Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
“My husband has 3 sons. The oldest is 18 he lives with us. The youngest two are ages 14 and 9 live with their biological mother. The oldest son I will call him Greg, just turned 18. Ot his 18th birthday his biological mother threw a party at her home for him. All the boys were present. Also about 15 adults. The adults were all drinking liquor and smoking pot. Greg brought photos back home to us. It is clear in one photo the pot pipe being passed around. Greg admitted that he was drinking with his biological mom and that she gave drinks to the 14 year old son as well.
We have been told by childrens services that it is not illegal for a parent to give alcohol to their child. We plan on showing the photos to childrens services now that we have enlarged them to make it clear. They took it the 14 year old drinking lightly and we may consider trying to do something through the courts instead. Greg said that the marijuana was offered to him to but he refused it. He said that he would be willing to tell all to a judge if we end up in court over this. Could you please tell me where I can read more about the laws in ohio that protect children from living in an atmosphere like that? We want them to come live with us where there is no substance abuse. Or any other advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank You”Ohio uses a best interests of the children standard in any initial or subsequent determination of custody and visitaiton. Ohio revised Code, Title XXXI, Section 3109.04(B)1. Here’s the factors the court uses to make this determination: (a) The wishes of the child’s parents regarding the child’s care; (b) the child’s wishes and concerns as to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities concerning the child, the wishes and concerns of the child, as expressed to the court; (c) The child’s interaction and interrelationship with the child’s parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest; (d) The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community; (e) The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation; (f) The parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights; (g) Whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments, including all arrearages, that are required of that parent pursuant to a child support order under which that parent is an obligor; (h) Whether either parent previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act that resulted in a child being an abused child or a neglected child; (i) Whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent’s right to parenting time in accordance with an order of the court; (j) Whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state.
Question: Under the facts you give, you may have an argument based on neglect or mental health as reasons to justify the modification of visitation. I would be wary about using the recently of age child as the primary witness in the case – ostensibly pitting him against his mother in Court. Even older kids are damaged by being put in the middle, so be careful. Also, before embarking down the road of pointing the “neglect” or “bad person” finger, make sure not only that you are right but also that it’s worth the years, thousands of dollars and strain to your children that it will likely take to bring your case to resolution.