Raising a child is a profound responsibility. Parents have to make decisions about where their children will live, where they will go to school and what religion they will grow up in, if any. Besides everyday love, support and discipline, these decisions are perhaps the most important things parents will make when their children are young.
This is why it is important that children of divorce, or whose parents were never married, be put into the best possible child custody situation. Legal custody of a child gives the parent or parents the right to make key child-rearing decisions.
Many times, both parents in Ohio want to retain their legal child custody rights following divorce. So one or both of them may petition the court for shared parenting, as an article by the Ohio State Bar Association explains. If granted, shared parenting means that both parents must work together on important child-rearing decisions. Neither will be allowed to make a decision unilaterally.
Ohio courts favor this arrangement, but it is not appropriate in every situation. Parents with a history of domestic violence or substance abuse may be unable to effectively perform this important task. Other times, one or both parents may be unable to put aside their personal animosity to serve their children’s best interests.
Thus, many times the court grants sole custody to one parent. This gives that parent legal custody over the child. The non-custodial parent often will receive parenting time on weekends and holidays, but may also share parenting time equally with the custodial parent.
Parents looking to secure their parental rights should speak to their family law attorney.