When Ohio parents decide to get divorced, one of the many issues they must settle is where their children will live and which of them will be responsible for making decisions regarding their kids. According to the Ohio Supreme Court’s guide for parents living apart, maintaining meaningful parent-child relationships is essential for kids after a divorce. Adults whose parents divorced when they were children often site conflict between their parents and losing contact with a parent as the most difficult parts of the experience for them.
Children best thrive when their parents work together to continue parenting them after a divorce. Having positive and ongoing relationships with both parents aids in children’s social and emotional development, as well as in their overall adjustment to the changes presented by divorce. To this end, the court may allocate people with shared parenting, meaning they and their children’s other parents both have the right to be involved in the making of important decisions about their children’s health, religious upbringing and education.
According to Ohio state law, to determine whether to allocate shared parenting, the court may consider several factors. These include the following:
- A history of child abuse, parental kidnapping, domestic violence or spouse abuse
- The recommendation of the child’s guardian ad litem
- The geographical vicinity of the parents’ residences
- The parents’ ability to make joint decisions regarding their child
- Each parent’s willingness and ability to encourage a healthy and loving relationship between the child and the other parent
In allocating parental rights and responsibilities, the court does not consider parents’ financial situations. Judges may, however, take into account other factors to help decide if shared parenting is in the child’s best interests.