Divorcing couples often fight over many issues during the divorce, but the battle over custody of the children often makes for the most contentious disagreements. In some cases, parents are able to put their differences aside and come up with a shared parenting plan for the court’s approval. However, if parents are not able to agree, the courts will step in and determine child custody based on the best interests of the child.
Nowadays, Ohio courts generally tend to encourage shared parenting, as children typically benefit from having both parents in their lives as much as possible after the divorce. When parents split up and move to different houses, it may seem inevitable that the child will lose some time with each parent. However, by implementing a shared parenting plan, both parents can continue to stay actively involved in the child’s life as much as possible.
Under Ohio Revised Code, Section 3109.04, shared parenting, or joint custody, allows for both parents to stay involved in the child’s life. In a shared parenting plan agreement, both parents will be deemed ‘residential parents’ and will share equal ability to make decisions for the child.
As for physical custody, shared parenting does not mean that the child will split his or her time evenly between two parent households. Stability is extremely important for children, particularly children of divorce. Experts have found that shuffling a child back and forth between houses every other day may not conducive to that.
However, every situation is different and will depend on a number of factors, including how far apart the parents live from one another. The good part about a shared parenting agreement is that it allows for flexibility. For some families, it may be best for the child to switch houses every other week. For other families, the child may spend weekdays in one house and weekends in another.
Will I have to pay child support if we have a shared parenting plan?
Because shared parenting does not necessarily mean 50-50 custody, one parent may still have to pay child support even in a shared parenting arrangement. Courts will consider the income of both parents, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and the child’s needs to determine whether child support is necessary.
Parents looking to establish a shared parenting plan, can start here. The plan will include custody, parenting time, child support, health insurance, and other important details.