If you are an active member of the military, then you are a brave and selfless person who is risking everything to protect our country. Though we are all thankful for your service, there may be times when you feel like you are getting the short end of the stick. One of these times is during child custody negotiations. In order to protect your rights, you should familiarize yourself with Ohio law. Hopefully this knowledge will allow you to make decisions that are right for you and your child.
First, if you receive an order for active military service, then you must notify your child's other parent within three days of receipt. Once this occurs, either you or your child's other parent can apply to have a court review the matter to see if a modification is in order. The court will try to expedite the hearing so that it occurs before deployment.
It is important to note that during such a hearing, the court cannot modify an already existing agreement unless a change in circumstances warrants it. Active military service, however, is not considered by the courts to be a change in circumstances. Therefore, no permanent modification can be made at that time. Yet, the court can issue a temporary order that modifies the agreement while you are away on active military service. Such an order will expire once you return from your service.
Family matters like this are often complicated, but it is important to remember that the best interests of the child are paramount. Therefore, putting forth a strong case, regardless of your circumstances, is critical to showing the court why you want what you want and why it is best for the child. This can be difficult to put into a legal argument, which is why experienced family law attorneys, and particularly those competent in handling fathers' rights, are often beneficial.
Source: Ohio Laws and Rules, "Chapter 3109: Children," accessed on June 12, 2015