Provisions for children in an Ohio divorce

Ohio law allows courts to consider a child’s wishes when determining parental rights and responsibilities in a divorce situation.

When getting divorced in Ohio, parents with children under the age of 18 have to identify how physical and legal custody of their kids will be divided. In addition, they will need to determine what other rights, such as visitation, either parent may be granted. According to the Ohio Revised Code, mothers and fathers are considered equally by the courts and it is always the best interests of the child or children that dictate a final ruling.

What are legal and physical custody?

Parents can be granted different responsibilities and rights with regard to their children. Orders that indicate with which parent a child will live are referred to as physical custody while orders concerning the making of legal or major decisions on behalf of a child are referred to as legal custody.

Can custody be shared by both parents?

There are two main types of custody awards in Ohio. One is shared custody. In these situations, moms and dads will each have some rights and responsibilities with regard to their children. While the responsibilities can be split equally, they do not have to be. Some elements of a child's life may be handled by both parents while other elements by only one parent.

The other type is sole custody. In these cases, one parent only may have all of the physical and legal rights for the couple's children. It is important to note that the non-custodial parent will typically be required to pay child support. In addition, one parent may have sole physical custody of the children, while the parents share legal custody or vice versa.

What influences a final custody decision?

Courts weigh in many factors when making choices regarding parental rights and responsibilities. The Ohio State Bar Association indicates some of the things include how well the parents communicate with each other and whether or not each parent is willing and able to foster a good parent-child relationship with the other parent. Practical factors like the proximity of the two parents' homes can also contribute to a judge's decision.

In Ohio, the courts can consider a child's wishes at any time, regardless of the child's age. If this is done, the judge will meet with the child without the parents present.

Minimizing conflict best for children

It is well documented that witnessing conflict between parents is detrimental to the well-being of children. It can also stand in the way of kids being able to form good relationships with both parents as children sometimes end up siding with one parent over the other. Positive co-parenting can be difficult but is nonetheless very important. Finding ways to reduce stress during a divorce therefore becomes one way of facilitating this.

Working with an attorney when getting divorced allows lawyers to handle certain matters so that parent-to-parent conflict may be reduced.