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Child's Best Interest

Child's Best Interest

Courts make decisions all the time that affect children. These decisions are often related to things like child custody, child support, any future modifications to custody and support, and termination of parental rights. These decisions are made in light of the best interests of the child. 

Attorney Christopher Fogt provides guidance to our clients and helps them understand what the best interest of the child means generally, and how it could affect their unique case specifically. Making sure our clients are informed helps them make better decisions, too. So, contact us online or at 937-254-2600 to schedule a free consultation.

What is the Child's Best Interest Standard in Ohio?

  • The child's wishes: If the child is old enough and mature enough to express a preference, the court may consider the child's wishes in making a custody determination.
  • The child's relationship with each parent: The court will consider the child's bond with each parent and their ability to provide for the child's physical, emotional, and developmental needs
  • Child's Interaction and Interrelationships: The court evaluates the child's relationships with parents, siblings, and other significant individuals.
  • Courts also consider each parent's desires regarding custody arrangements.
  • The parents' ability to cooperate: The court will consider the parents' ability to work together and make decisions regarding the child's upbringing.
  • The parents' mental and physical health: The court will consider the mental and physical health of each parent and how it may impact their ability to care for the child.
  • The parent's ability to provide for the child: This includes assessing each parent's ability to provide food, clothing, medical care, and education.
  • The parents' history of domestic violence: If there is a history of domestic violence, the court will consider it in making a custody determination.
  • The child's adjustment to their current environment: The court will consider the child's school, community, and other factors that impact their daily life and whether a change in custody would be disruptive.
  • The recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the child.

It's important to note that the court's ultimate goal in making a custody determination is to serve the best interests of the child. This means that the factors considered may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

Practical Implications

For parents, understanding the best interest standard means recognizing that the court's primary focus is the child's well-being. Here are some practical tips:

  • Demonstrate Stability: Ensure your home environment is stable and supportive of the child's needs.
  • Foster Relationships: Encourage and facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Communicate Effectively: Clearly express your wishes and concerns regarding custody, focusing on the child's best interests.
  • Prepare Documentation: Gather evidence of your involvement in the child's life, such as school records, medical records, and testimonials from teachers or other caregivers.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a family law attorney to understand how the factors apply to your situation and to develop a strategy that highlights your strengths as a parent.

In Ohio, the best interest of the child is the guiding principle in all custody decisions. By examining statutory factors and relevant case law, courts aim to ensure that every child's health, safety, and overall well-being are prioritized. For parents, demonstrating a commitment to these principles can significantly influence the outcome of custody disputes. If you find yourself in such a situation, seeking the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support.

Relevant Statutes

Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §3109.04(f) is the primary statute governing child custody decisions. This law outlines the factors that courts must consider to determine what arrangement serves the best interest of the child. Understanding these factors is crucial for parents navigating custody disputes.

Which Best Interests of the Child Standard Applies if Custody Involves Multiple States?

Child custody determinations are decided by state courts. Wherever the case is filed, typically that state's best interests of the child standard applies. In some cases, where a genuine question as to which state can enforce a custody order exists, uniform laws like the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act may control. That, too, is determined by the state. 

Keep in mind, not all states have adopted these uniform laws, but most use them as guidance.

Contact Fogt Law Today.

The best interests of the child standard will greatly influence your child's life as well as yours. If you have questions, need advice, or want to file a complaint for divorce, child custody, or child support, contact Fogt Law Office online or call us at 937-254-2600 today.


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