Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
What the statute says is that the judge shall take the child or children into his chambers to privately interview them before making a decision, at the request of the parent. The first step of that is determining the child's ability to reason. Ohio Rev. Code, Section 3109.04. Typically, children as young as 6 can state a preference. Children who are 11 and 13 should easily pass the test. The child's wishes is only one of the factors to be considered, but everything else you've described also weighs in favor of reducing visitation.
You could also try asking for supervised visits to ensure the child's safety. And the judge can order your ex not to badmouth you in front of the children or allow anyone else to do so. Then, if he keeps doing it, he's in contempt of court and you could pursue sanctions (which are usually monetary).
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