Many post-divorce custody arrangements in Ohio divide the child’s time with each parent more or less equally. Research strongly supports shared child custody after the dissolution of a marriage or relationship. Children tend to have better self-esteem and mental health when they maintain relationships with both parents. To pursue these positive outcomes, parents need to keep communication channels open and develop a parenting plan that limits stress on the kids.

The needs of children vary depending on their age. Younger children under 10 might require more help adapting to a lifestyle that requires that they move back and forth between parental households. Parents should tell them a few days in advance before they switch to the other parent’s house to reduce feelings of disruption. Parents should frame time spent with the other parent in a positive light. Any differences and disagreements that they possess should not be shared with the children.

As children get older, the parenting plan might need to be more flexible. Teenagers naturally want more autonomy and will desire the freedom to spend extra time with friends. School and extracurricular activities might also require occasional adjustments to the custody schedule. Older children might also want their parents to respect their requests for changes in the schedule.

Regardless of their age, all children need to know that their parents love them and make their happiness a priority. Legal counsel might help a parent develop a co-parenting plan that puts everyone on the path to success. An attorney familiar with child custody issues might explain how to forge a thorough plan that addresses holidays and vacations while allowing for some flexibility when needed.