Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Ohio Child Custody Forms and Process

When romantic relationships end there are often many important, sensitive issues the two people involved need to decide. However, the most contentious matter often involves child custody for any minor children born during the relationship. In Ohio, the answer to the question "who gets custody?" will often be determined by the process the individuals use to resolve the child custody situation. This article provides an overview of the forms used and the processes involved in settling Ohio child custody matters.

Establishing Child Custody in Ohio

In Ohio, two methods are used to establish child custody -- either the parents decide their custody arrangement or the courts will make the decision for them. Parental decisions will, however, ultimately be presented to a court for final approval.

If parents can reach an out-of-court agreement on child custody (known as parenting time in Ohio) and visitation rights through mediation, informal negotiations, or attorneys, they largely have the final say. Once an agreement is reached, parties will submit a parenting plan to a court for final approval. An informal court hearing may follow, with the judge asking questions to ascertain whether the parties understand and voluntarily agree to the plan. If a court is satisfied the plan was fairly negotiated and has the best interests of the child in mind, an approval and entry of parenting judgment will almost always follow.

However, if the parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody, a court will make the determination. In this situation the outcome will be less certain for the parties, as the court must consider the best interest of the child. The court may conduct interviews and look to other considerations in making its determination and issuing a parenting time order.

Ohio Child Custody Laws at a Glance

It is always beneficial to see a law in its original statutory form. However, understanding what that law means is often easier when it's laid out in plain English. This chart provides you with an Ohio child custody process overview.


Ohio Revised Code Title XXXI, Section 3109.04 (Allocating Parental Rights and Responsibilities for Care of Children)

General Rule

In any divorce, legal separation, or annulment the court allocates parental rights for care of minor children.

Considerations During Allocation

Courts will look to the "best interest of the child" when allocating parental rights. To determine the appropriate course of action a court may:

  • Interview the child in chambers;
  • Investigate the character, conduct, earning ability, and finances of each parent; and
  • Order each parent and/or child to submit to medical and psychological evaluations.

Related Statutes

Ohio Revised Code Title XXXI:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Ohio Child Custody Forms & Process: Related Resources

Get Legal Advice on Child Custody Forms & Process in Ohio

Child custody is a difficult, sensitive issue. The child custody process can be daunting in Ohio, as there are many forms to complete and procedures to follow. If you have questions about navigating the maze of child custody forms or the process itself, speak to an experienced Ohio Child Custody Attorney about your situation.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Custody & child visitation cases are emotional, and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Lawyers can seek to secure visitation rights

Get tailored advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options