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FamilyAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  9 + years of handling Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support cases
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My granddaughter will be 12 in May. Her father has custody,

Customer Question

My granddaughter will be 12 in May. Her father has custody, but she wants to spend more time with her mother. She wants to tell the Court that rather than be represented by a Guardian Ad Litem who has seen her two times in 7 years. Her father has kept her safe, but gives no emotional support at all. That is also not provided by the females in his family. I would like to know what the laws are for a child presenting her case to the court. This is in Ashtabula County in Ohio. Both parents live in Ashtabula County.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 6 months ago.
Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. A minor child never has the right to decide which parent they want to live with. However, the Judge can certainly listen to their requests and use it when deciding, on how to rule. Ohio law does not specify an age at which a child may choose his or her own living arrangements. Rather, the court looks at the custody issue on a case-by-case basis, and custody determination is based on a number of factors, including:* the wishes of the child’s parents; * the wishes of the child; * the child’s relationship with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest; * the child’s adjustment to home, school and community; * the mental and physical health of all those involved; * the parents’ likelihood of honoring and facilitating court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights; * failure of either parent to make any past child support payments; * either parent’s previous conviction or guilty plea for a criminal offense involving an abused or neglected child or domestic violence, or evidence that either parent has acted in a way that resulted in a child’s abuse or neglect;* denial by either parent of the other parent’s right to parenting time;* either parent’s establishment of a residence, or a plan to move, outside the state. A parent may ask the court to interview the child to find out the child’s preference, and the court will conduct an in-chambers interview. The interview is not done in open court, but rather, in the judge’s or magistrate’s chambers. The child meets with the judge or magistrate and other court personnel as appropriate, but the child’s parents are not present at the meeting. The court, in its discretion, may, and upon the motion of either parent, will appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The court (judge or magistrate) will first determine the reasoning ability of the child. If the court determines the child does not have sufficient reasoning ability, then the child will not be asked his or her wishes with regard to custody. If the court decides the child does have sufficient reasoning ability, the court must then decide if there are any special circumstances that would suggest the child’s wishes should not be considered. Assuming the child has sufficient reasoning ability and there are no special circumstances, the court will then ask the child about his or her own wishes regarding custody.
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 6 months ago.
There should be no reason the Judge does not hear and speak with the child. If anything, the Judge would simply disregard it, if he/she determined that the child was not aware of the decision they were making or the reason for it. For example, if she said she wants to spend more time with her mother because she gives her ice cream.
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 6 months ago.
Please let me know if you have any follow up questions or need any clarification on something which I stated above. Also, remember to rate my service at the top of this page, before exiting the site, so I can receive credit for my help. I hope you found it to be Excellent! Only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. If you feel the need to click either of the two lower ratings to the left, please stop and reply to me. I want to make sure your experience with the site was as pleasurable as possible and that you are satisfied with the help I provided.
Expert:  FamilyAnswer replied 6 months ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!

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