Friday, February 28, 2014

Access to A Child’s Records After Divorce

Except when a court specifically denies a parent access to particular records through a court order, both parents have access to “any record, document, file or other material containing information directly related to a child.”  This applies to any kind of parenting arrangement – shared parenting or otherwise, even if the non-residential parent sees his or her child on an extremely limited basis.

A parent’s “right of access” to their child’s records applies to both public and private entities that are obligated to give the parent access, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist’s offices, psychologists, schools, school counselors, child care facilities/day care centers, and even most state agencies.

Unless the entity has been presented with a court order that states a parent does not have the right to access to the child’s records, the entity is required by law to give both parents the exact same access to their child’s records. 

The most frequent incidence of a parent requesting access to their child’s records is in the case of academic records and report cards.  The Ohio “records access law” applies to both public and non-public schools.  A school cannot restrict a parent’s right to access most records of their child; only a court can do so.  When considering whether to restrict a parent’s access to their child’s records, a court must make a specific finding as to why a parent’s right of access should be limited and the circumstances under which the parent can obtain access stating with specificity the reasons and the restrictions.  Only with a copy of that court order can a school, doctor’s office, or other entity legally restrict a parent’s access to any of their child’s records.

For more information on this topic or assistance with any of your Family Law issues contact Joseph Stafford at 216-241-1074, or e-mail

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