Custody and Parenting Issues

As an Ohio family law attorney, Rick Marks assists in court proceedings relating to custody and parenting issues in Portage and Summit Counties. For more than 25 years, Rick has dedicated his practice solely to family law. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of domestic relations law, he provides clients with highly effective counsel and compassionate support.

Experience and Practice Approach

In 1995, Rick Marks and Beth Chandler-Marks established Marks & Chandler Co., L.P.A. as a husband-and-wife law firm with a practice focused exclusively on family law. After Beth transitioned her practice to education law, Rick continued Marks & Chandler as a solo practice law firm, which it remains today.

By concentrating only on family law, Rick maintains an exceptional level of knowledge of the Ohio statutes and case law applicable to his practice. Limiting the scope of his practice also enables Rick to devote his full time and attention to helping and supporting his family law clients.

Rick recognizes that issues relating to custody and parenting are different from many other legal matters, because they involve concerns about children and family at the very center of your life. He also knows that the potential impact of the court proceedings makes them extremely difficult, emotional, and stressful for you to navigate.

Rick’s compassionate approach includes close communication with you throughout the entire process. He provides legal and moral support to minimize the stress of the situation and to help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family, both short-term and long-term. You can always reach Rick to ask questions or address concerns, including evenings and weekends.

The success of Rick’s approach to practice is demonstrated by the fact many of his clients come through referrals from former clients and other attorneys.

Ohio Custody and Parenting Laws

If you are ending a marriage or addressing custody of a child born outside marriage, Ohio has very complex and specific laws and standards for determining court-ordered custody and parenting time arrangements. The state recognizes two types of custodial arrangements: shared parenting and sole custody. In shared parenting, both parents have the same legal rights to make final decisions for a child, including schooling, activities, religious upbringing, medical care, and other matters affecting the welfare and care of the child. In a sole custody arrangement, only one parent has the legal right to make decisions concerning the child.

Ohio courts determine the outcome of custody and parenting issues by focusing on the “best interests of the child.” Many factors are part of the court’s considerations and final conclusions, including:

  • The wishes of each parent
  • The wishes of the child, if the court determines that the child has sufficient reasoning ability to express their wishes and concerns
  • The child’s comfort in each parent’s home, community, and school
  • How well the parents communicate on issues affecting the child
  • Each parent’s ability to encourage the child to interact with and love the other parent
  • The mental and physical health of each parent and the child
  • Whether either parent is planning to move out of the state
  • The recommendation of the guardian ad litem in the case

State law provides that both parents have equality of parental rights and responsibilities for care and custody of a child. Many courts start from the presumption that shared parenting is best for the child, especially if both parents made major decisions before divorce or custody proceedings. But the court ultimately determines issues according to what is in the child’s best interest, based on the evidence presented in the proceeding.

In addition to determining custody, the court also determines parenting time for both parents. Either or both parents may present a parenting plan to the court to suggest a parenting time arrangement for the court’s consideration. The court reviews the suggested plan and may require changes to accommodate the best interests of the child. In the absence of an acceptable plan from a parent, the court sets the parenting time arrangement for the child. Most Ohio courts have model visitation or companionship schedules that suggest a parenting time arrangement. But it is always best for parents to tailor the schedule to their own child’s and family’s needs.

Navigating Custody and Parenting Issues and Proceedings

Whenever possible, parents should negotiate an agreement on custody and parenting time, to avoid the time and cost of court proceedings that provide an unpredictable and potentially unsatisfactory result. While you may not think agreement is possible, an experienced family law attorney may be able help you obtain an agreement with the other parent. To get the best possible outcome, you need a strong advocate who also provides you with support during the process.

With his extensive experience, exclusive focus on family law, and in-depth knowledge of custody law, Rick Marks has the right legal and strategic skills necessary to provide effective advice and representation in any matter involving custody or parenting. Rick works with you to resolve the issues you face, while providing compassionate support throughout the process.

From the beginning, Rick explains the Ohio laws that apply to custody and parenting matters, to make sure that you understand your legal rights. That knowledge provides you with a solid foundation for making fully informed decisions on the critical issues that must be resolved in the case.

Rick stays by your side to provide advice and to support you through every step of the process. He is always available to answer your questions or address concerns. His on-going communication and sensitive approach minimize the anxiety and emotional stress that naturally accompany addressing legal matters involving your children and family.

At the same time, Rick provides vigorous, effective representation as your advocate in negotiations with the other parent’s counsel and in the proceedings that are part of the process of securing court approval of a custody and parenting agreement. He works hard on your behalf to solve problems and find resolutions for issues. He protects your interests to the full extent necessary in order to achieve a result that is fair and reasonable. If an acceptable resolution does not come through negotiation, Rick represents you aggressively at trial, providing the court with detailed evidence and legal arguments to support your position.

Schedule a Consultation

To talk with Rick Marks about custody and parenting issues, or any other family law matter, please call (330) 677-9000 or use the online contact form. From his office in Kent, Rick assists clients in Portage County and Summit County.