State Representative Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) has announced that House Bill 121 today passed from the Ohio House of Representatives with a unanimous vote of 96-0. This legislation would ensure that an existing custody order for the child of a parent actively serving in the military cannot be altered on the solely because of that parent’s military service.

“The passage of this legislation shows that the Ohio House believes the best interests of a service member’s child should be paramount when it comes to deciding custody arrangements,” Rep. Rosenberger said. “A parent’s absence because of military service should never be the sole criteria for a loss of custody or diminished visitation rights.”

House Bill 121 prohibits a court from finding that past, present or possible future active military service justifies the modification of an existing custody order. It also requires that a service member seeking a temporary parenting time order notifies the child’s other parent and applies to the court as soon as reasonably possible with the date that the active service starts.

“Under current law, a court is specifically allowed to determine child custody agreements based on a parent’s active military service, and this shouldn’t be the case,” Rep. Rosenberger said. “Having served in the Air National Guard, I firmly believe that the men and women protecting this country should no longer be penalized for answering the call to serve.”

Under the legislation, the temporary custody order based on a parent’s active military service will be terminated within 10 days of notice that the active military service has ended. While serving, the court may grant a parent on active service a temporary order that allows for a relative or other person who has a substantial relationship with the child to take over that parent’s visitation rights.

House Bill 121 will now move to the Ohio Senate for further debate and consideration.


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