Sole custody is a type of child custody in Ohio that parents can fight for, whether they are unmarried or going through a divorce. Sole custody is defined as one parent having the exclusive legal and physical custody of their children. This is a very rare arrangement these days, unless the other parent has been deemed unfit or incapable of having any responsibility over their children.
When Might Sole Child Custody Be Granted To A Parent?
Under Ohio family law, the driving factor in determining child custody arrangements is the best interest of the child. Typically, courts believe that having both parents involved in the child’s upbringing is in the child’s best interest. Not surprisingly, the outcome of most child custody cases is shared parenting, sometimes referred to as joint custody, between the two parents. Shared parenting does not necessarily mean equal parenting time for both parents, but it tends to be close in many cases.
However, there are situations when shared parenting is not appropriate or in the best interest of the child. If one parent is absent or incarcerated, sole child custody is a likelihood. If one parent is any sort of threat to the child, sole custody may be necessary for the child’s safety. This is common in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse allegations. Similarly, parents with ongoing drug or alcohol addiction issues or criminal histories may face challenges in child custody cases.
What Rights Does The Parent With Sole Custody Have?
The parent with sole custody would have both sole legal custody and sole physical custody.
Sole legal custody is when one parent is awarded the sole rights to make decisions for the child. These decisions involve healthcare, education, religious upbringing, moral development and much more. For example, the parent with sole legal custody will have the exclusive right to determine where, how and by whom the child will receive medical treatment. The non-custodial parent may not be given a say.
Sole physical custody is when one parent is awarded the sole rights to have the child reside with him or her all the time. There is no shared residency, but visitation can occur.
One of the biggest benefits of having sole custody in Ohio is the fact that the parent with sole custody does not have to consult with the other parent regarding the children. This can save time and stress, minimizing the opportunity for disputes over things like where the child should be schooled.
However, sole custody does not impact the visitation rights of the other parent. These will be determined by the judge presiding over the child custody case, or reached through agreement between the parents.
What Rights Does The Non-Custodial Parent Have?
When sole custody is awarded to a parent, the other parent is known as the non-custodial parent. This means they do not have physical or legal custody over the children. The non-custodial parent has no official right to make decisions over things like church attendance or healthcare. The parent with sole custody may choose to consult the non-custodial parent in these matters, but has no obligation to do so.
The non-custodial parent might be awarded visitation rights, meaning the non-custodial parent could still be involved in the child’s life. In some cases, such as those involving allegations of domestic violence or child abuse, visitation could be supervised.
Parental Relocation In Sole Custody Situations
A common misconception about sole custody is that the parent with sole custody can relocate with the child without telling the other parent or without the permission of the court. If the other parent has visitation rights, the court will need to address the issue. During this time, the court will issue a temporary order that keeps status quo in place until a ruling is made about relocating the child.
Learn More About Your Child Custody Options In A Free Consultation
Going through a child custody case in Columbus, Ohio? An experienced family law attorney can answer all of your questions about child custody and sole custody. Call 614-721-6175 or send us an email today.
Source: FindLaw, “Sole Custody,” accessed May 16, 2017