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Jim Moskowitz
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Understanding Child Custody in Ohio

When a couple decides to end their marriage, it can be a difficult time for families. When there are minor children, the parents must make many decisions regarding child custody and visitation arrangements. Often, a child will reside primarily with one parent and have scheduled visitation with the other. Although a child may reside with one parent, both parents may still be responsible for making important decisions on their behalf.

Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities – Formerly Called Child Custody

Child custody is now called “ allocation of parental rights and responsibilities” in Ohio. However, many people still refer to it as custody. There are two main types of arrangements that can be made.
• Sole Residential Parent
• Shared Parenting

A sole residential parent, formerly referred to as sole custody, is legally responsible for making all decisions for the child. Shared parenting, formerly referred to as joint custody, allows both parents to provide input in the decision-making process. These arrangements require a parenting time schedule, which outlines the time each parent spends with the children.
A shared parenting arrangement requires a shared parenting plan, which is a document that outlines many of the issues concerning the children (e.g. how decisions are going to be made regarding the general health welfare and education of the children; parenting time; payment of extracurricular activities and uncovered medical expenses; and child support). The plan is reviewed and agreed to by both parents and is put into the final divorce order. In order to be successful, the plan should be as detailed as possible. Your divorce attorney will assist you with putting together a shared parenting plan.

Parenting Time – Formerly Visitation

Regardless of the custody arrangement, parenting time must be established for the children and the parents. The best parenting schedules are those that take into account the age of the children. Children of different ages have different types of needs. For example, the needs of a six-year-old are considerably different than those of a 12-year-old. Parenting time schedules should also vary based on the interests and special needs of the child.

Best Interest of the Children

The overriding factor when dealing with both custody and visitation is the best interest of the children. Parents need to review all of the various details of the plan and make the adjustments necessary to ensure that the schedule works best for the children. The best plans are those that are the most detailed and provide guidelines that everyone can easily follow.

Seek Help from a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney

It is essential to realize that every situation is different, and each family needs to do what is best for their needs. A knowledgeable divorce attorney knows how to help families create fair and reasonable agreements in all matters pertaining to the children.

The attorneys at Moskowitz & Moskowitz, LLC have experience dealing with these issues and skillfully represent our clients in all aspects of family law.

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