Child Custody

The Pirnia Law Office can help you determine custody and visitation issues for your child or children. Under Ohio custody laws, the court decides according to the child’s best interests. The custodial parent—the one the child lives with—has physical custody. The non-custodial parent visits the child during parenting time. Unless the non-custodial parent’s relationship with the child is detrimental in some way (drugs, alcohol, or child abuse), the court will grant parenting time.

When determining child custody, the court considers factors such as:

•Child’s wishes
•Child's age
•The distance between parents’ residences
•Child’s time available to spend with parents and siblings
•Previous parental child abuse or neglect
•Child's interaction with parents, siblings, other relatives, or others requesting parenting time
•Parents’ wishes
•Parents’ criminal convictions

If the parties cannot decide on custody, the court will award primary custody to one parent, making that parent the child’s physical and/or legal custodian, or a joint custody arrangement, called shared parenting in Ohio.

To help the court make a custody determination, the court will usually appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to represent the child's interest. The GAL will interview both parents and the minor child to determine what is in the best interests of the child. The GAL will inspect each parents' home to determine the suitability of each home. Once the GAL completes his or her investigation, the GAL will issue a report to the Court recommending which parent should have custody of the child. Depending on the situation, the GAL may recommend shared parenting. When deciding child custody in the Dayton area, courts give strong consideration to the GAL's report.

Child Support

Child support is the financial contribution one parent makes to another for the support of their children. Child support is calculated according to a formula written into state law. That formula combines the father’s and mother’s gross income. Each parent is allowed certain gross income “adjustments,” which reduce that figure. These adjustments include deducting the sum of local income tax actually paid, or any child or spousal support orders paid or received, and adjusting for the cost of the child’s portion of health insurance and any work-related child care expenses. Although there are exceptions, in general, the “non-residential” parent, pays child support to the parent with whom the child lives. In shared parenting plans, the amount of support may be reduced according to the amount of time the child spends in each parent’s home, or if the parties share the expenses of the child. Child support is payable until the child reaches the age of 18, or until he or she graduates from high school, whichever is later. If a child is over 18 years of age and still attends high school, support will continue until the child has completed high school, up to age 19, unless otherwise ordered or agreed. Child support may be modified if circumstances change (e.g., there is an involuntary loss of employment, the birth of a new child, an increase or decrease in the incomes of either parent).