If you’re wondering how to file for joint custody in Ohio, you’re not alone since there are several options for deciding custody of your child. Before you file a parental rights and responsibilities case with the Court, consider your options:
- Try to work out an agreement with the other parent outside of court, and ask a judicial officer to sign an order incorporating the terms of your agreement.
- Engage in an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation, negotiation, collaborative law or parent coordination.
- Traditional court litigation initiated with the filing of a Complaint.
What is Joint Custody?
In Ohio, shared parenting (sometimes called joint custody) is when both parents have the legal status of being a residential parent and are able to both make decisions for the child. To obtain joint custody in the event of a divorce or separation, parents must present a shared parenting plan to the court that the court must approve.
Before you file for joint custody in Ohio, both parents should know that they will jointly share some or all of the aspects associated with the physical and legal care of their child (ie decision making). It doesn’t necessarily mean an equal division of parenting time with the children, child support, or other important issues. It simply means both parents will have decision making rights for their child.
Alternatively, sole custody is when only one parent is the residential parent and the other parent is awarded parenting time but doesn’t have the legal status of a residential parent and has NO decision making rights.
4 Steps to File for Joint Custody in Ohio
Since all situations are unique, it’s in your best interest to meet with a trusted child custody attorney to learn more about joint custody in Ohio and discuss what’s in your child’s best interest.
Ohio courts will only award shared parenting after analyzing several factors. Courts will look at how well the parents cooperate and each parent’s willingness to encourage their child to maintain strong relationships with both parents.
Below are the basic steps to file for shared parenting in Ohio:
- One parent must file a Complaint requesting the court enter a shared parenting decree.
- Both parents must meet and agree on the terms of a shared parenting plan, preferably with the support of a qualified family law attorney.
- One parent must present the shared parenting plan in court for approval. Unless both parties waive this agreement, the plan must be filed 30 days prior to the hearing date.
- Courts will consider all relevant factors and come to a decision about whether or not shared parenting is in the best interest of the child. These factors include:
- The ability of the parents to cooperate and make joint decisions
- The willingness of the parents to share love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent
- Any history or potential for child abuse, spousal abuse, or any form of domestic violence
- The geographic proximity of the child’s parents as it relates to caring for the child
- The recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the child if one exists
If the courts grant shared parenting, both parents will then go through the process of determining who is the residential parent for school, child support and parenting time.
Seeking shared parenting in Ohio requires some upfront legwork. Still, with the help of a Ohio Bar Association Certified Family Law Specialist, you can determine what’s in your child’s best interest and work toward a positive resolution.
Get in Touch with a Joint Custody/Shared Parenting Attorney in Ohio
Acquiring joint custody doesn’t have to be a burden. By working with a qualified and trusted attorney, you can have the support you need to navigate the process and work towards a positive resolution for your child. Contact the Law Offices of Kenneth R. Kline LLC for a risk-free consultation in Columbus, Ohio. We offer consultations in person, over the telephone and/or via Zoom.