If you are a parent just beginning the divorce process, you may be concerned about child custody. Although parents can work together to find an agreeable custody option, sometimes negotiations do not work out and a court must determine the most appropriate custody arrangement. If this may be a possibility in your situation, it can be helpful to understand how the court makes this type of decision.
Two types of custody
There are two types of child custody in Ohio. The type of custody courts prefer is called shared parenting. Courts prefer shared parenting because studies have shown that children generally fare better after divorce when they maintain ongoing relationships with both parents. Shared parenting grants both parents the same legal rights to share in decision-making regarding their child. However, shared parenting does not necessarily result in equal parenting time.
The less favored custody type is called sole custody. This involves only one parent being granted the right to provide care and make decisions regarding the child. Those decisions may be about medical care, education, religious upbringing and more.
The child’s best interests determine custody
When a court awards custody, it does so based on the best interests of the child. Some factors the court may consider when determining your child’s best interests, include:
- The wishes of you, the other parent and your child
- How comfortable your child is in your home and the other parent’s home
- How comfortable your child is in the school and community near each parent’s home
- If there is a history of one parent keeping your child from the other parent
- How much difficulty you and your spouse have working together to make decisions about your child
- If the mental or physical health of either parent may affect your child
- If one parent is planning to relocate
Every situation is different. However, with an understanding of how the court determines a child custody arrangement, you are better equipped to advocate for the best interests of your child.