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Court permission needed for custodial Ohio parents to relocate

Divorced Ohio parents with court-sanctioned parenting plans may be limited by geography. Parental relocation affects child custody and visitation arrangements, even when a former partner only moves across Delaware County.

When a parent with residential custody plans to move, for whatever reason, he or she must request permission to relocate children from a domestic relations court. Most parenting agreements set boundaries about moves planned by parents with primary custody. Children may not be uprooted from a familiar and stable environment, unless the move serves their best interests.

Ohio's child custody laws deal with individuals who have established parental rights. Unmarried single fathers may not have the court's backing to stop a relocation, unless paternity is established. Without proof of paternity, a father has no legal standing and cannot prevent the mother from moving with a child.

A parental relocation case involving Olympic skier Bode Miller recently made headlines. Miller had a short affair with a 28-year-old woman, while both of them were residing on the West Coast last year. The relationship did not last but the woman, an ex-Marine, became pregnant.

While the woman was pregnant, she moved to the East Coast to pursue a university education and gave birth to a son. During an ongoing paternity-custody dispute between the alpine skier and the mother, a judge called the relocation "reprehensible," and nothing more than a pitch to improve the woman's legal standing. Bode Miller was awarded temporary custody.

The ruling was reversed last month and custody of the 9-month-old boy was awarded to his mother, at least for the time being. The court noted the child was born after the move, and the presumptive father had no right to stop the relocation, even if the mother and putative father's residences were separated by the width of the country.

Family courts hear parents' laments, but final decisions about custody matters and relocation are laser-focused on the best interests of children.

Source:, "Miller's child custody case becomes women's-rights cause" No author given, Nov. 30, 2013

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