Going through a divorce can be a complicated and emotional process. This is especially true for parents, who must not only do their best to help their children adapt to post-divorce life but must grapple with issues like child custody and child support. To ensure that your own divorce goes as smoothly as possible and that your children’s interests are protected, please contact an experienced Louisville child custody lawyer who is well-versed in Ohio law and can offer you sound legal advice.
In Ohio, courts rarely use the term “custody” during divorce proceedings but instead refer to the division of parental rights and responsibilities. These rights and decision making responsibilities for the care of a couple’s children can be allocated in one of two ways. The first involves:
Alternatively, courts have the option of allocating parental rights and decision making responsibility to both parents. This is known as a shared parenting order and it requires both parents to share some or all aspects of the physical and legal care of their children. Courts are generally in favor of shared parenting arrangements, as ongoing and meaningful contact with both parents is usually considered to be best for a child. However, when making this important decision courts are ultimately guided by what would be in an individual child’s best interests, which will vary depending on the facts of the case.
When attempting to determine what type of parenting plan would be in a child’s best interests, courts are permitted to conduct a thorough investigation into the following areas:
As a part of this investigation, courts are also allowed to order both parents and their children to submit to psychiatric examinations. If a child is judged mature enough to make a reasoned decision, a judge may even interview that child as to his or her wishes regarding future custody arrangements.
Once a court has issued a decree allocating parental rights and responsibilities, that arrangement is considered permanent. The only time that this type of order can be modified is when a change is in the child’s best interests and:
Aside from petitioning the court for a modification, parents subject to a shared parenting decree can also agree to jointly modify the terms of the plan, as long as those changes are approved by the court.
To speak with an experienced family lawyer about your own custody-related questions and concerns, please call Fout Law at 330-437-7455 or send us an online message today.