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Shared Custody: Factors for Determining the Best Interest of the Child

Shared Custody: Factors for Determining the Best Interest of the Child

Providing care for children usually remains the right and responsibility of both parents even after they divorce. Among the many issues facing divorcing couples is how they will continue to raise their children. In Ohio, the law provides for various types of arrangements to address custody of children. These arrangements define the legal relationship between the parents and the child based on the following categories: sole legal custody, joint legal custody, joint custody, sole physical custody, and joint physical custody.

Joint custody in Ohio is generally referred to as shared custody. Ohio law requires judges to consider several factors in determining the best interest of the children. The following list includes many of the applicable factors:

  • Wishes of the parents
  • Wishes of the children if court conducted an interview with the children
  • How the children interact and interrelate with their parents and others who may significantly affect their best interest
  • How the children adjust in their home, their school, and the local community
  • The mental and physical health of all family members
  • The parent more likely follow court-approved visitation rights
  • Whether either parent failed to follow a child support order
  • Prior conviction of or guilty plea to a crime relating to the abuse or neglect of a child

The parents must submit evidence that support the relevant factors. However, the parents’ ability to communicate with each other can be an important consideration for a judge to determine whether shared custody is in the best interest of the child. When parents share custody it is imperative that they show the judge that they are capable of making joint decisions in the best interest of the children.

Once the court determines that shared custody is in the best interest of the child, the parties must agree to a shared parenting plan. The parenting plan serves as a guideline for parenting conflict. If the parents cannot come to a shared parenting agreement on their own, then a judge can issue an order based on what is in the best interest of the children. The terms can address custody and visitation concerns, child support, health matters, education and extracurricular concerns, tax exemptions and others.

You can preserve your family interest with experienced legal counsel. Fox & Associates provides compassionate and competent legal advice on family law matters.

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