Divorce doesn’t just affect couples. It affects a whole family, including the kids. When the custody of a child is at stake, emotions can run high, and conversations might become hectic. The lawyers at The VanNoy Firm practice family and divorce law. Regarding questions about child custody issues, we are the experts in the Dayton, Ohio area.
There are two types of custody in Ohio:
Sole custody is the legal phrase used when one parent is identified as the child’s primary residential parent and legal custodian. Shared parenting is when both parents have decision-making authority for the child, and parenting time is assigned by an agreement reached by both parties and approved by the court.
Courts have a wide degree of discretion when deciding child custody issues. The standard order is typically just a starting point for the court, identifying the children’s primary residential parent and legal custodian. Typically, this custody order gives the non-residential parent time with the kids every other weekend and a few hours once or twice every week. This schedule is very common, but your actual visitation schedule will be based on your family’s lifestyle.
In this typical custody order, the custodial parent will have the decision-making authority for the children. This is the core of sole custody: only one parent is responsible for making the major choices. It does not mean the other parent won’t be given parenting time with the kids. Still, significant decisions regarding schools, church, extra-curricular activities, and the like will rest with the custodial parent.
If the parents desire to create a shared parenting plan, they must demonstrate to the court that they’re willing and able to interact with the other to facilitate shared parenting. Incessant fighting, criticizing the other parent in front of the child, and an inflexible attitude will not help persuade the court that shared parenting is the most suitable choice for the children. At the end of the day, that’s the court’s biggest priority: determining what is best for the child. Parents’ rights do not exceed the child’s best interests.
It’s important to remember that shared parenting does not mean each parent will have equal time with the children. In reality, parenting plans granting equal parenting time are not very common. Shared parenting involves sharing the responsibility for making choices that involve the kids, not how much time each parent spends with the kids.
The court will evaluate the family’s current circumstances when determining what is in the best interest of the children. Factors that the court will consider are:
If the parents can form a shared parenting plan, the court will examine it, but the court can’t award shared parenting in a trial if a plan was not submitted. They will have to select one parent to be the residential and custodial parent, but they will also try to keep both parents as involved as possible in the child’s life, barring any valid reasons not to.
The custody lawyers at The VanNoy Firm can help answer some of your questions about child custody at a consultation. We know how the Dayton area courts view specific custody problems, and we can help you understand what your choices might be going in. Contact us regarding your situation and let us help.
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