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  1. #1

    Default What Constitutes Child Abandonment in Ohio

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Ohio

    My lawyer told me there is no such thing as "child abandonment" in the state of Ohio, but I found this:

    Chapter 5101:2-1 Children Services Definition of Terms
    5101:2-1-01 [Effective until 8/1/2013] Children services definitions of terms.
    (A) This rule contains the definitions of terms used in Chapters 5101:2-5, 5101:2-7, 5101:2-9, 5101:2-33, 5101:2-35, 5101:2-36, 5101:2-39, 5101:2-40, 5101:2-42, 5101:2-44, 5101:2-47, 5101:2-48, 5101:2-49, 5101:2-52 and 5101:2-57 of the Administrative Code.

    (B) Definitions.

    (1) "Abandoned child", pursuant to section 2151.011 of the Revised Code, means a child who is presumed abandoned when the parents of the child have failed to visit or maintain contact with the child for more than ninety days, regardless of whether the parents resume contact with the child after that period of ninety days.

    My ex hasn't seen our son for 6 months. He sent one text on Father's Day asking to see/talk to him. Nothing before that for months, and nothing since. The girl he was living with got evicted, and there was a rumor he moved 3 hours away, and the CS enforcement agency confirmed that he moved "out of town." That was the last they heard and are waiting to confirm if they have a valid address on file for him. There was a rumor he moved back. I have no idea where he lives, and he dropped contact.

    Would this be considered abandonment? Does this law I found apply, or is my lawyer correct? Although he dropped contact of his own accord, I guarantee his erratic behavior will inspire him to take me back to court to reinforce his limited visitation. Would they order my son to go over there after not seeing him for over half a year - probably more by the time we would actually make it to court? Wouldn't they have to make sure the new living conditions are safe? Would we be able to order less time, or no visitation? Or push for waiving his rights so my husband can adopt my son?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Constitutes Child Abandonment in Ohio

    You appear to be asking about a child custody issue, see Title 31 of the Ohio Code, Family Relations, but you're pulling a definition out of the Juvenile Code (Title 21).

  3. #3

    Default Re: What Constitutes Child Abandonment in Ohio

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    You appear to be asking about a child custody issue, see Title 31 of the Ohio Code, Family Relations, but you're pulling a definition out of the Juvenile Code (Title 21).
    So the definition doesn't apply because it's the Juvenile Code and not directly from the Ohio Code? My BD could disappear for years, come back demanding visitation and still receive it?

  4. #4

    Default Re: What Constitutes Child Abandonment in Ohio

    Although he dropped contact of his own accord, I guarantee his erratic behavior will inspire him to take me back to court to reinforce his limited visitation.
    That often happens when the CP starts taking steps to make that absence an "official" one. But generally speakingm courts want to give a parent every possible opportunity to build a relationship with their children, even after extended absence, unless there is substantial reason for the court to interfere with that possibility.


    Would they order my son to go over there after not seeing him for over half a year - probably more by the time we would actually make it to court?
    You could certainly request that in light of extended time away from each other that the court modify any existing custody order to include supervised visitation or an "easing in" period. The age of the child and the length of separation would be the big factors here.


    Wouldn't they have to make sure the new living conditions are safe?
    Not unless you've got some sort of evidence that they're not. Courts presume that parents can keep their children safe.


    Would we be able to order less time, or no visitation?
    If dad seeks visitation, you can expect him to get SOME level of it, unless you can prove to the court that ANY visitation is not in the child's best interest (HUGE hurdle). The court may impose a period of "getting to know each other" time, but if dad is willing to put in the time and effort, it's reasonable to expect that he'd end up with standard visitation, again, unless contra-indicated for some reason.


    Or push for waiving his rights so my husband can adopt my son?
    If dad WANTS to give up rights, that's one thing and makes adoption much easier. If dad wants to attempt to integrate himself back with the child, that becomes a whole different ballgame and a much bigger burden of proof that such adoption would be in the child's best interest.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: What Constitutes Child Abandonment in Ohio

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond in detail.

    The bio dad is the one who keeps walking out, doesn't pay support, my son has been injured in his care, and there are signs of parental alienation going on. He was given less than standard visitation - instead of every other weekend fri-sunday and 1 week night every week, he only gets every other half day saturday - sunday. The only holiday he gets is a few hours on Christmas Eve. I'm currently waiting to find out if the legal department at the CS enforcement agency is going to do anything about his non support and if he'll be in trouble. I've been told that getting the courts to agree to transfer rights from bio to a step parent for adoption is virtually impossible, but I think if he is looking at getting in trouble for non payment, he might be willing to give up his rights.

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