For most-everyone who is a parent, it is obvious that many decisions concerning your child’s welfare have to be made with the other parent, whether you are still married or not. However, for many, the thought of actively trying to avoid disputes going while through the divorce process—is difficult to imagine. However, many might be surprised just how much parent agreement and cooperation matters to the court, which is in the position of making decisions based on your child’s best interest. If you and the child’s other parent are having a difficult time reaching an agreement when it comes to the details of parenting plans, it might be wise to mediate your differences before going to court, as it will matter to the judge.
The Law in Ohio
In Ohio, state law declares both parents to start out as “equals” with regards to parental rights and responsibilities of shared children. The courts typically prefer shared parenting plans, and will allocate specific parental rights and responsibilities after hearing testimony from both parents and considering any filed mediation report. However, if it is in the best interest of the child to allocate responsibilities and rights primarily to one parent, it will designate that parent to be the resident parent and legal custodian.
In determining what is in the best interest of the child, the court may interview the child and even appoint a guardian ad litem, if necessary. The court may also—prior to trial—investigate the character, family relations, past conduct, earning ability, and finances of each parent and have them submit to medical, psychological, and psychiatric examinations. It may also take the following factors into account:
- The wishes of the parents;
- The child’s wishes;
- The child’s interaction and interrelationship with the parents, any siblings, and/or any others in their life;
- The child’s adjustment to school, community, etc.;
- Everyone’s mental and physical health;
- Which parent is more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting and companionship rights, or visitation;
- Whether either parent has failed to make child support payments;
- Whether either parent or member of their household is guilty of a criminal offense that involved an abused or neglected child;
- Whether either parent continuously and willfully denied the other parent’s right to parenting time;
- Whether either parent has a residence or plans to establish one;
- The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly (regarding the child);
- The ability of each parent to encourage love, affection, and contact between the child and other parent;
- The geographic proximity of the parents to each other; and
- Any recommendations of the guardian ad litem (if the child has one).
The courts clearly take the ability for parents to agree and cooperate with respect to their child into account when deciding on child custody and visitation issues, which is why it makes sense for parents to try and cooperate when it comes to decisions concerning the welfare of their child.
Family Law Attorneys Representing Your Rights in Ohio
When you going through any family law dispute, having an experienced attorney by your side to guide you through the process is priceless. We have that experience of supportive atmosphere to guide you through any difficult legal situation involving family law. Contact our office for a free case evaluation so that we can get started helping you.