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Ohio’s child custody laws and how parenting time is decided

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2023 | Child Custody |

When Ohio parents of young children divorce or separate, they are obligated to continue caring for their kids. Depending on the circumstances, both parents share custody or one might have custody while the other is awarded visitation. This is how custody is determined in the state.

Types of child custody in Ohio

Ohio family courts don’t use the phrase “child custody” when determining the rights of parents. Instead, the terms “legal custodian” and “residential parent” are used. The state prefers to have both parents involved in the child’s life; legal custodians are parents who have legal rights to make all decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, religion and other major matters.

A residential parent is the one with whom the child lives. They are responsible for ensuring that the child’s everyday needs are met as they provide housing, food, clothing and other important things to them.

The court takes the best interests of the child into consideration when determining custody. A shared parenting agreement is equivalent to joint custody. With this arrangement, both parents are equal in terms of their legal responsibility to the child; one parent may also be considered the residential parent if the child primarily lives with them.

Meanwhile, a non-shared parenting agreement is a legal document that asserts one parent’s sole custody. This plan means that one parent has both legal and residential custody of the child. The other parent does not have custody but may have visitation rights based on the situation.

How custody is determined

Although the family court primarily determines custody based on the best interests of the child, it may also consider a prearranged parenting plan submitted by the parents. However, in some cases, one parent may submit a proposal for shared parenting time.

Ohio prefers both parents to be involved in parenting, so the court first considers shared parenting plans. If there is a history of abuse or misconduct directed toward the child, however, the judge is more likely to ensure that the other parent is deemed the legal custodian and residential parent.