Termination of a Shared Parenting Plan

Ohio Revised Code section 3109.04(E)(2)(c) deals with the termination of a Shared Parenting Plan and states, “The court may terminate a prior final shared parenting decree that includes a Shared Parenting Plan … upon the request of one or both parents or whenever it determines that shared parenting is not in the best interests of the children.”  In Kougher v. Kougher 194 OhioApp.3d 703, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower trial court who refused to terminate the parties Shared Parenting Plan because the court found that there had not been a change in circumstances since the Shared Parenting Decree went into effect.  To read the full case see, http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/7/2011/2011-ohio-3411.pdf.

Termination of a Shared Parenting Plan:   3 Ways

This case demonstrates that a Shared Parenting Plan can be terminated in 3 ways:  (1) upon the request of one parent; (2) upon the request of both parents;  OR (3) if the court finds that shared parenting is not in the best interests of the children.  The statute does not require that either parent have a specific reason to terminate the shared parenting plan, it just requires that one or both of the parents make the request.  Having said that, if a party has filed a Motion to Terminate a Shared Parenting Plan, although it is not specifically required under the statute, it is always important to be able to explain to the court as part of your case, why the Shared Parenting Plan isn’t working.  This is simply because once a Shared Parenting Plan is terminated, the court must have a custody trial and take evidence from the parties as to what is in the children’s best interests when awarding custody to one of the parents.  To make this determination, the Court will weigh the evidence and apply each of the factors listed in the “best interest test”.  This will usually result in one parent or the other receiving “full custody”.