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What factors affect child custody and support orders in Ohio?

Both parents are liable for the financial support of their minor children. However, more than just finances are involved in determining the best interests of a child. A stable home environment, a positive school and community, opportunities for interaction with friends and relatives, and practically any influence or institution that supports a child’s emotional, mental and physical well being and happiness could be a factor in a court’s determination of child custody, support and parenting arrangements.

Recognizing the contributions of mothers and fathers in a child’s development, a divorce court often encourages the continued involvement of both parents in their minor child’s lives. Of course, such a joint approach will require more cooperation between the parents to make busy schedules work.

In Ohio, one parent is often designated the residential parent, even under a shared parenting plan. The rationale behind that approach is clarity in determining the minor child’s school placement.

A court will next determine each parent’s child support obligations in accordance with the Ohio Child Support Guidelines, which are codified in state law. However, an attorney that focuses on divorce and child support law knows that determinations are no longer as simple as taking a straight percentage from each parent’s net income.

For example, a shared parenting approach may impact child support determinations because each parent is assuming some of the costs of raising the child. Many other factors might also warrant an adjustment in each parent’s support obligations, such as local taxes, costs of childcare, health insurance costs, the disparity in income between parents, and certain work benefits.

Source:  Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, “Overview of Services,” updated Jan. 20, 2015

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