Child Custody in Ohio

In making a custody determination, there are several statutory factors that the court must consider in allocating parental rights and responsibilities between the parents. For example, the court will look at the child’s relationships. Not only does this include the child’s relationships with his or her parents, but also with extended family members and other “significant individuals” such as step-parents and step-siblings. The court will consider the physical and mental health of the child, his or her parents, and other individuals in the household. The court will also look at the child’s living environment including the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community.

The court will also consider a litany of other factors including previous convictions for domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect; willful denial of parenting time or failure to pay child support; any intention to relocate to a different state; and if the child is of sufficient maturity, the child’s wishes and concerns as stated to the court in a private, in-chambers, interview.

On a practical note, the most important factor in a custody case is often which parent the court feels can be entrusted with the responsibility for facilitating the child’s relationship with his or her other parent. Of course, this leads into other issues such as whether either parent has placed pressure on the child or has attempted to influence the child to think negatively about his or her other parent. Regardless of how you look at it, the court will fully consider how you have treated your spouse, and how your spouse has treated you, both directly and through interactions with your child, on parenting issues.

Shared parenting is where the court grants custody to both of the parents under a shared parenting plan. This is usually reserved for parents who are able to work together and cooperate in making decisions regarding the child. There are other factors which are considered in determining whether shared parenting is appropriate including, for example, geographical distance between the parties’ residences. However, the major issue, of course, is whether the parties are able to communicate with one another sufficiently for shared parenting to work.