When you file for divorce in Ohio, there are a host of terms that must be negotiated before the divorce settlement is finalized. One of the most difficult and important terms is that of child custody. Divorce can be extremely hard for children, who are often the unwilling participants of the separation. Yet, the right type of custody may help to minimize the effects of divorce on the children and help them maintain a solid relationship with both parents.
Physical custody describes which parent the child resides with. Joint physical custody is when the child lives with one parent at certain times and then lives with the other parent at other times. This often occurs when the child is small or the parents live close enough to ensure the child is able to attend school from both residences. Sole physical custody is when the child resides with one parent primarily, and then has visitation with the other parent. Often times the child will see the non-custodial parent every other weekend, one night during the week, alternating holidays and for half of the summer.
Legal custody, on the other hand, describes which parent will have a hand in making long-term decisions regarding the child’s life and wellbeing. This includes decisions on medical treatment, religion and education. In many cases, the judge will award joint legal custody, meaning both parents will work together when making these types of decisions. However, if one parent is unfit to do so, sole legal custody may be awarded.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.