Columbus Child Custody Attorneys
Looking Out for Your Children
Entire families are affected by divorce or the breakup of a relationship, but children may be most at risk for long-lasting emotional and psychological consequences. For this and many other reasons, Ohio courts require that child custody decisions must be made in the best interests of the children. The courts operate on this underlying guideline and on the idea that children do best when they have frequent and continuing contact with both parents in the wake of a divorce or separation.
At Boller & Petty, LLC, we strongly believe in the best-interest standard as well. All of our attorneys focus on meeting the needs of our clients while making sure that divorce has a minimal impact on the kids. Since we deal with divorce and child custody issues on a daily basis, we are deeply familiar with Ohio law and how the local courts operate on this matter. We work hard to achieve a custody and parenting plan that you and your spouse can agree upon without resorting to litigation; however, should it be necessary, we are prepared to represent you in trial when an agreement cannot be mutually set.
How Child Custody Works in Ohio
When possible, courts prefer to keep both parents actively involved in their children's lives. In many states, this is referred to as joint custody. In Ohio, it is called shared parenting. It is a philosophy that says you and your spouse will work cooperatively to care for and to make decisions regarding your children. These decisions may affect major aspects of your child’s life, such as healthcare, education, religious upbringing, and more as well as other life activities and such matters as vacations, holidays, and more.
The details of your child-rearing arrangement will be put into the document known as the parenting plan. Although some flexibility is needed, parenting plans can and should be very specific.
Parenting plans can include:
- Which parent the children will stay with and when they will stay at each home (in Ohio, visitation is referred to as parenting time)
- Where the children will attend school
- The expenses that each parent will cover, such as those involving school, medical and dental costs, clothing, extra-curricular activities, and more
- A schedule of where children will spend certain holidays
- Important child-rearing policies, such as those regarding religious indoctrination, education practices, and more
- How future decisions will be made and how parental disagreements will be resolved
The more detailed parenting plans are made, the lower the risk that future issues or disagreements will require court intervention.
Contested Child Custody
Negotiating a parenting plan with your spouse may not be an enjoyable experience but it usually gives you the most control over the outcome.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on a plan, the court will generally not mandate shared parenting. Instead, one parent will usually be awarded custody. Obviously, this a gamble, which is why many divorcing couples prefer to compromise by working out a shared parenting plan. Shared parenting does not automatically mean a 50-50 parenting time division between parents. Many factors will be considered by the courts in determining what is best for the child.
Factors that the court may consider when deciding the issue of custody and parenting can include:
- The mental and physical health of all parties involved
- How the child has adjusted to his or her current home environment, school, local friends, and other local relationships and activities, and how a disruption of this could affect his or her wellbeing
- The child’s current relationship with each parent, siblings, and other household members who may play a significant role in his or her life
- Each parent’s wishes in regards to the matter
- The child’s preference if he or she is old enough to have a valid opinion
- The age of the child
- How amenable each parent is to helping the child maintain an ongoing relationship with the other parent
- The criminal record of either parent especially as related to domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse
- Whether child support payments have been consistently made according to law
- Whether either parent has tried to limit or deny the other’s parenting time
- Any other matter that would affect custody and parenting plans
How We Can Help
The family lawyers at Boller & Petty, LLC, have extensive knowledge of and experience with Ohio's child custody laws and court practices. With valuable guidance and advice, we will help you seek an outcome that is in your and your children's best interests.
Contact our Columbus child custody lawyers at (614) 756-2827 to learn more and find out how we can affordably represent you in any child custody matter.