Dissolving a marriage is often a complex and emotional process. While this is the case for all couples, it tends to be especially true for those with children, who must not only grapple with difficult issues, such as child support and dividing parenting time but are also tasked with helping their children adapt to post-divorce life. Bearing these burdens can be next to impossible when one spouse is unable or unwilling to negotiate, especially if neither party is represented by an attorney, so if you are thinking about filing for divorce and want to ensure that it goes as smoothly and as quickly as possible, it is critical to contact an experienced Canton child custody lawyer who is well-versed in Ohio law and can offer you sound legal advice.
There are two parts to custody arrangements, which are known as physical and legal custody. The former refers to the physical time that a parent spends with the child, while the latter refers to the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, and religion. Ohio courts generally presume that a schedule in which parenting time and responsibilities are shared equally is in a child’s best interests. This is, however, not the only option available when it comes to custody matters. For instance, if a judge determines that dividing parenting time and decision-making responsibility would not be in a child’s best interests, he or she could award sole custody to one party who would be named the child’s legal custodian and residential parent. The non-residential parent will then be awarded visitation and be required to pay child support.
In cases in which a child’s parents were never married, state law automatically designates the mother as the child’s legal custodian. However, courts are willing to change these arrangements to reflect a more equal division of parental rights and obligations.
When divorcing parents are unable to come up with an acceptable out-of-court agreement regarding child custody, a family law court will be required to step in and establish an arrangement that is in the child’s best interests. Deciding what type of arrangement best suits this standard requires an analysis of a series of factors, including:
Once these factors have been assessed, the court will allocate parental rights and obligations, including parenting time, visitation, and child support. The only time that this type of order can be modified is when a substantial change in circumstances has occurred and modification would be in the child’s best interests.
Please contact Fout Law at 330-437-7455 today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Canton child custody attorney about your custody-related questions and concerns.