Child Custody and Parenting Time
Among the most challenging issues to resolve during a divorce or dissolution are the questions of child custody and parenting plans. When pursuing resolutions to these issues, whether through amicable negotiation or more assertive litigation tactics, the guidance of an experienced family law attorney can be invaluable in helping you create the most healthy and effective arrangements possible. When determining the allocation of parental rights of your child, there are two options: shared parenting or sole custody. A review of what are called the “best interest factors” is also used to determine what custodial arrangement would best suit your children’s needs.
Shared Parenting vs. Sole Custody in Ohio
In a shared parenting arrangement, you and your spouse will discuss issues about your children and attempt to reach an agreement prior to any decision being reached. These decisions mostly focus on the educational decisions, major medical decisions, extracurricular activities and/or the religious upbringing of your children.
In a sole custody arrangement, one parent may make all major decisions with regard to your children depending on who has sole custody. Again, it is important to understand that the Ohio Courts predominantly favor a shared parenting arrangement. Therefore, if you choose to move forward in obtaining sole custody, it will be your burden to show the court that you and your spouse cannot co-parent; this is a hard burden to prove.
Part of the final custody arrangement usually designates a parent as a residential parent for school placement purposes. Your children will attend the school district that corresponds to the parent that is chosen as the residential parent.
Parenting Agreements and Visitation Schedules
The most important part of a parenting plan, also referred to as a parenting agreement, is the parenting time schedule. It is truly in the child’s best interest that you and your spouse make every effort to come up with a schedule that suits the needs of your child and makes sense with your work schedules. There are many different parenting schedules and discussing these options with your family law attorney is important.
Paternity and Fathers' Parental Rights in Ohio
In Ohio, an unmarried mother has sole legal custody of a child born outside of marriage. A father has no legal relationship to the child until a petition is filed with the court for an order establishing a father-child relationship and an order regarding parenting time. Further, a DNA test can be ordered by the Court to determine the identity of the biological father.
The attorneys at The Nickolls Law Firm will carefully examine your situation and strive to help you create realistic goals, expectations and understand the stance a judge may take on your position. By helping you create such realistic goals, we may be able to help you avoid unnecessary expense and time spent seeking resolutions that may not be attainable. In an effort to help you make the most effective decisions possible throughout your proceedings for you and your family, we take great care to explain the differences between shared parenting and custody.