Family

What to expect at a parenting time hearing

In Ohio, if you want to change an existing parenting time order (sometimes called "visitation" in other states), you have to go through the court. Learn more about what will happen after you file your motion to change parenting time.

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To start the process to change an existing parenting time order in Ohio, you must file a motion in court. From start to finish, this process can take between three months and two years. After you file a motion, the court will schedule a hearing.

Pay attention to communications from the court

After you or the other parent files the motion, the court will schedule a hearing. Make sure to check your mail and respond promptly to any letters sent to you by the court. You must go to any hearing or meeting the court schedules, or else the court will likely rule in favor of the other parent.

At the hearing

At the hearing, you will need to explain to the judge:

  • What has changed since the current schedule was issued;
  • Why that change interferes with the current schedule; and,
  • How the change would meet the child’s best interests.

If you and the other parent agree, you can both testify that you agree and why. 

If you and the other parent don’t agree, you will need to present evidence to show that it is in the child’s best interest to change the parenting time schedule, like:

  • Documentation of the physical and mental health of children and/or adults;
  • Documentation of the child's extracurricular activities and how they will be affected by the current and proposed plans; 
  • Pictures showing that the proposed visitation location is appropriate for the child;
  • Pictures of interactions with family members; 
  • Google map directions to show the travel time for visitation;
  • Witnesses who will testify on your behalf about what they have personally seen or heard;
  • You can testify on your own behalf.

The court will look at this evidence to determine the best interests of the child. Present your evidence to show that the change in custody meets the legal requirement of "best interests of the child." Review the factors the court will use to decide what's in your child's best interest. 

Your child will not be allowed in the courtroom during the hearing. Make sure that you arrange for childcare in advance.

If you’re trying to have your parenting time order changed, it is important to get a lawyer if you can. This is especially true if you and the other parent don’t agree.

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