Understanding the Different Types of Child Custody In Ohio: A Comprehensive Guide

Oct 25, 2023

If you recently went through a divorce or are still in the process of divorcing your spouse, you likely experienced a tumultuous array of emotions each step of the way. You may have managed to remain on relatively good terms with your ex, or you and your ex may have faced disputes and tension at every corner. Either way, if you and your spouse shared children, matters of custody have the potential to bring up a whole new set of feelings and conflicts that your divorce may not have even scratched the surface of.

Every parent wants to secure their time with their children and ensure that they are able to maintain their relationship with them, and the first way this is accomplished is by having a solid understanding of how custody works in the state of Ohio, so that both you and your custody attorney can set and work toward clear goals.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the different types of custody and the considerations that need to be made for each, so that you are able to make the most informed decisions when seeking a custody arrangement that fits the needs of your family.

Types Of Child Custody In Ohio

Similar to other states, Ohio is slowly moving away from using terms like “custody” and “visitation.” In the past, legal custody has referred to a parent’s authority to make important decisions regarding their child’s upbringing, such as where they will go to school, what type of healthcare they will receive, what religion they will practice, and more. This authority is now being referred to as parental rights and responsibilities. Two parents may share the parental rights and responsibilities (shared parenting), though that does not necessarily mean that they will have an equal amount of time with the child, or that they will have an equal say in every child-related decision. With shared parenting, each parent is referred to as the child’s custodial parent.

When one parent has the primary decision-making rights and responsibilities for their child, the state of Ohio refers to that parent as the residential parent and the legal custodian of the child (traditionally known as “full” or “sole” custody). However, this does not mean that the other parent will not have any parental rights or responsibilities, as a judge may assign them specific roles.

Similarly, the parent whom the child lived with for the majority of the time was historically referred to as the parent who had physical custody, while the other parent’s time with the child was referred to as their visitation time. Now, the time that the child spends with each parent is referred to as parenting time. Even if a judge designates one parent as the legal custodian of the child, the other parent is still entitled to some parenting time, unless it is not in the child’s best interest.

Parenting Plans 

Parents can submit a request for shared parenting together or separately by including a written parenting plan as part of the paperwork when they file for divorce. This written plan should include a schedule for the parenting time and detail how the parents will make important decisions related to their children. As long as the judge determines that it meets the best interests of the children, they will approve the plan, or modify it if necessary. The minimum requirements for parenting plans in Ohio are:

  • Living arrangements
  • Child support obligations
  • Medical and dental care
  • School placement
  • A schedule detailing when each parent will have the child for legal holidays, school holidays, and other special occasions

A more detailed parenting plan may seek to avoid future conflict by also including:

  • Child care
  • Transportation
  • Religious upbringing
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Income tax dependency
  • Restrictions on out-of-state and international travel with the children
  • And more.

A skilled child custody attorney can help you draft your parenting plan or assist both you and your ex-spouse in the mediation process to come up with a beneficial plan together.

Advantages And Potential Drawbacks Of Shared Parenting Rights And Responsibilities 

When both parents are involved in the lives of their children and are able to spend quality time with them, it can foster a sense of stability and emotional support. Studies show that children who live and share time with both parents have less behavior and emotional problems, higher self-esteem, and better school performance than those in sole custody arrangements. Shared parenting can also ease the emotional and mental impact of a divorce. As much of a transition as divorce is for adults, it is even more so for children, so continuing to have both parents involved can ease the trauma of this disruption.

On the other hand, shared parenting could still cause a child to experience some instability as they are constantly moving back-and-forth between two homes, and also might make them feel as if they are caught in the middle of the conflict that exists between their parents. If tensions are especially high, there is also a risk that one parent could manipulate their child into turning against their other parent, which is called parental alienation.

Advantages And Potential Drawbacks Of Sole Custody

When one parent acts as the legal custodian and the other has a set amount of parenting time, a child can experience consistency, as they rarely have to move back-and-forth between homes. The custodial parent can also maintain decision-making power and minimize contact for themselves and their children with a co-parent who is neglectful or even abusive.

However, it is important to know that when one parent holds most of the legal authority, resentment between both parents can build and even begin to affect the relationship each of them have with their child. In addition, parenting alone can inflict feelings of loneliness and greatly reduce the amount of emotional support one receives.

Contact Dailey Law Offices For Help Navigating Difficult Custody Matters

Our firm is devoted to providing clients with personalized legal services that meet your unique needs. We will sit down to discuss your current circumstances, have an honest discussion about where you are versus where you want to be, and explore the possible strategies that can get us there, together. Our lead attorney, Stephanie Dailey, has over 18 years of experience and has successfully resolved hundreds of cases with quality legal services. Call today to schedule a free consultation and let us apply our seasoned knowledge and skill to your custody case.