Facing divorce is never easy, especially if you are a father with kids. You may be afraid that the child’s mother will be presumed to be the best caretaker for the child, limiting or overall eliminating your right to your child. However, in Ohio any child custody decisions are based not on the gender of the parents but on the best interests of the child.
Joint legal custody
In Ohio, courts will generally prefer to grant joint legal custody to both parents. This means both parents will be active participants in making decisions on behalf of the child such as where the child will go to school, which doctors the child will see and the child’s religious upbringing. Unless shown otherwise, joint legal custody is presumed to be in the child’s best interests.
Joint physical custody
In Ohio, some parents share joint physical custody. This means the child resides with both parents and both parents are considered primary caretakers of the child. However, just because parents share joint physical custody does not necessarily mean they each share exactly 50% of the time with their child. Generally, the court will decide how much time the child will spend with each parent based on the best interests of the child.
Under Ohio law, when parents divorce one parent will provide the court with a shared parenting plan. The court will make the ultimate decision as to whether this plan is in the best interests of the child. If no plan is offered to the court, then one parent will be determined by the court to be the child’s custodial parent.
Factors courts will consider when determining the child’s best interests
In both physical custody cases and legal custody cases, the standard the court will use when making a decision is the best interests of the child. The following are some factors courts may consider in such situations.
- The child’s preference, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity;
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- Whether the child would be able to adapt to a change in their school or personal situation;
- Both parent’s health and ability to care for the child; and
- Whether either parent has a criminal record
As you can see, the best interests of the child is more important than a parent’s gender in child custody cases.
Learn more about child custody in Ohio
Ultimately this post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on child custody may be a useful resource for those who want further information on this topic.