A recent report published by the National Parenting Organization (NPO) suggests that many of the parenting plans that Ohio courts often default to aren't actually in the best interests of children.
NPO researchers argue that these default parenting plans aren't in their best interest because they often champion the parent that lives nearby over one that lives at a distance. The state's default parenting plans also often leave non-custodial parents with as little as 20 percent of the parenting time with their kids.
Ohio law requires each common pleas court across the state to establish and follow standard parenting time guidelines. These are supposed to be used by judges when parents can't reach an agreement on how to share custody of their kids.
Few Ohio court systems received an "A" score. Those that performed the best were Ashtabula, Tuscarawas and Jefferson counties. The ones that did the best afforded each parent seven days with their child during each two week period.
When asked to comment on the report, one Jefferson county family court judge said that the adjustments that his county made in 2016 to the default parenting time has kept post-settlement modifications to a minimum.
Another judge in Ross county notes that in his experience, the default parenting plan gets instituted in very few cases. He notes that parents often find a way to work out schedules without court intervention.
He did admit that many family law attorneys have remarked that the default schedule approach is unfair. Many have said that it doesn't take into account a child's age, where their parents live, their health and other factors.
He has encouraged them to draft plans that address these different considerations so that the county can consider using them as well. Only seven counties' plans currently address these different factors.
The researchers argue that their goal in authoring this study is to hold judges accountable for ensuring that each parent gets to share time with their child. They note that it's best for the children's development to spend equitable time with each parent.
A divorce marks a new chapter in your life and that of your child. Preserving a positive future begins while you're separated. It's during that time that your Westerville divorce attorney will work you to determine what both you and your child's needs and wants are so that they can broker a settlement that's in your best interests.