Divorce is a life-changing event. You understand that going back to being single will certainly cause a number of changes, but you also understand that your children will face numerous alterations in their lives as well. You may think it is a bit unfair that they have no choice in the matter, but you will still try to do what is best for them.
In particular, you likely have concerns about how child custody proceedings will turn out in your case. You and the other parent may not necessarily have any bad blood between the two of you, but you may still feel as if you are the better fit for having primary custody.
How is custody decided?
In many cases, parents can work together to come to custody terms by agreeing to co-parent and share the responsibilities of caring for the children. Even if parents make these arrangements outside of court, a judge must approve any agreements in order for them to be legally binding. In the event that you and your soon-to-be ex cannot agree to terms, the court will decide who gets primary custody. Some considerations that go into this decision include the following:
- Which parent plans and cooks meals
- Which parent handles the children’s bathing and hygiene tasks
- Which parent plans and participates in the children’s activities
- Which parent helps with homework and helps teach basic skills
- Which parent makes the majority of health care decisions
In essence, the court will consider these details in order to determine which parent is the primary caregiver. In some households, one parent will handle the majority of these tasks, and in others, the parents share the responsibilities as closely as possible. Of course, other factors go into the court’s decision as well.
What else to consider
In addition to looking at who provides the most care, the court will also go over these details:
- The living arrangements of each parent
- Any drug or alcohol abuse
- Physical and mental health of the parents
- Any special needs or concerns of the children
- Relationships with other household members
- Children’s wishes, if they are old enough to decide
You want the best for your children, and the idea of coming up with a suitable custody agreement can be intimidating. Fortunately, you can receive help with your case from an experienced family law attorney who can explain how Ohio state laws will come into play and how you can do your best to protect your parental rights.