The Work Continues Even After Divorce
Though the paperwork may be completed and signed to finalize your divorce, that doesn’t mean there may not be any issues in the future. Unfortunately, it is becoming more common to see child custody issues arise even after your divorce and parenting plan have been already finalized.
Though you may not face some and/or all of these difficulties, it’s important to understand the various issues that may arise in child custody. Here are a few of the common issues parents encounter following the termination of their marriage.
Life circumstances may necessitate a parent to move to another state, such as for a job or a new relationship. When this happens, it could lead to a post-decree custody proceeding in court.
Before a parent moves, it is important to review your parenting plan for language on how to handle the relocation. Typically, in order to relocate with a child, the parent who has physical custody of the child must file a notice with the court letting them know of the intended relocation. The filing must be served upon the non-filing parent, allowing them an opportunity to either 1) provide their written consent to the relocation, or 2) to object to the relocation and request a hearing.
Should the case go to court, the judge overseeing the case will consider factors such as the reason for the relocation, how far away the move will be, how the current parenting plan will be affected, agreement of the parties, and/or the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent. As in all custody cases, however, the court will ultimately determine whether or not relocation is in the best interests of the child.
Visitation Denial by a Parent
If a miscommunication or change of schedule occurs between parents and one parent is forced to miss regular parenting time, both parents can work together to schedule make-up time. However, if a parent willfully denies the other parent’s time and forbids the child from seeing that parent, that is a far more serious matter. Withholding parenting time for a reason not listed within your parenting plan could lead to being held in contempt of court.
If a parent is denying court-ordered parenting time, the other parent can seek enforcement of the order by asking the court to hold the denying parent in contempt of the order, which could be punishable by fines and/or jail time.
Legal Custody Disagreements
When parents are granted shared parenting, both are granted the responsibility to jointly make decisions on behalf of their child. These decisions could relate to topics such as the child’s education, health, religious choices, or others. While parents may have different philosophical viewpoints on various issues that could lead to disagreements over what decisions to make, it’s normal for parents to try and work out those differences to come to an agreement on an issue, in the best interest of their child.
Sometimes, however, those viewpoints are so different that an alternative approach is necessary to settle the issue. This could be through mediation with an independent third party who facilitates discussions or through litigation, where the court will ultimately decide what is best for the child.
Child custody orders are always modifiable as sometimes life’s circumstances dictate that changes must be made to a custody order to continue meeting a child’s best interests. If, for example, one parent loses their job or experiences a significant change in circumstances, whether positive or negative, then the current child custody order may no longer serve the child’s best interests.
Note that seeking modification does not automatically mean a court will grant a modification to the custody order. Until your modification is granted by the court, your current custody agreement stands.
Working with an Ohio Child Custody Attorney
Regardless of the child custody issue that arises after divorce, it’s important to work with a child custody attorney who not only understands each of these issues but also knows how to proceed when they pop up. At Laubacher & Co., our team of attorneys is sensitive to child custody matters; we are committed to helping our clients work through these issues and to meeting the needs of both our clients and their children.
To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call us at (440) 336-8687 or visit us online.