In Ohio, “shared parenting” means joint custody. Shared parenting can be explained as a parenting agreement in which both parents equally share in all or some of the decision-making process as it pertains to the minor child or children. This means that the parents must confer in good faith about issues such as:
- Daycare / School enrollment
- Choice of doctors
- Obtaining mental health counseling
- Participation in religious activities
- Participation in extra-curricular activities
- Out of state or country travel
Shared parenting, however, does not necessarily mean equal 50/50 parenting time. Additionally, shared parenting also does not necessarily mean that there is no exchange of child support. Both parenting time and child support will depend on each parent’s circumstances and the circumstance of your individual case.
How is Shared Parenting decided?
In absence of an agreement between the parents, when determining if shared parenting is suitable in your case, the court must consider the best interest factors as well as consider some additional statutory factors.
The best interest factors include an examination of the following factor:
- The wishes of the child’s parents regarding the child’s care;
- If the court has interviewed the child in chambers regarding the child’s wishes and concerns as to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities concerning the child, the wishes and concerns of the child, as expressed to the court
- The child’s interaction and interrelationship with the child’s parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
- The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the situation;
- The parent more likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time rights or visitation and companionship rights;
- Whether either parent has failed to make all child support payments, including all arrearages, that are required of that parent pursuant to a child support order under which that parent is an obligor;
- Whether either parent or a member of the household has been convicted or pleaded guilty to a criminal offense that resulted in child abuse or child neglect; was the perpetrator of said abuse or neglect; has been convicted or pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge or a sexually oriented offense, or has caused physical harm to a member of the family or the household;
- Whether the residential parent or one of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree has continuously and willfully denied the other parent’s right to parenting time in accordance with an order of the court;
- Whether either parent has established a residence, or is planning to establish a residence, outside this state.
The desire for shared parenting also includes an examination of these additional factors:
- The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly, with respect to the children;
- The ability of each parent to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent;
- Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, other domestic violence, or parental kidnapping by either parent;
- The geographic proximity of the parents to each other, as the proximity relates to the practical considerations of shared parenting;
- The recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the child, if the child has a guardian ad litem.
What should be included in my Shared Parenting Plan?
If both parents agree that shared parenting is best for the child(ren), the parents should then work together to create a shared parenting plan that outlines exactly how they are going to parent their child(ren). A Shared Parenting Plan should include the following provisions:
- Parenting time schedule (this does not have to be a 50 / 50 schedule)
- Medical responsibilities (while both parents should confer in good faith, one parent’s decision should ultimately control if the event both parents cannot agree)
- Healthcare providers
- Daycare and schooling decisions
- Vacation schedule and procedures
- Health Insurance coverage
- Child support (shared parenting could include a child support payment)
- Tax exemptions
- Relocation and removal of the child from the area
- Records access
- Day care access
- School activities access
- Other issues to consider in your plan:
- Mediation of disputes
- Communication methods
- Last name the child will use
- Child’s general appearance (i.e. haircuts, piercings)
- Significant others
Questions about shared parenting? Schedule An Appointment Today!
At Kirkland & Sommers, Co. LPA., located in Dayton and West Chester, Ohio, divorce and family law is not just something we do…it is all we do! To learn more, go to our website www.KirklandSommers.com. Or, please contact us at (937) 223-0697 or (513) 563-3166 to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation.