Parenting Rights in Ohio Child Custody Cases

Fathers and Mothers Parenting Rights Ohio

In custody cases, both parents stand as equals under the law.  In other words, fathers and mothers have the same rights to be considered, when the issue is custody of the child or children or the matter of arranging a good parenting time schedule.  This means that they do not necessarily have a right to equal amounts of time with their children after a divorce but it does mean that the court will consider both the mother and the father as having an equal opportunity to be considered both for custody and for parenting time.  What is of most importance is the right of every child to have a custodial arrangement and a parenting plan that is in the best interest of that particular child.   Many factors must be considered in determining the best custodial arrangement and the best parenting schedule for the child or children.

Shared Parenting Vs Sole Custody Ohio

There are basically two possible models for a custodial arrangement.  Either the court must order shared parenting of the child or children by both parents or it must award sole custody to one of the parents.  The primary difference between these two models relates to the matter of how decisions will be made on the major issues affecting the child, such as the selection of medical or mental health professionals, the selection of activities for their children, the religious orientation that will be presented to the children, and the educational decisions that must be made.  In a shared parenting plan, the parents are expected to discuss such issues with each other and to reach decisions that are best for their children.  In a sole custody situation, however, the custodial parent has the right to make all such major decisions independently.

It is, therefore, essential that a careful assessment be made of the ability of the parents to work together to make decisions for the welfare of the child, their ability to cooperate with each other, and to encourage the child or children to have love and affection and regular contact with the other parent.  Clearly these are among the most important considerations in determining whether a shared parenting can work in the best interest of the child or children.  If decision making will become extremely difficult or impossible, granting sole custody only to one may be necessary.

Parenting time with the children

Even when a sole custody arrangement is agreed to or is ordered by the court, the non-custodial parent must be considered for significant parenting time with the children.  Parenting time schedules must be determined in an age appropriate manner because children grow through various stages of development.  In every stage, the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development needs to be understood and considered.  What might be appropriate for an infant or toddler may not be appropriate for an adolescent or teenager.  Many courts have adopted “standard parenting schedules” that are often utilized.  These “one size fits all” schedules may sometimes be appropriate but more often they need significant modifications to meet the actual best interest of the specific child or children involved.

The physical and especially the mental health of each parent is a very important consideration in determining both the shared parenting or sole custody issue and in deciding what parenting schedule will be best for the child or children.  Not infrequently, courts will order that both parents submit to a full psychological evaluation with their children so that they will have the benefit of a professional assessment of each parent’s ability to parent effectively and to participate and cooperate in any given parenting plan and schedule.

Grandparent and Third Parties Parenting Rights

Grandparents and other third parties also have the right to be considered when it comes to determining what is in the best interest of the child or children.  If one of the parents has died or is determined to have very limited ability or capacity to meet the child or children’s needs, a grandparent or third party may be the best available alternative even for custody.  Even when the natural parents are fully involved in the care and scheduling of their children, Grandparents have the right to be considered in their schedules.

In all cases involving children, it is essential that you find an attorney who fully understands child development issues and the many important psychological factors that impact children and their parents so significantly.  Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in dealing with custody cases and the parental rights and responsibilities that are so important.   They understand how to obtain the necessary evidence and the proven ability to present your case in the most effective way.   That is why the firm’s reputation is so strong as the firm where children matter most.  Their background in law, psychology and child development sets them above most family law lawyers when it comes to custody matters.