Understanding Joint Custody Vs. Sole Custody
If you are considering a divorce and you have one or more children with your spouse, it is important to understand your options when it comes to child custody. The state of Ohio will always be focused on what is best for the child, and will determine custody and visitation arrangement based on what will provide the most stable, healthy environment for the child. Ideally, a shared parenting arrangement – often referred to as joint custody – can be established, where both parents are involved in the child’s life.
Joint Custody And Shared Parenting
Joint custody and shared parenting are often used to refer to the same thing – the sharing of parental status and duties by both parents. But in joint custody, parents are required to split time equally with the child, something that is not always feasible. Young children especially may not do well if they are required to move from home to home regularly to meet the exact requirements of joint custody. Shared parenting is a more nuanced approach where equal time is encouraged and often a goal, but the time between parents can be adapted to fit the needs of both parents and the child.
According to Ohio law, shared parenting refers to a parenting plan where both parents are specified as the residential parent and both are equally involved in the decisions regarding the child. Both parents are expected to communicate and share the responsibility of taking care of and making decisions for the child. The parents have to be able to come to decisions together about all major issues that come up, including decisions related to finances, education, religion, medical care and more.
Another benefit to a shared parenting plan is that it often lessens the financial burden of child support. In Ohio the calculations used for child support take into account the amount of shared parenting time, and reduce the amount of child support in proportion to the shared parenting arrangement.
For a shared parenting plan to work, the parents need to determine how they will resolve differences should they arise. A parenting plan can include a road map for dispute resolution, which can be helpful should a situation arise where emotions run high and it is difficult to reach a compromise.
Sole Custody In Ohio
There are some situations where shared parenting is not going to be the best choice for the child. One parent may not be around enough to share duties – such as if the parent moves to another state. One parent may not be fit to share custody, such as those who struggle with substance abuse or those that have mental health issues. Whatever the specific reasons, sometimes the court will give sole custody to one parent.
If one parent is given sole custody, the court will designate the parent with custody as the “residential and custodial parent”. The court will designate the other parent as the “non-residential parent and non-custodial parent”. The custodial parent will be the one to make the major decisions concerning the child, like education, medical care and financial decisions. The non-custodial parent will be required to pay child support, an amount to be determined by the court that will balance the needs of the child with the financial situation of both the custodial and non-custodial parent.
Doing What Is Best For You And Your Child
Divorce can be complicated, especially when there is a child involved. While an equal shared parenting arrangement is ideal, there are sometimes factors that must be considered to determine what is best for the child. Your perspective on what is “best” might differ considerably from that of your spouse.
At Laubacher & Co., we
work with divorce clients throughout Ohio to help them protect what is most important to them. If you are getting a divorce and you are concerned about child custody issues, please contact our firm for informed feedback on your situation. We offer a free initial consultation, where you can talk to a child custody attorney about your case.
Image Via Laubacher Law