A Child-Centered Approach to Custody in Ohio

July is National Child-Centered Divorce Month. This month is dedicated to helping parents learn about the effects of divorce on children and preventing emotional and psychological damage to children during the divorce process.

What Are Parental Rights?

In Ohio statutes, child custody is now referred to as the “allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.” Visitation is called “parenting time.” Outside of the court, both the old and new terms are still used interchangeably.

There are a few types of parental rights and responsibilities in Ohio, including:

  • Physical or Residential custody. When a child lives primarily with one parent, that parent is the residential parent. In shared parenting arrangements, both parents are considered residential parents. A separate designation, “residential parent for school placement” is also determined so that the district and attendance zone can be assigned for the child. This designation may include both parents if they reside nearby to one another.
  • Decision-making responsibilities. Also known as legal custody, decision-making responsibilities include the right to make major decisions for children, such as those involving education, non-emergency medical care, and extracurricular activities.

Essentially, the court will determine which residential and legal custody arrangement best fits your children’s needs. This is known as the allocation of parental rights.

How Are Parental Rights Allocated in Ohio?

Although the court will allocate parental rights based on the child’s best interest, parents can agree on the allocation of parental rights and present their plan to the court.

Here are a couple of ways the court can allocate parental rights in Ohio:

  • Sole legal and physical custody. In this arrangement, one parent will have the decision-making rights for their children and be the primary residential parent. The other parent may be awarded some parenting time or ordered to pay child support.
  • Shared parenting. Either or both parents may request shared parenting. This arrangement includes a shared parenting plan to which both parties must agree. Shared parenting provides a customized plan for where a child will live for a designated percentage of the time, not necessarily 50/50.

If you already have a custody plan for your children, you might be able to change it. The court may allow a new allocation of parental rights if it finds a change in circumstances, such as a parent’s new job opportunity, warrants a modification of custody arrangements that would now be in the child’s best interests.

The experienced family law attorneys at Weis Law Group can guide a parent along the best path to show why a particular custody arrangement would serve their child’s best interest.