Top Ohio Child Custody Questions: Part 1

Learn how Columbus family law affects your parental rights

Some of the toughest questions in ending a marriage occur when it comes time to discuss custody. Dividing your assets during a divorce might be difficult, but how do you divide your children? Who gets the kids? What kind of time will you or your ex-spouse have with them? How do you protect your child from the effects of divorce? Who pays child support? Columbus family law may lay the groundwork for child custody, but the dedicated family attorneys at Babbitt & Dahlberg fight for your interests.

1. What factors does a court consider when determining child custody?

Contrary to popular belief, Ohio law doesn’t establish an age at which children can choose which parent to live with. Instead, the court looks at the issue of custody on a case-by-case basis. While the court is not allowed to give a parent preference because of that parent’s financial status, the court will consider a number of factors, including:


2. What is sole custody versus shared parenting?

In a situation where one parent has “sole custody” of the child or children, that parent is designated as the “residential parent and legal custodian” and the other parent is designated as the “non-residential parent” or the “non-custodial parent.” Residential parents bear the weight of major decision making, such as schooling, medical care and religion.   By contrast, when the parents are designated as “shared parents,”  both parents are the “residential parent and legal custodian” during the time that each parent is exercising parenting time..For school district residency and tuition, one parent’s residence is typically designated as the child’s residence.  Unlike a sole custodian, both parents in a shared parenting context may be vested with the power to make major decisions regarding their children – regardless of the amount of time spent with that parent.

In cases of sole custody, the non-residential parent generally has a regular schedule of parenting time with the child or children. Many courts, including Franklin County, have a standard parenting time order which provides for parenting time on alternate weekends and on one or more weekdays each week. Parents may also have different support obligations when one has sole custody, with the non-residential parent paying child support to the residential parent.

In shared parenting arrangements, although neither party is the “non-residential parent,” there may be also be a regular parenting schedule observed by the parties. Some shared parents seek to spend approximately equal time with the child or children, although the amount of time spent has little to do with whether a parent is a “shared parent” or not.


3. I have sole custody of my children. Can my ex who lives in another state get our custody order changed?

The vast majority of states and the District of Columbia have enacted a statute called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which sets standards for when a Court may make a custody determination and when a court must defer to an existing determination from another state.

Best-selling author and divorce mediator, Sean Collinson, writes that “having the same law in all states helps standardize how custody decrees are treated. It also helps solve many problems created by kidnapping or disagreements over custody between parents living in different states.”

In general, a state may make a custody decision about a child only if it meets one of the following standards (in order of preference):

If a state cannot meet one of these guidelines, its courts cannot make a custody award, even if the child is present in the state. On the other hand, if more than one state meets the above standards, the law specifies that one state’s ruling may trump the other’s.

Get advice from the Columbus family law experts

Don’t become overwhelmed with your child custody matters. When it comes to custody rights or learning how to protect your kids from the effects of divorce, turn to the lawyers at Babbitt & Dahlberg and let us fight for your custodial rights. Get in touch with us at 614-228-4200 or fill out our quick online form to schedule a consultation today.

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