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What child custody arrangements does Ohio accept?

The answer to this question is not as simple as assembling a list and providing a description of each type of custody. Individual circumstances are unique and the courts of the state have an obligation to make determinations of child custody only after examining the circumstances of each case.

It should come as no surprise that the particular situations can be as unique as the participants involved in them. Indeed, as events of just the past few years attest, attitudes about relationships, parenthood and what a family looks like are not as uniform as they once were. What parents should be able to take to the bank is that the courts will decide custody matters according to what they perceive to be in a child's best interests.

Consistent factors in making custody determinations

Ohio judges must consistently weigh several factors as they consider proposals for parenting and custody arrangements. These include:

  • What the child desires: This, of course, presumes a child is of an age to be able to make a mature expression of wishes.

  • Each parent's desires: The rights of each parent need to be respected, within the context of the child's best interest.

  • How prepared the child or children is for change: If assessments indicate that a child's well-being might be negatively affected by disruptions of home, school or community, it could warrant a change of desired plans.

  • Mental and physical health of all the parties: Does one parent have a history of substance abuse or criminal record? Supervised visitation might be ordered for that parent.

  • The attitudes of the parents toward each other: If the parents are able to show commitment to encouraging positive relationships with the other parent and to working together in making decisions, it is typically favored by the courts.

Plans that work now might not work in the future. When life changes occur, it is crucial for parents to remember that the courts still have cause to ensure the best interests of the children. Working with a skilled attorney is the effective way to negotiate modifications and see them accepted.

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