Determining Child Custody

Helping You With Child Custody Matters

Your children are important to you, and you want to be the best parent you can possibly be. If you are going through a divorce, you may question what your future with your children looks like.

At The Law Offices of Jason A. Showen, LLC, we believe in fighting to maintain the bond between parents and children. We will answer your questions regarding custody options and fight for what is in the best interest of you and your children.

What Types Of Custody Are There?

The purpose of a child custody arrangement is to allocate the rights and responsibilities of each parent. In some cases, sole or primary custody will be granted. In these instances, one parent maintains exclusive rights over the child both legally and physically. The parent awarded sole custody is known as the custodial parent, and the other parent is known as noncustodial.  This custody arrangement is less common and is often based on extenuating factors such as a history of violence, drug use or instability.

When possible, courts issue an award for shared parenting. This is a court-ordered plan that allocates rights and responsibilities over minor children to both parents. The authority to make important decisions for the child is shared by both parents. This custody arrangement requires both parents to work jointly to determine what is in the best interest of their child. 

The court will look at several factors to determine if shared parenting is the best option for your family. Factors the court considers includes:

  • The ability of each parent to work together and make responsible decisions regarding the child
  • The ability of each parent to encourage a loving relationship between the child and other parent
  • Past history of abuse, violence or criminal record of each parent
  • Geographic distance between each parent

If a guardian ad litem is appointed, all recommendations of the guardian ad litem are also considered by the court. 

How Is Custody Determined?

In Ohio, if you are not married, sole custody is automatically granted to the mother until paternity is established by the father, and the father then petitions the court to have parental rights allocated. 

When two parents are divorcing, the process starts differently because each parent has equal footing. The process of divorce dismantles an established family structure. As the family transitions, it is common for disputes among parents to arise. Both parents will file a motion and plan for child custody as part of the divorce process. Parents can work together to create a parenting plan and have it reviewed by the judge. In instances where both parents can’t agree, the court will determine custody based on what is in the best interest of your children. As you petition for custody, it is vital that you take into account the impact your arrangement will have on your child, both right now and well into the future. 

The court will typically determine the wishes of each parent and review how different each party’s views are in terms of a custody agreement. Then, they will take action to determine custody. In some cases, in-court services will be used to assess the situation. In other instances, a guardian ad litem will be appointed. Depending on the circumstances, your children may be interviewed by the court.

Overall, the court will make a decision based on what they believe is in the best interest of your child. A few parameters used to determine their best interests include:

  • The opinions and wishes of each parent
  • The wishes of the child
  • Earning ability of each parent
  • Past conduct of each parent
  • Mental and physical health of each parent
  • The relationship the child has with each parent
  • Family relationships
  • Overall ability to care for the children

In some cases, parents may have to submit medical or psychiatric evidence to back any claims or answer concerns of the court. Preparations for a child custody case often take significant time and effort. The best way to present your case is with objective information that backs your argument. In the end, the judge will make a decision based on their interpretation of the statute and circumstances as presented to them. 

We Will Fight For Your Children

If you are going through a divorce or need to secure rights of your child, we can help. Call our office at 513-282-6080 to get started. You can also schedule a consultation by entering your information into our contact form, and we will be in touch. Located in Lebanon, we serve families in the surrounding areas including Clinton and Clermont counties.