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Columbus, Ohio Child Custody Attorneys
Family Law • Parenting Plans • Child Support • Legal Guardian Rights • Non-Custodial Parent Rights
When courts in Ohio determine both child custody and child support, there are many factors that weigh into the judge’s or magistrate’s decision. The root principle, however, is determining what is in the child’s (or children’s) best interests. Unless there is a risk of harm to the child, the child should have access to both parents – it’s better for the child’s development and the parents should be involved as much as possible to the extent that they are able.
If you are involved in or contemplating child custody proceedings for the first time, whether in a divorce action or not, or a proceeding to modify a prior custody order, don’t put off contacting White & Fish any longer. We are a high-tech law office and with over 65 years of combined experience. Our firm has been awarded an AV-Rating* by our peers through Martindale-Hubbell.
The family law attorneys of White & Fish, L.P.A., Inc., can represent you to help make sure that your rights are respected and that you don’t lose your involvement in the lives of your children. We can also help you reach a negotiated solution through collaborative divorce.
Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Determining the Children’s Best Interest
While the child’s best interest is the court’s highest priority, it’s not always easy to determine exactly what that is. There are several factors the court must consider in making its determination. Those factors include: the parents’ wishes, and maybe the wishes of the child; the child’s interaction and relationship with the parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and anybody who is in contact with the child on a regular basis; the mental and physical health of the child and parents; the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community, education; which parent is more likely to honor and facilitate a parenting time or visitation order; and, the parents’ record of paying child support.
There are other issues that also must be considered in the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, including whether a parent will have sole custody or whether the parents will have shared parenting, what parenting time (or visitation) is appropriate between the child and parents, the appropriate amount of child support, which parent is to provide health insurance for the child, and how the parents may claim the child for tax purposes. And because these arrangements are based on circumstances that will likely change, such as parents’ incomes, locations, mental health, remarriage, etc., before a child becomes emancipated, it is likely that a parent will have to file for a post-decree modification of the arrangement.
Sole Custody or Shared Parenting
The primary difference between one parent being designated as the sole legal custodian and residential parent, and a shared parenting arrangement is the decision making authority as it relates to the child or children. Sole custody establishes one parent as the primary legal custodian and residential parent and legal decision making authority for a child lies with that parent.
A shared parenting arrangement requires the parents communicate and cooperate in making major decisions for the child or children. The major issues affecting the children’s lives include their health, welfare, education, religion and activities. However, shared parenting does not mean that the children must spend an equal amount of time with each parent (sometimes referred to as visitation, known in Ohio as “parenting time”), and appropriate parenting time, as well as the other issues discussed here, have to be determined.
It is important to protect your rights as a parent, and to obtain the advice of an experienced family law attorney Jeffrey Fish has more than 18 years experience helping parents determine what may be in their children’s best interests. Contact the lawyers at White & Fish to arrange an appointment to discuss your situatio, and preserve your rights.
Allocation of Parenting Time
White & Fish, L.P.A. Inc., practices law in counties throughout Central Ohio including Franklin, Delaware, Union, Licking, Knox, Fairfield, Pickaway, Madison, & Muskingum Counties. Each county has their own standards of practice and local rules relating to parenting time with the children (often referred to as visitation).
For example, in Franklin County (Domestic Relations Rule 27) the standard guideline for parenting time for a non-custodial or non-residential parent is every other weekend, and every Wednesday evening (or another weekday evening) for 3 hours, as well as alternating the holidays and breaks from school. Many couples find that the Rule 27 guidelines simply won’t work for them, especially if they have an odd or regularly changing work schedule. Some examples of people that have non-standard work schedules include:
- Police and Law Enforcement Professionals
- Fire Fighters, Paramedics and Emergency Personnel
- Medical Staff
- Sanitary Engineers and Janitorial Staff
- Jobs Involving Varying or Revolving Schedules
- Jobs Requiring an Employee to be “On Call”
Many other issues can complicate existing child custody agreements including job transfers, relocation to different cities or states, and the needed interstate arrangements. We are well-versed in the Interstate Child Custody Act and we are experienced in drafting modification petitions when circumstances change. To learn more about your rights and the child custody process contact White & Fish today.