Understandably, child custody is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce involving kids. Care must be taken to create a custody plan that provides ample parenting time to both parents, and safeguards the best interests of the child.
Understanding Legal And Physical Custody
Technically, Ohio has removed the term “custody” and instead “allocates parental rights and responsibilities for the care of children.” Here’s what you need to know about Ohio law and child custody:
- Decision-making rights – Called legal custody in other states, this refers to which parent has the right to make decisions about schooling, religion, and how the child is raised. Sole decision-making rights can be granted to one parent, or these rights may be shared by both parents to an extent.
- Parenting time – Called physical custody in other states, this refers to the rights of each parent to spend time with and parent their child. Shared parenting plans allow the child to live with both parents for a roughly equal period of time.
Exclusive parenting plans, on the other hand, allocate the majority of living time to one parent. The parent with whom the child primarily lives is called the “residential parent.” The other parent is known as the “noncustodial parent.”
Determining Custody And What’s Best For The Child
Custody is determined in Ohio based on the child’s needs, not the parent’s wishes. The judge will take a lot of different circumstances and factors into account to make a “best interests determination” for the child, such as:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The child’s interactions with parents and any siblings
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- Mental, financial, and emotional stability of each parent
- The child’s ties to their current home and/or community
Custody & Visitation (Parenting Time)
Even if there is no shared parenting plan in place and one parent has sole parental rights, the other parent has the legal right to visit and parent their child. This is known as “visitation.”
Unless the well-being or safety of the child would be put at risk, the noncustodial parent is usually entitled to one weeknight visit during the week, and visits every other weekend. More visitation may be awarded by the court.
If the case involves substance abuse, domestic violence, or other concerns, the noncustodial parent may be required to conduct their visitation under the supervision of an agency or third party. Even in these cases, visitation usually will not be cut off completely by the court.
Get Help From An Experienced Warren Child Custody Attorney
At Hunt Law, we’re always ready to help you with issues related to child custody or visitation. Whether you are seeking sole custody during a divorce, joint custody, or simply want to make sure your visitation rights are protected, Adam Hunt and our team of attorneys in Trumbull County, OH are here to help. Contact us now to schedule a consultation, and get the experienced representation you need.