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Child Custody

How Is Child Custody Decided in Ohio?

Child custody is a top issue in many divorces. When making a custody determination, the court must determine what is in “the best interest of the child”. While the principle is the same, Ohio law now uses “parental rights and responsibilities” to refer to “custody.” There are two main types of allocations of these rights and responsibilities determined in court, as well as several factors a court may consider when making these decisions.

Types of Child Custody in Ohio

When someone mentions the term “custody,” they could mean either physical or legal custody depending upon the jurisdiction. Physical custody generally refers to the parent the child lives with, while legal custody generally refers to the ability of a parent to make important decisions on behalf of the child such as medical and schooling.

In the context of an Ohio divorce case, however, the term “custody” means legal custody.

Legal custody between parents can also be either sole or shared. If legal custody is shared, it means that both parents together have the authority to make decisions for their child concerning medical care, religion, and education, also known as “shared parenting.” If the court designates one parent as the sole legal custodian of a child, that parent has primary decision-making authority for the child.

Factors Contributing to Custody Decisions in Ohio

Judges will listen to arguments for custody and consider several factors in the final decision:

  • parental physical and mental well-being
  • siblings and keeping the family together
  • the child’s relationship with each parent
  • each parent’s ability to provide for the child physically, emotionally, and mentally
  • location of the child’s school
  • each parent’s work schedule

Parenting Time in Ohio Custody Decisions

After a custody determination, the nonresidential and/or noncustodial parent receives “parenting time” (previously referred to as “visitation”) with the child, giving them the right to see the child following a planned schedule. These agreements vary widely and are unique to each family’s situation.


Above all, professional advice can go a long way towards a favorable outcome in a custody dispute. The knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC can offer trusted and professional guidance through these contentious battles. Call us at (513) 863-6600 to learn more.

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