Ohio Father Law Perspectives

Ohio Laws Affecting Married, Divorced & Unmarried Fathers

Archive for the tag “Injuries to Children”

The Top Three Legal Reasons Fathers Should Never Spank

I ask fathers right off the bat if they spank their children.  If they say yes, I tell them to knock it off.  Most accept my advice.  Whenever I write anything against spanking, I get flooded by bible quotes and stories about how a “good lickin’” never did any kid any harm.  The thought process is straightforward:  I was spanked; I turned out okay, so I’ll spank my kids.

"This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You!"

“This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You!”

Where I practice law (Ohio), spanking is legal provided that it is “proper and reasonable.”  I don’t care if it’s legal –Fathers in divorce and custody cases should never spank their children.  Here are the top three reasons why.

Courts are “Psychologicalized”

Blame it on Oprah, but psychology is a cornerstone of American culture.  Family courts have relied on the opinions of psychological experts for decades and that reliance is only increasing.  The psychological community is against spanking.  The American Academy of Pediatrics is against spanking.  Oprah and Dr. Phil are against spanking.

Even in states like Ohio where spanking is legal, fathers who spank are starting off at a disadvantage:  Ohio corporal punishment must be “proper and reasonable,” and what “proper and reasonable” means is whatever a Judge says is means on any given day.  The legal decisions on what is proper and reasonable are conflicting and confusing.  It all depends upon the circumstances, which may (or may not) include the child’s age and behavior, the place and severity of the punishment and even the child and parent’s demeanor during the punishment.  If a parent over steps, there are serious criminal and civil consequences, including domestic violence orders on behalf of the child.

shutterstock_159430676Why start having to prove that how you spank is “proper and reasonable” when you already have to overcome negative stereotypes, the stakes are high and the cost of litigation costs are higher still?  It’s just not worth it.

Men are Vulnerable

Divorce and custody cases are some of the meanest in the legal industry.  Some mothers (not all but some) will accuse the father of violence, rape and child abuse at the drop of a hat to ruin his relationship with the children or his life in general.    Fathers belong to a class of people (men) who commit most of the violent crime in this country and there is usually a family component to that violence.  Court use extreme caution in protecting children.  Men are stronger than women and will be the first suspect if any bruises or marks are found on the child.  A father who spanks, especially with a belt or paddle, will be in the horrible position of proving that his actions were reasonable and proper to the family law court, as well as also dealing with whatever additional legal cases the mother files.

I have never seen a father who regularly spanks his children end up with custody.

It’s Bad for Your Children

The scientific evidence is clear.  Spanking does not change a child’s behavior in the long-term.  Not only that, the scientific evidence is clear that children who are spanked are more prone to mental health problems and have worse relationships with the spanker.  These are facts that many parents do not want to accept.  Children whose parents are divorcing or fighting over custody are already facing many challenges.  I have never heard anybody deny this reality.  Why make it worse by sticking to an outdated, ineffective parenting method during the worst time in your child’s life?

"I'll Teach You to Hit!"

“I’ll Teach You to Hit!”

One More Thought

Some fathers really are diehards and sincerely believe that it is their duty to spank their children.  To these fathers, I say that, just while your legal case is happening, let your kids be brats and don’t spank.  Once your rights as a father are protected, you are free to use whatever discipline method that is legal in your state.

I have never had a father go back to spanking after stopping during his legal case.

Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.  Anne Catherine Harvey LLC.


Guest Blog from Slater & Zurz LLP, Akron, Ohio

Too Many Ohio Children Injured in ATV Accidents

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) nearly 100 children under the age of 16 are losing their lives each year in the United States from ATV related accidents. In most of these cases, no one has broken any laws.

Ohio is ranked 15th in the nation for ATV accidents. One third of those accidents involve children under 16.   There were 82 fatalities in Ohio from 2008 to 2011 (this time span has not been completely tallied).  Based on CPSC statistics, more than 40,000 Ohioans visit emergency rooms each year for ATV accident injuries.

Why so many ATV injuries and deaths?

Why is this happening?  Why are children who are not legally old enough to drive a car getting injured or killed using recreational vehicles?

There are many reasons, but one of the main ones is these multi-gear, high velocity vehicles are simply too much for most young children to handle.

ATVs can weigh hundreds of pounds and go as fast as 70 mph.  In some cases children are ejected from the vehicles as they attempt to control a vehicle designed for an adult.

Another reason there are so many accidents is that ATVs are often ridden on private land where there are few regulations in force.  There are no rules related to a child being a passenger on an ATV while on private property in Ohio.

Manufacturer Warning Labels

Each ATV sold is mandated to have a label indicating the manufacturer’s recommended age for its operator and a CPSC recommendation on suitable operator age.   Young children are advised not to take passengers or be a passenger on an ATV driven by someone else.

child on atv

Ohio Laws When Riding an ATV on Public Land

If riding an ATV on public land in Ohio, the rider must be 16 years old and have a driver’s license, CDL, motorcycle endorsement, or a probationary license.  The ATV must be titled and registered. Registration must be renewed every three years.

The operator and his or her passenger must wear a helmet and eye protection while riding in state forest areas.  A person who is at least 12 may operate an ATV on Department of Natural Resources land if accompanied by a parent.   No one under 16 may operate an ATV unless that person is on land owned by a parent or unless they are accompanied by an adult 18 or older.

Forty-four states have ATV safety laws, but most do not designate a specific age for operators.  In general, those familiar with ATVs agree this is not a machine for children under six years of age.

This article was written and provided by the Ohio law of Slater & Zurz LLP.  Over the last 40+ years, Slater & Zurz LLP has handled over 30,000 personal injury cases throughout Ohio and helped clients receive more than $150,000,000 in verdicts and settlements. If you have been injured in any type of accident, please contact Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or visit slaterzurz.com


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