In many divorces, child custody can be a major concern for
one or both parents. Here are a few things you should know.
Under Ohio law, both parents stand on equal footing when custody is being decided. In Ohio, there are two options for custody, or the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities as it is known under Ohio law. The first option is the designation of one parent as the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the children. The second option is the designation of both parents as residential parents and legal custodians of the children in a shared parenting plan.
For either sole custody or shared parenting, among other issues, there has to be a determination of:
- a parenting time schedule for both parents and the children
- the amount of child support under Ohio’s child support guidelines and whether a deviation from those guidelines is appropriate
- the designation of the parent who will maintain health insurance for the benefit of the children
- the responsibility of the parents for the heath care expenses for the children that are not covered by insurance
- which parent may claim the children for income tax purposes
The main difference between custody and shared parenting is decision making for the children. Shared parenting requires communication between the parents to make decisions together, such as education, healthcare and religion. However, if a parent is the sole residential parent and legal custodian, he or she may make decisions for the children without input from the other parent.
Between the two options, courts typically favor shared parenting. Regardless of how parental rights may be designated, both parents should keep in mind that being involved in their children’s lives is what is most important. Parents should keep their children out of the discussion and focus on their kids’ best interests.
Child custody can be an emotional and challenging process. For more information, please contact Buck & Fish Ltd.