Does My Child’s Opinion on Custody and Parenting Time Matter?

Parents often believe that their child can decide where they would like to live but this is not true.  Children have a voice but not a vote in custody and visitation matters.

How much weight does their opinion have?

The court looks at a series of factors to determine the custody or parenting time of a child. There are no bright-line rules as to which parent will get custody and what the parenting time will be, so the court uses these factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child. A child’s wishes and concerns are one of eight factors that the court considers when determining the best interest.

How do I get the court to consider their opinion?

Presenting a child’s wishes in court is more difficult than a parent testifying that their child wants X, Y, or Z. The parent asking for the child’s wishes to be taken into account can enter this into evidence using a few different methods. First, the parent can file a motion asking the court to conduct an in-camera interview with the child. These interviews are typically conducted in private between the judge and the child only. It prevents the child from being forced to testify in front of their parents and in front of their parents’ attorneys. Second, a parent could ask for a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to be appointed. The GAL’s role is to do an investigation and to report to the Court what they believe to be in the child’s best interests.  Sometimes children will express their wishes to the GAL who may be able to present those concerns in court. While the GAL must also consider the child’s wishes in determining the child’s best interests, the GAL does not have to advocate for that position, if the GAL does not believe that position is in the child’s best interests.  Third, the child could be called as a witness at trial.  While calling a child as a witness is not preferred, there may be circumstances under which a parent might choose this option.

My child is mature enough to decide, why can’t the court just listen to them?

Family dynamics can be complicated especially to a child who is more impressionable than a grown adult. Unfortunately, some parents do not have their child’s best interest at heart and would rather do anything to sabotage the child’s relationship with the other parent rather than encourage a healthy relationship. Alienation is commonly seen in these situations and can have a big influence on what the child wants. If the court were to solely honor the child’s wishes in these situations and ignore the other factors, then the alienating parent would be able to continue to sabotage the relationship with the other parent. If you would like to know more about parental alienation, click HERE. (

Using all of the best interest factors, the court sees a broader picture of the family dynamic and is able to make a decision as to what is in the best interest of the child.

If you would like to read the factors considered in determining the best interest of the child, they are found in Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(F)(1).

Annulment: Is Sterility a ground for an annulment?

In this video, Sarah continues sharing about Annulment laws. Make sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!

Transcript: Person Speaking: Sarah
Sterility is not the same as impotence and is therefore, not a ground for an annulment in Ohio.

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Motions for Contempt in Custody Cases

Many parents file a motion for contempt or face a motion for contempt at some point during their child’s time as a minor. It is important to know what this motion does and the lasting implications that it can have on your custody case.

What is a motion for contempt and what does it do?

A motion for contempt is a motion asking the court to punish a person for not following an order of the court. Most commonly, motions for contempt are filed when one parent does not turn the child over for the other parent’s time with them. Once a motion for contempt is filed, the court will have a hearing to determine if the parent was actually in contempt of the order. If the parent is found to be in contempt, they can face fines, attorney’s fees, jail time (only in the most serious of cases), and the implications a contempt causes in a custody case.

How does contempt affect a custody case?

A parent found in contempt can be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees, but even more seriously, it shows the court that this person cannot or is unwilling to follow court orders. Showing the court that the parent refuses to follow court orders is a factor in deciding which parent should be the custodial parent. These factors are used for the court to consider what is in the child’s best interest. Being in contempt of orders shows the court that the parent will likely not honor future orders, which is not something that the court looks favorably upon.

If you need help filing a motion for contempt or if you are facing a motion for contempt that was filed against you, please consult with one of our attorneys. Findings of contempt can have negative implications on your custody case.

Annulment: Is impotence a ground for an annulment in Ohio if…

In this video, Sarah answers another common question about Annulment Law. Make sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE! We have new content weekly and as always, we welcome your comments!

Transcript: Person Speaking: Sarah
If one or both of the spouses were under the age of consent at the time of the marriage, if the marriage was unconsummated because of permanent or incurable impotence which was not known at the time of your marriage, or if one party was unable to consent to the marriage due to incompetence or mental capacity, or if the consent to the marriage was obtained through force or fraud. Those types of marriages are voidable in Ohio and are not recognized. You can bring an annulment action on those instances.

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