When parents decide to separate or divorce, they must resolve child custody. Ohio courts review various factors to prioritize your child’s best interests.
Understanding how the state determines child custody can provide clarity during this challenging time.
Best interests of the child standard
Ohio follows the “best interests of the child” standard for child custody. Factors for consideration under this standard include:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Their adjustment to their home, school and community
- The physical and mental health of all individuals involved
The court strives to promote the child’s overall well-being in custody determinations. The judge may consider the wishes of older children depending on maturity level. Courts also consider any parental history of domestic violence, abuse or neglect.
The judge may require parents to submit a parenting plan. This document outlines how the parents intend to share responsibilities and address the child’s needs.
Courts typically encourage parents to work together to develop these plans. If you cannot agree with your coparent, you can submit your own plan for consideration.
Stability and continuity
The child’s healthy adjustment to their home, school and community is vital. Courts favor custody arrangements that create a stable environment. The judge will consider factors such as contact with siblings, extended family and friends.
Parental conduct and cooperation
Parental conduct during divorce can impact the custody decision. Courts assess each parent’s willingness to encourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. They also value cooperation and the ability to communicate effectively about your child.
Researchers at Ohio State University found that children have the best outcomes after divorce when parents have a positive coparenting relationship. You can set the stage for a cooperative environment by collaborating on a custody plan.