In June 2011 The Ohio Legislature enacted a bill which modifies for individuals who are ordered to active duty Ohio’s Custody Laws. Ohio Revised Code 3109.04 (I) effective June 2011 now sets forth procedures for men and women who are called to active duty and who are involved in an action involving the allocation of parental rights or who have been involved in an action regarding the allocation of parental rights. In general the new law provides for an expedited process for a determination of parental rights for parents who have been called to active duty. If you are in the military and have questions regarding the new law please contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss the matter.
The newly enacted law ( Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(I) provides as follows:
(I)(1) Upon receipt of an order for active military service in the uniformed services, a parent who is subject to an order allocating parental rights and responsibilities or in relation to whom an action to allocate parental rights and responsibilities is pending and who is ordered for active military service
shall notify the other parent who is subject to the order or in relation to whom the case is pending of the order for active military service within three days of receiving the military service order.
(2) On receipt of the notice described in division (I)(1) of this section, either parent may apply to the court for a hearing to expedite an allocation or modification proceeding so that the court can issue an order before the parent’s active military service begins. The application shall include the date
on which the active military service begins.
The court shall schedule a hearing upon receipt of the application and hold the hearing not later than thirty days after receipt of the application, except that the court shall give the case calendar priority and handle the case expeditiously if exigent circumstances exist in the case.
The court shall not modify a prior decree allocating parental rights and responsibilities unless the court determines that there has been a change in circumstances of the child, the child’s residential parent, or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree, and that modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the child. The court shall not find past, present, or possible future active military service in the uniformed services to constitute a change in circumstances justifying modification of a
prior decree pursuant to division (E) of this section. The court shall make specific written findings of fact to support any modification under this division.
(3) Nothing in division (I) of this section shall prevent a court from issuing a temporary order allocating or modifying parental rights and responsibilities for the duration of the parent’s active military service. A temporary order shall specify whether the parent’s active military service is the basis of the order and shall provide for termination of the temporary order and resumption of the prior order within ten days after receipt of notice pursuant to division (I)(5) of this section, unless the other parent demonstrates that resumption of the prior order is not in the child’s best interest.
(4) At the request of a parent who is ordered for active military service in the uniformed services and who is a subject of a proceeding pertaining to a temporary order for the allocation or modification of parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall permit the parent to participate in the proceeding and present evidence by electronic means, including communication by telephone, video, or internet to the extent permitted by the rules of the Supreme Court of Ohio.
(5) A parent who is ordered for active military service in the uniformed services and who is a subject of a proceeding pertaining to the allocation or modification of parental rights and responsibilities shall provide written notice to the court, child support enforcement agency, and the other parent of the date of termination of the parent’s active military service not later than thirty days after the date on which the service ends.