When parents separate or divorce in Ohio, child custody involves the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. Part of those parental rights and responsibilities include parenting time, which used to be described as physical custody and visitation. While parents still spend time with their children through parenting time and are responsible for day-to-day care and parenting, visitation or companionship are terms used under Ohio law to describe a grandparent’s or another person’s right to spend time with the child. Given that many people still use visitation to describe parenting time, our Dayton child custody lawyers can tell you more about what happens when a parenting time order has been violated, as well as what happens if a grandparent (or other person’s) visitation order has been violated.
Violations of Parenting Time or Visitation for a Parent: Fines and Penalties
Under Ohio child custody law, what was previously known as “visitation” for a parent is now described as parenting time, which is allocated as part of parental rights and responsibilities. If one parent violates a shared parenting agreement or court order allocating parental rights and responsibilities, there can be serious consequences. If a parent violates a parenting time or visitation order, that parent can face fines, can be held in contempt and can face jail time, and may lose certain parenting rights as a result of the violation.
When a parent is held in contempt for violating a parenting time order, that parent can face fines under Ohio’s contempt laws. A first offense can result in a fine of up to $250, and subsequent offenses can include fines of $500 for a second offense, or $1,000 for a third offense. In addition, a parent who is held in contempt for violating a parenting time or visitation order will be required to pay court costs and attorney’s fees associated with the contempt proceeding. Being held in contempt can also result in jail time, including up to 30 days in jail for a first offense, and longer jail terms for subsequent offenses.
In addition, Ohio law clarifies that one of the factors for determining what is in the best interest of the child is whether either parent has prevented the other from fulfilling their parenting responsibilities. Based on this factor, it is possible that the parent who violates a parenting time order can lose rights to shared parenting.
Visitation Order Violations Affecting Grandparents and Other Parties
Ohio law allows grandparents, other relatives, and certain other parties to seek visitation rights. Indeed, under Ohio law, the court can grant visitation rights to grandparents or other appropriate parties if certain conditions apply.
When this type of visitation order is violated by a parent or another party, that violating party can face contempt with the same possible consequences identified above.
Contact an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Dayton, Ohio
If you have a parenting time order or visitation order, and if the child’s other parent has violated the order, it is important to seek advice from a Dayton child custody attorney. You may be able to initiate a court proceeding to ask the court to enforce the existing order, and the court may be able to hold the violating party in contempt. Contact Comunale Law Office today for more information.