Four Family Law Changes Every Ohioan Should Know

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2019 brought us a lot of turmoil in national politics, foreign policy, and even a new gas tax on the state level to help fix Ohio roads. But these were not the only changes affecting Ohioans. Here are four changes in Ohio family law that every Ohioan should know about.

CHILD SUPPORT, CHILD SUPPORT, CHILD SUPPORT

Many Ohioans were effected by the sweeping amendments of Ohio's child support statutes in February of 2019.

Not only was it a complete overhaul of the way Ohio courts calculate child support, but it also provided changes in the way uncovered expenses are treated, greatly increased the power of ODJFS over modification of tables and worksheets in future years, extended actions for criminal non-support of dependents, and made other major changes.

DATING RELATIONSHIP PROTECTION

In 2019, Sub. H. B. No. 1, also known as the "dating relationship protection" act, was passed which amends several provisions of the Ohio Revised Code to expand civil protection orders and victims of violence rights to include petitioners alleging violence in a dating relationship.

Specifically, the law now provides for: (i) the issuance of a domestic violence civil protection order with respect to conduct directed at a petitioner alleging violence in a dating relationship; (ii) requires that access be provided for victims of date relationship violence to domestic violence shelters for victims of violence; and (iii)requiring the Attorney General's victim's bill of rights pamphlet to include a notice that a person alleging violence in such a dating relationship has the right to petition for a domestic violence civil protection order.

MARSY'S LAW & VICTIMS RIGHTS

The Ohio Constitution was also amended so as to elevate victims of crime to the status of a protected class ensuring the rights of crime victims to notice of hearings, to be heard during arraignment, plea, and release hearings, as well as notification of other rights and assistance.

NATIONAL SEX OFFENDER DATABASE

The United States Department of Justice maintains a public website which includes a searchable database of designated sex offenders throughout the United States. In 2019, ORC 3107.035 was amended to require that any agency or private attorney who arranges the adoption of a child in Ohio conduct a search of the database regarding the prospective adoptive parent and all persons eighteen years of age or older who reside with the prospective adoptive parent.

The database search must be completed at the time of the petition is filed and every two years thereafter, at the time of the initial home study, and at the time of any updated home study, until it becomes part of a final decree of adoption or an interlocutory order of adoption. Further, the statute was updated to provide that a probate court can deny a petition for adoption based solely on the results of the database search.

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