It is a common assumption that courts in Ohio give preference to mothers in child custody cases. This probably stems from the past when courts did often immediately assign custody to the mother. This was based on outdated gender roles where the mother stayed home with the children to care for them while the father worked. As society has changed and many families now have two parents working, this idea of the mother as the primary caregiver does not always stand. So, the courts have adjusted their thought process and how they approach custody issues.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, the court focuses solely on what is in the best interest of the child when deciding custody. It considers both parents as equals when approaching a case. Neither parent has more weight than the other as the best parent to be the main caregiver. Just as the parental rights of the parents are the same as are the right to custody of the children.
There is an exception. If you are not married to the child’s other parent, this changes things because the father must establish paternity to have parental rights to the child. If this is your situation, then the child’s mother automatically has sole custody until you establish paternity and go in front of the court to determine custody arrangements.
So, the assumption that the mother always has the upper hand in custody cases is not accurate. If you are a father, you have just as much right to your child and to getting custody. The court will make arrangements that it feels are best for the child. This information is for education and is not legal advice.