Can my husband get custody of our kids ifI already have full custody of them?

Bback in 2009 our kids were temporarily removed by CPS; the court said that we had to do some classes and stuff to get them back. Well I completed everything that I was supposed to but he didn’t. So the court awarded me full custody and said that the only way he could see the children was through supervised visits. He does pay child support. We are working on getting a divorce and I’m scared that he might now get custody of them.

Asked on March 20, 2011 under Family Law, Ohio


Denise Ferguson / Denise Ferguson Attorney At Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I agree with the above answer however there are a few things you need to understand about your case. Custody will NOT be determined in the divorce action. If you had a case plan and the children were removed by CPS that case was in juvenile court. Juvenile court retains jurisdiction of custody matters in the state of Ohio. Your divorce case will procede but should not involve the children as the family or domestic relations court does not have jurisdiction over the matter of custody.

Your husband would have to file in juvenile court for custody or to alter the visitation. Then it would need to be shown that a substantial change in circumstance in the life of the children OR of the primary custodian (you) had taken place before a best interests determination would take place.

Your attorney should be familiar with the above facts and be able to assure you that the divorce will handle only the distribution of assets and debts as well as dissolving the marriage and possibly changing your last name.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Custody is based on the child's or children's best interests. Presumably, if you've already been awarded full custody and your husband's contact with the children was limited to supermised visits, there's already been a determination that your custody is better for your children. Unless something has changed fairly drastically--e..g you've been investigated for or convicted of child abuse; you have drug convictions; etc.--it is very unlikely that a court would overturn that determination (though it's not unlikely, that if your husband can show that he's a better father, that he might be able to get more visitation rights or not have to have his visits be supervised). That said, if you're working on a divorce, you should have a lawyer representing you, who will be able to get you the best distribution of assets and support possibly and also look out for your interests vis-a-vis child custody.

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