Guidance & Support From A Trusted Cincinnati Custody Lawyer
Divorce can be a complex and emotional process, especially when children are involved. There are many forms to fill out, debates to be had, and court appearances to attend. If you are going through a divorce in Cincinnati and need help with child custody arrangements, you should consult with a Cincinnati child custody lawyer.
Custody and parenting time arrangements come in many varieties to meet the needs of each family. At Goldberg Evans LLC, our Cincinnati child custody lawyers will help you navigate the factors that are important to these decisions and ensure your children are prioritized.
The Types and Components of Child Custody in Ohio
Let’s start by discussing the different types of child custody in Ohio. There are two main types of custody: 1) sole allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (more commonly known as “sole” custody) and 2) shared parenting or commonly known as “joint custody”.
These custody determinations indicate which individuals have the legal authority to make decisions about a child’s upbringing, including education, health care, involvement in activities, and religious training.
The custody determination is separate and apart from the parenting time arrangements. A parent may have equal amounts of parenting time yet not have joint decision-making. On the other hand, a parent may have shared parenting and equal authority to make joint decisions for the children, while exercising less than 50% of the parenting time.
Joint Custody and Shared Parenting
Shared Parenting, formally referred to as joint custody in Ohio, is a designation that both parents have legal custody of the children regardless of where the child may reside. The parents are required to prepare a Shared Parenting Plan that details the decisions that may be made for a child and outlines the parents’ agreements regarding these decisions. For example, the parents may include in their shared parenting plan that the minor children will attend a specific school district through graduation from high school or that the children will be permitted to engage in school-sponsored sports. Shared parenting is the preferred custodial designation by many courts as it ensures the children benefit from the joint decision-making of their parents. Shared parenting may not be the best option for parents who are unable to cooperate and communicate well or if there is a history of abuse.
If you have sole custody or sole decision-making authority, you are permitted to make unilateral decisions for the child without the agreement of the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent is typically permitted to receive access to records, and information, and may attend events for the child, but he/she is not permitted to make legal decisions for the child.
Sole custody is often awarded to a parent when the conflict around decision-making is detrimental to the child. It can also be utilized when one parent is lacking the capacity to make decisions for the child(ren) because of mental health concerns, substance abuse, or domestic violence.
Schedules and Visitation Rights
The idea that parents “visit” their children is generally viewed negatively. Ohio has changed its laws to reflect this sentiment and now refers to visitation as “parenting time”.
Regardless of the custody determination, you will need to develop a parenting time schedule for the children. No schedule is right for every family and the needs of the children will change over time. Despite this, the Court requires that a specific schedule is outlined in the court order even if the parents will loosely follow it. There are various “standard” parenting time orders produced by each county that provide types of schedules that are connected to the developmental age of the children. Regardless of the resources you view to determine the parenting time schedule, it should consider every need of all family members, the child’s age, the child’s engagement in activities or enrichment, and the distance between the two households.
Should you hire a Cincinnati child custody lawyer?
Many divorcing parents are on the fence about whether or not to spend the money on an attorney. In most cases, you should consider hiring a lawyer if you have children and are going through a divorce so you will understand the law and options to best protect your children.
A lawyer at Goldberg Evans will help you understand your rights and responsibilities under the law and navigate the turbulence of a custody dispute. While most divorces do not involve contested custody hearings, those that do can have devastating effects on a family – especially the children.
In a custody trial, both sides will present their case to a judge, who will then decide the custody arrangement. There are many rules of evidence and procedure that must be followed in a trial. Hiring a trained Cincinnati child custody attorney will ensure your case is presented effectively and persuasively.
How will child custody be determined in Ohio?
The custody of children is determined based on their best interests. The court must consider a variety of factors to understand the child’s best interests, including:
The wishes of the child’s parents
First, the court will look at the wishes of the child’s parents. If the parents can agree on a custody arrangement, the court is likely to approve it. Sometimes, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s best interests.
The ability of each parent to care for the child
Second, the court will examine each parent’s ability to care for the child. Of course, financial stability plays a significant role here. The court will also look at things like each parent’s work schedule, living situation, and support system. Here is where you might need to call on character witnesses to speak on your behalf.
Mental and physical health are also relevant here. If a parent has a mental illness, drug addiction, or alcoholism, the court may be concerned with the parent’s ability to care for the child. The court will also consider any criminal history, domestic violence, or child abuse before making a custody order.
The child’s relationship with each parent and other family members
The court will look at the child’s relationship with each parent and other family members. That includes whether the child has a close bond with each parent, whether the child has any siblings, and whether the child has grandparents or other relatives who are closely bonded with the child.
The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
The court will also look at the child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community. The court will want to know how well the child is doing in school, whether the child has any special needs, and whether the child has any close friends in the neighborhood.
Trust Goldberg Evans: Cincinnati Child Custody Lawyer You Can Count On
There are many factors to consider when choosing a Cincinnati child custody lawyer. If you’re ready to take the next step, our team is here to help. Call Goldberg Evans LLC today for a consultation, during which we will review your case and answer any questions you have. We look forward to hearing from you.