of a crime
The child custody attorneys at Soroka & Associates can answer any questions you have about modifying a custody or parenting order. It’s important to make a formal change to your custody agreement, as informal modifications are not enforceable by the court.
Can I refuse visitation if my ex is refusing to pay child support?
No – don’t do this. You cannot deny visitation to your child’s parent, even if he or she is behind on child support payments. Custody and support are two separate issues and are not tied together in any way. You could be held in contempt of court for refusing visitation. However, if you are owed child support, you can talk to our attorneys about court order enforcement.
If you are having legitimate issues paying child support due to changes in life circumstances, you may be eligible for order modification. We’re happy to answer questions about that, too.
How can a Columbus child custody lawyer help?
Your family law attorney can help explain all your rights and responsibilities as a parent. The state very rarely awards one parent full and sole custody, so the lawyers at Soroka & Associates will sit down with you to determine the best path forward for you and your family, putting the best interests of your children first. If both parents cannot come to agreement, a judge will decide for you, so if you and your co-parent can make these decisions on your own with the guidance of your attorneys, you may come up with a more mutually beneficial plan. Our attorneys can:
- Explain Ohio family law and statutes in a way you and your family can understand
- Gather evidence to demonstrate your fitness as a parent to the court
- Provide seasoned and knowledgeable legal advice
- Negotiate custody agreements, visitation, and draft parenting plans
- Enforce and modify child custody orders when needed
- Provide compassionate and professional support throughout the entire process
Simply contact us to set up a consultation about your case to find out how we can help.
Do you have a child custody lawyer near me?
Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205 in Columbus. Our offices are located near a parking deck, and a few blocks away from Rt. 23 and I-71.
Child custody attorneys serving Columbus families
When it comes to matters of child custody, it is crucial that you have experienced counsel to help you navigate the process. The Columbus attorneys at Soroka & Associates bring both compassion and skill to the task. We have the experience necessary to protect both the best interests of your family and your parent-child relationship. To set up a consultation with a member of our team, call 614-358-6525 or fill out our contact form. We serve clients in Columbus and throughout Central Ohio, including in Licking County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and beyond.