During divorce, one of the most important issues parents have questions about is how custody will be determined. Well, if parents are able to work together and reach an agreement regarding child custody, an Ohio court will typically approve it, so long as the custody arrangement is in the child’s best interests.
However, if the parents are unable to come to an agreement on child custody, the decision may be left up to the court. Similarly, the court’s primary concern when resolving child custody disputes is the best interest of the child. Under Ohio law, a court is free to examine “all relevant factors” when determining what custody arrangement is in a child’s best interest, including, but certainly not limited to:
- The child’s wishes, as expressed to the court
- The child’s existing relationships and interactions with his or her parents, siblings and extended family members
- The child’s home, school and community life
- The physical and mental health of all parties involved, including the child and parents
- The parents’ wishes
- Whether one parent is more likely to honor a court-approved visitation or parenting-time schedule
- Whether one parent has failed to make all child support payments required under an existing child support order
- The ability of each parent to cooperate and to encourage a loving relationship between the child and the other parent
- Any history of domestic violence or child abuse
- The geographical proximity of the parents to each other
While divorce can be hard on soon-to-be ex-spouses, it is important to remember that it can be even harder on any children involved — meaning parents need to be concerned with not only protecting their rights, but also the well-being of their children. This can be a difficult line to walk, which is why you should always contact an experienced child custody attorney should you have any questions.