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Mother's disability at the center of child custody case

When two Ohio parents separate, they have decisions to make as to the custody of their children. They may decide to share custody, or if they cannot come to a conclusion on their own, a judge may decide the child custody issues for them. A state appellate court upheld an earlier child custody determination based on the mother's medical condition.

Custody of a young girl was held by her mother until the mother had a stroke four years ago, leaving her unable to give proper care to the girl for the better part of a year. More than two years later, the father sought primary custody of the girl, as the mother was and is continuing to have problems relating her thoughts and mispronouncing words. Custody was granted to the father and the mother appealed the decision, relating her anxiety over the negative impact a new home and new school may have on the girl. The appellate court agreed with the earlier ruling, partially based on testimony concerning the child's poor hygiene and the mother's lack of ability to help her daughter with her homework. It was also noted the girl was familiar with her father's home, as a consistent visitation schedule was observed.

The chief judge on the appellate panel did not agree with the majority in the decision. She dissented, stating there was no evidence that the mother's disabilities resulted in harm to the child. She pointed out that the mother had hired a tutor to help the girl when needed and believed the mother would continue use of additional assistance when her limitations were met. The judge also voiced her concern about the precedent this decision set for other capable parents with disabilities.

The basis of the court's ruling on the outcome of a child custody hearing depends on the evidence presented in the case. While an abundance of pertinent information will not guarantee the outcome one parent may want, the court will use it in considering the best interests of the child. An Ohio attorney will work with a parent to submit the strongest case possible to the court.

Source: theindianalawyer.com, "Divided COA upholds custody change after mom's stroke", Olivia Covington, Jan. 25, 2018

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