There are always a plethora of questions from parties embroiled in a child custody dispute. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones we receive.
First, what is the difference between joint and sole custody? Joint custody means that both parents will share in parenting their children. However, this does not mean that custodial periods will be entirely equal. Sole custody means that one parent be designated primary, and will have decision making abilities above the other, but there may also still be a visitation plan in place for the non-primary party.
Second, who will be ordered to pay child support and how much? Circumstances of each specific case will be taken into consideration by a judge. Some items that may be looked at are parenting time spent with the child on a regular basis, costs of medical insurance and school supplies, child care expenses, and most importantly, what is in the best interests of the child.
Third, can I refuse visitation if I do not receive child support due? No. This action can subject you to fines and/or jail time. A child support order and a custody order are two entirely separate documents which will be dealt with separately should an issue arise.
Parties often ask, what if things change and this custody agreement no longer works? A child custody modification can be filed.
Finally, a very common question, is there an age when my child can decided where he or she wants to live? The state of Ohio does not have a specified age at which a child can make their own decisions. However, many local counties have adopted their own rules. In general, a child can express his or her desires as to which party they want to live with at the age of 16. However, the ultimate decision is at the discretion of a judge, and will strongly take into account the child’s best interests regardless of desire.
These are only a few of the many questions we receive regularly throughout the course of custodial hearings. Please contact us if you have additional questions about child custody or any other family law matter.