a divorce or dissolution action, or in the case of unmarried parents, parental
rights and responsibilities for minor children must be allocated. Custody can
be allocated in two ways: sole custody can be given to either parent, or shared
parenting can be given to both parents. Decisions for minor children are then
made based on how parental rights and responsibilities are allocated.
does the court decide custody issues?
A: Custody determinations are governed by
Ohio law (Ohio Revised Code, Section
3109.04). The court must consider various factors as the law requires. These
factors include (but are not limited to) the wishes of each parent, the wishes
of the children, the ability of the parents to communicate, the distance
between the parents’ residences, the children's adjustment to the community and
school with either parent, and the children's interactions with either parent
and other family members.
is sole custody?
A: The parent who receives “sole custody” becomes
the child’s legal custodian and will make decisions about non-urgent medical
care, schooling, religious training, discipline and extra-curricular activity
involvement. The sole custodian must keep the non-custodial parent advised about
all matters involving the children, but will be able to make these decisions
even if the non-custodial parent disagrees. The non-custodial parent will have
parenting time with the children, including holidays and vacation time. Also,
the non-custodial parent will have equal access to medical and school
is shared parenting?
A: The court cannot grant shared parenting
unless one or both parent(s) files a motion with a proposed shared parenting
plan. If the court orders shared parenting, both parents are designated legal
custodians of the minor children and must make all decisions together. These
decisions will be outlined in a shared parenting plan that is filed with the court.
The children may attend school in either parent’s school district. The parents
must communicate to further the best interests of their children.
parent can make unilateral decisions for the children in a shared parenting
arrangement. If the parents are unable to agree on decisions about the children,
they will be required to attend mediation sessions before they can file motions
with the court. Generally speaking, Ohio courts favor shared parenting because
it is thought that children benefit when both parents are involved in
childrearing decisions. In some cases, however, shared parenting is not
appropriate. For example, when there is a history of domestic or substance
abuse, shared parenting may not be in the best interests of the children.
Q: Do I
have shared parenting if I have my children 50 percent of the time?
A: It is often thought that having a 50/50
parenting schedule means that the parents have “shared parenting.” While
parents who share equal time with their children often have shared parenting,
it is not required. Even when the court allocates sole custody to one parent, both
parents may share parenting time equally.
Q: What is a parenting schedule?
addition to issuing a custody allocation, the court will also order a parenting
schedule, which determines how much parenting time each parent has with the
children. A parenting schedule is different from custody. For example, even if
parents do not have equal parenting time, they can have shared parenting for decision-making
Q: If I
have shared parenting, do I have to pay child support?
A: A common misconception is that if the
parents have shared parenting of their minor children, then neither parent will
be required to pay child support. Various factors are taken into account when
determining child support, which is done on a case-by-case basis.
This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar
Association (OSBA). It was prepared by attorneys Trista Portales Goldberg and Maggie M. Nestheide of Beth Silverman
& Associates. The column offers general
information about the law. Seek an
attorney’s advice before applying this information to a legal problem.
Labels: child support, custody, dissolution, divorce, parental rights, parenting schedule, shared parenting, unmarried parents