By Robert L. Mues   |   January 12th, 2013

New Parenting Time and Child Support Project in Ohio To Increase Time A Child Spends With Both Parents, Even If They Are Divorced or Separated

parenting timeI have been practicing family law for 34 years. In my opinion the process by which the State of Ohio has gone about establishing child support orders in Juvenile Court without including any parenting or visitation provisions was patently unfair to fathers. I appreciate that taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder the burdens of paying welfare or other assistance for children when it is the joint legal responsibility for their mothers and fathers to do so. But is it fair to establish a child support obligation and not include any reciprocal provision for the fathers to have the right to visit their child(ren)? It is no wonder that there are so many uninvolved fathers out there. Psychologists will tell you that a child who has had both parents involved in his/her upbringing stands a much better chance to become a stable healthy adult. That is why I am very excited about this new, long overdue Ohio project!

Ohio’s New PTOC12 Project

This new statewide project in Ohio will try to increase the time a child spends with both parents, even if they are divorced or separated. Fairfield County Job and Family Services is leading the four-year $400,000 initiative and Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) will participate. The four-year project will involve 12 Ohio counties and include a number of family support agencies, judicial officials, and policy experts involved in parenting time issues, plus involvement from Ohio University. The initiative is titled “Parenting Time Opportunities for Children to the 12th Power,” or PTOC12. The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was approved October 2, 2012.

Randy Leite, Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions and a professor of child and family studies, is overseeing Ohio University’s role in the project.  The role of fatherhood among unmarried fathers is of particular interest. Leite and students will help measure whether the PTOC12 project achieves its goals. Measurements are likely to include factors such as the number of parenting time orders established, the financial costs of these cases, and the rates of child support payments associated with the orders that are established.

Parenting Time Orders Established In PTOC12 Project

The PTOC12 project hopes to create a “best practices” process for establishing parenting time orders. In its first stage, the project will determine what steps are needed, including possible legal or procedural changes, to ensure that court orders for parenting time for non-custodial parents are established at the same time as orders for paying child support. Parenting time and child support orders are typically not prepared at the same time now, especially if the parties were never married.

The project aligns with Leite’s goal of having CHSP establish an Institute for Fathers and Families in partnership with the Ohio Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families. He envisions an institute that improves the well-being of children and families by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible fathers. The institute would work toward that overall goal by conducting independent research designed to shape policies and programs.

By arranging for both child support and parenting time simultaneously, Leite thinks families will maximize shared parenting time. He also expects child support payments will be more consistent.

In addition to Fairfield County, the 11 other Ohio counties participating in the PTOC12 project are Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Knox, Licking, Monroe, Pickaway, Stark, Summit, Union and Wayne. Similar projects have been funded in Indiana, California, Florida and Oregon.

Read More About The Parenting Time and Child Support POTC12 Project

It is nice to finally see a heightened focus on both children and fathers’ rights. Click here to read the actual full grant proposal and learn more about the specific description of the POTC12 project.  Randy Leite kindly provided it to me. This is the only place online that I think you will find it! Please send me an email if you have an interest in reading all the additional letters of support for the initiative.

Source: Parenting Time – Ohio Project Aims For More Time For Split Families.

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Robert L. MuesAbout The Author: Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.

Parenting Time and Child Support In Ohio, The New Initiative
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