When you decide to get a divorce, there are many things you have to consider as you and your spouse separate your lives from each other. If you have children, there are even more things you have to deal with, such as who the child will live with and how to divide or share decision-making responsibilities. Divorcing with children is not easy, but it does not have to be overly complicated and difficult. If you have the help of an experienced divorce attorney, many of your child custody issues can be dealt with as well.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Like many states, Ohio no longer uses the term “custody.” Instead, Ohio determines what rights and responsibilities each parent will have in regard to the child. There are two types of parenting arrangements that Ohio courts usually assign:
- Shared parenting, meaning both parents have parenting rights and responsibilities; or
- One parent is awarded residential and legal custody.
Ohio courts recognize that the best possible parenting arrangement is one in which both parents are actively involved. In certain cases, both parents having rights and responsibilities is not in the best interests of the child, which is when one parent is awarded parenting responsibilities.
Best Interests of the Child
In a proceeding involving the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the best interests of the child are always taken into account. According to Ohio law, the factors that are taken into consideration when making a determination on the child’s best interests include:
- The wishes of the child’s parents;
- The child’s wishes and concerns;
- The interaction and relationships between the child and his or her parents, siblings, and other relevant people;
- The child’s adjustment to his or her school, home, and community;
- The physical and mental health of everyone involved in the decision;
- Which parent is more likely to honor court-approved visitation and parenting time agreements;
- Whether a parent has failed to make child support payments;
- Whether either parent or any member of the household has been convicted of certain crimes;
- Whether either of the parents has denied the other parent their parenting or visitation time; and
- The plans of either parent in establishing a residence outside of Ohio.
Determinations About Shared Parenting Plans
In addition to the factors considered when making a determination regarding the allocation of parenting rights and responsibilities, the courts also factor in certain things when deciding whether or not a shared parenting arrangement is in the best interest of the child. These factors include:
- The ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and share in making decisions about the child;
- The willingness of each parent to encourage contact, love, and affection between the child and the other parent;
- Any history of domestic violence, child or spousal abuse, or parental kidnapping by either parent;
- The geographical proximity of each parent to the other and the practicality of a shared parenting plan; and
- The recommendations made by the child’s guardian ad litem, if one has been appointed.
Get Help From a Brunswick Divorce Lawyer
Going through a divorce can mean many changes to your life, including changes to how you and your spouse will parent your child. If you are in the midst of the divorce process and are trying to determine who will have which parenting rights and responsibilities, you need the help of a Wooster child custody attorney. Contact Erb Legal LLC to begin discussing details of your case. Call to set up a free consultation.