We had quite a reaction to the blog related to whether a child can choose which parent to live with upon the parents divorce in Ohio. Readers were surprised to learn that a child no longer had the ability to make such a choice, even if the child is 12 or 13 years old, and many were upset to learn this fact (evidently many were counting on this fact). Given the level of reaction, we thought that a few points of clarification were in order. While it is true that a child in Ohio no longer has the absolute right to choose which parent he or she would like to be deemed the residential and custodial parent, a child’s preferences can play a role in the Court’s ultimate decision on the matter.
Under current Ohio law, when a party requests (or upon the Court’s own motion) the minor child can be interviewed by the judge or magistrate in chambers (called an “in-camera” review) as to the child’s wishes and concerns related to custody matters. However, before the Court will take into account the child’s wishes or preferences regarding child custody, it must first determine whether the child has the maturity level to adequately express such feelings in a useful manner (what the statute calls “reasoning ability”).
Should the child have the requisite reasoning ability, the Court must then ask whether interviewing the child and asking him or her to express those wishes and concerns is actually in the best interest of the child, or whether asking the child to “choose” between parents would be detrimental to the child. In other words, although the Court is empowered to take into account the child’s preferences in determining custody matters, it will only do so if the child is mature enough to provide useful input and if asking the child to pick between parents would not be detrimental to the child’s well-being. So, in short, for those of you counting on the fact that your child wants to live with you as being the winning card against your ex, there is some benefit to that being the case, even if the law doesn’t allow the child to make the ultimate decision.
I find this disapointing. I am 13,and I wished to live with my dd instead. Tehy divorced about 6 years ago, and frankly, i’m tired of my mom’s crap. I like my dad way better.
I am so tired of living in Ohio! My mother lives in Washington, and I wish to stay with her. Quite frankly, the Ohio laws are a complete obstacle for me! There’s more to do, more to explore, and more to learn there. And I have friends and family out there who I need to reunite with. They MUST return the Ohio laws back to the child choosing, because I am 13, and I’m sick of living with my dad! I am very disappointed to see this article! I will need to have a talk with my dad’s attorney, and talk to the judge ASAP!
My parents are getting a divorce, and I can’t stand my step dad. I just want to stay with my mum, I don’t want to deal with how horribly he treats me. I’m 17, I have 2 jobs, carry a 3.1 GPA and a 26 on the ACT I think I’m level headed enough to choose who I live with so they need to change the law back!!!!!!!!!
im very upset by this. my parents got a divorice 3 years ago and at the time it seemed best for them to have joint custody over me. but now i just want to live with my dad! my mom and her boyfriend treat me like crap, i come home from her house recking of smoke (if she even picks me up on tie from my dads),and she doesnt have have any money because she spends it all on gambling and cigerrettes! its pretty bad when my friends mom treats me better than my real mom does! im 14 years old and i think i should be able to decide for my own well-being where i should be liveing at full-time! they need to change this law!!!
I find this disappointing, but no real issue. I am currently living with my mom, and wish to remain as such, but my father is attempting to force me to visit him on the weekends. Thank you for the information.
I am dissappionted to here this my dad got my mom knocked up, and i lived with my mom for 2 years then my dad married my step mom who wanted me so she told my dad to take my mom to quart they won. ive always wanted to live with my mom. I have a brother that is 19 and i never see him because my dad signed off on him because of child support. My dad told me he was going to put me in a foster home. Im 14 and im currently going to quart to live with my mother jessica miller.
i really need to try and get to my moms my dad and step mom put me and my sister through so much bullshit i need to choose
I wish My son could get custody of my grandchild. he wants to be with his father, and its so hard to read he will not have the choice to choose like it used to be when I was young. This is very sad. These children for the most part have a better idea on daily basis what they deal with, NOT the courts!
Well, that’s dumb. Why can’t kids have some rights? I thought all people were equal. I guess no one cares about what kids think. Seriously, it’s annoying having my mom have a new boyfriend EVERY YEAR. And we go through the same thing, he’s nice at first but then does something bad and after a kid, she gets a new one. My dad has no other kids, and my sisters are all halves. He’s nice and we get to do fun things and he doesn’t take all his anger out on me. Plus he doesn’t take me to a babysitter EVEN THOUGH I can watch myself just fine. She always screams and hits me. For no reason. And calls me names that I can’t say. I sometimes also thought of suicide. (Don’t worry, I’m fine)
they need to change the law back as my mom is abusive to me and has made choices that have almost killed animals and threated to kill my animals and decides thats its ok to hit you in your throught as hard as she can to where you cant breathe and so i would like to live with my dad and step mom cause they treat me as a real human and i would much rather be there in a tiny house that has no air conditioner and is hot than a large house that has air conditioner and feels nice and cool which says a lot. im 15
My grandson wants to go and live with his father because his father lets him do what he wants. He is 14 years old. His father told him he is an adult now and can do what he wants. This has caused problems with him and his mother because she puts restrictions on him which are in his best interest, but he thinks he doesn’t have to listen because of his father. Now his father is taking my daughter back to court to obtain custody of my grandson.
Hi my name is julie and I’m 11 I’m tired of living with my mom she lies to me to much I want to live with my dad in Ohio he filed custody for me first but my mom ran off to Florida with me and since then she always yells at me over stupid stuff and she lies to me and tells me my dad is irresponsible and dumb.
I find this disappointing my boyfriend is the only guy I know that would kill for his boys and yet there mothers make it so difficult for him…and yet there’s dads that could care less about there kids but yet courts still make them take there kids…it’s pathetic…I wish the law would go back to the way it used to be
im sorry kids im a mom and my ex is a nightmear i was hopping on 13 too my ex is a farmer and my son will be years of free labor tax debits tax credits and thay dont have internet service and put work and god before including a childs relationship with his mom i am sorry for my kid and all you kids i think at 13 if your body is old enought to make a baby your old enought to decide where you want to live no im not incuraging you to make you life hard by having children too young im just saying when a person is biologically old enough to be a parent the kid should be able to choose one expecially if thay are legaly alloud to work in ohio you can work at 14 and the minute you walk out the frunt door you could get hurt by anybody you make your decision about safty ect in the world every day so i think you are old enought to decide at whos house you want to stay and who you dont want to be around expecially if it anint related to you i hated hated hated my moms boyfrien and my step mom was down right cruel to me stay away from bad coaping mechanisms and remember you will be 18 and thats when you can choose who you dont want to deal with the rest of your life because you are more mature then your parents who cant get along trust me grownups can be more imature then kids my ex sure is my son is a real champ inspite of all this he just roles with it we have some kick ass visatation im like supper mom trying to fit all my mommy stuff in in 6 ohers a week yep that all i get and its suppervised and we cant go anywhere so hang in there trust me it can be worse my favirid thin i usto do with my daughter was mommy daughter days out out to eat movie and crap from dollar tree or wall mart i will never get to do this with my son and i cant afford another attorney fee atleast i got the visits move out of my enimies taratory yes it was that bed trust me i will get torchered by my ex just to see my kid so kids like me look forward to 18 i plan on taking my kid to star wars at disney to make up for this bull shit its not fair to you kids and it is not fair to a mom who relly cares i promis you it has nothing to do with vengence with me and that man is hatefull
The courts always say “We’re doing what’s best for the child.”That’s not necessarily true.Ohio’s laws are archaic.Listen to the kids.Kids are smarter than given credit for.Also,give grandparents more of a say.