When there is a divorce in Ohio and children are involved, it can be an emotional, personal and financial challenge. Disputes over child custody and parenting time can take time, money and cause irreparable harm to the relationships. If the parties can come to a workable agreement for shared parenting time and the circumstances warrant such an agreement, it can be an effective strategy to maintain cordiality and ensure the child fosters a relationship with both parents. Understanding the basics of co-parenting and the necessary accommodations is essential.
Parents’ rights, responsibilities with child medical care and schooling
There are myriad benefits to a shared parenting plan provided the parents can adhere to it. The parents can take part in every critical decision regarding the child. That includes their health, social development, education, medical care and environment. This extends to contact when the child is with the other parent. That can be via telephone, video, email, text message and other means.
When medical care is given, both sides can take part in the child’s care and deciding what is best for his or her well-being. It encompasses all levels of medical care including psychiatric, psychological, when hospitalization is needed and the health care professionals who provide that care. If in-depth care is needed such as a surgical procedure of any kind, psychiatric intervention and second and third opinions as to the way care will be administered. The parents can both be present when these treatments are given. The records should be available for both parents.
Schooling is a fundamental part of any child’s life and this is reflected in the co-parenting plan. To keep both parents involved, they should be able to consult with the teachers, school officials and anyone else taking part in the child’s education. School reports, calendars, programs – all should be shared. If there are extracurricular activities, the parents should be made aware of them, when they will take place, what is involved and be welcome to take part.
Crucial factors with co-parenting
Medical emergencies are an unfortunate occurrence, but with children, they can happen at any time. When a child is injured or suffers an illness or condition making emergency treatment necessary, the parent who has the child at the time can determine what to do, but the other parent must be notified within 24 hours. That includes the issue, the location where the child was taken and other fundamental information. Consultation during non-emergency circumstances is vital.
If a parent is planning a relocation, that should be conveyed to the other parent as this will inevitably impact the custody exchange, the convenience of visitation, a potential change in schooling and who provides medical care and much more.
Seeking legal assistance for co-parenting issues is important
While there are some cases in which the couple is amicable or even friendly and can agree on co-parenting issues without rancor or disagreement, many cases are not like that. Regardless of the relationship between the parents, the child’s best interests should come first. To forge a workable parenting plan in which the sides are sharing custody and decision-making responsibility, it is wise to have legal assistance from the start. A firm with experience in family law, child custody and visitation may be able to address any challenge that arises. Calling for advice and representation is the first step.