When a divorcing couple has minor children, a child custody order is part of their divorce settlement. This is the legal order that outlines where the child will primarily reside, how the child’s time will be divided between the parents, and each parent’s responsibilities and legal rights to the child. A child custody order is created alongside a child support order, which ensures that both parents support their child financially.
In Ohio, there are two components to a child custody order:
Parents can have joint custody in both categories, joint custody in one category while one parent holds sole custody in the other, or one parent can have sole custody of a child in both categories. Generally, it is in the child’s best interest for the parents to have joint custody, but this is not always realistic or healthy for the child. The parent who has the bulk of the child’s physical custody time is known as the primary parent.
When the court develops a child custody order, it does so with the child’s best interest in mind. Because children and their families are unique, the ideal custody order for one child is not the ideal custody order for another. Generally, all of a couple’s children will have the same custody order, but there are circumstances under which the court may split siblings up or give parents somewhat different responsibilities for their various children.
To determine a child’s best interest, the court considers a variety of factors. These include, but are not limited to:
After a custody order is in place, it can be altered later if it no longer serves the child’s needs. In order to have a custody order modified, the parent seeking the modification must show that the current order is not in the child’s best interest and that the proposed change would suit the child better.
For parents working through the divorce process, child custody orders are an important issue. Contact our team of experienced child custody lawyers at Comunale Law Office today to set up your initial legal consultation with us, during which we can help you understand the process the court uses to create custody orders and what you can expect from it as a divorcing parent.
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