There is a common misconception that mothers have preference over fathers in custody determinations. While historically that may have been true, Ohio law does not give a preference to either mothers or fathers in deciding child custody. Instead, the focus is on the best interests of the child — which may ultimately mean that a father has primary custody instead of a mother.

Facing Custody Issues as a Father

Paul Panico has practiced in the field of Ohio family law for nearly thirty years.  As a divorced father himself, he understands the challenges of custody issues — and he has the skill and knowledge to achieve results his clients want and need. Paul looks for creative solutions to legal problems, which may include enforcing your rights as a father in court or reaching an agreement with the mother of your child. No matter how your case is ultimately resolved, Paul will advocate for your right to parent your children.

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Law on Child Custody

In Ohio, both mothers and fathers are on equal footing when it comes to deciding who gets custody of the children. A court must focus instead on the best interests of the child, considering a wide variety of relevant factors to come to a decision.  

In the past, mothers were often awarded primary physical custody of children in a divorce because they often did not work and were the children’s caretakers. However, now more than ever before, both parents work and equally share the duties of raising and caring for children. The law reflects this reality, as both Ohio statutes and court decisions have found that no preference should automatically be given to either mothers or fathers in child custody determinations. Courts now take a more progressive approach that takes into account the reality of modern families. They should not presume that either parent will automatically be a better parent.

Many fathers are under the mistaken impression that they do not have a chance of winning a child custody case, and resign themselves to seeing their children occasionally and paying child support. Paul Panico can help fathers who want primary or shared custody of their children. Our goal is to make sure that our clients are treated fairly and given equal consideration in family law matters. We will evaluate your specific situation to determine how a court might rule on child custody, taking into account all of the factors that a court might consider, such as the preference of the child if he or she old enough to weigh in, the child’s interactions with each parent, siblings and other family members in his or her life, the child’s adjustment to his home, school and community, the mental and physical health of all parties and whether either of the parents lives out of state. Based on this assessment, we will give you a realistic opinion on the likelihood that you will win either primary or shared physical and legal custody, and give you options to achieve your desired outcome.  We can explore alternatives to litigation, such as coming to an amicable agreement with your ex, to achieve your parenting goals. If necessary, Paul will aggressively litigate your case to defend your rights as a parent.


Fathers’ Rights Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

Paul Panico understands the unique challenges of obtaining custody as a single father. He offers skilled, compassionate legal representation to fathers who are seeking primary or shared custody of their children or to enforce current custody or visitation plans. If you need assistance with a custody issue, Paul has the experience and knowledge to help you get the best possible result and preserve your rights as a father. Contact our office today to learn how we can assist you with your child custody case.