Child custody cases in Ohio focus on the best interest of the child. This is by design. The court sets the child’s welfare as the top priority instead of focusing on the best interest of the parents.
In this article, we’ll discuss the factors that will influence a judge when deciding upon the custody arrangement of a child of divorce. By understanding these influences, you may come to a better understanding of how to achieve your ideal outcome when it comes to the welfare of your child.
Types of Custody
Parents may be awarded one of two types of child custody; legal custody or physical custody. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, while legal custody refers to decision/making. The parents may split both types of custody or enter a very common arrangement where one parent is awarded physical custody while both maintain legal custody. Usually, the noncustodial parent, in this case, would then have a separate arrangement that outlines their “parenting time,” or what was once referred to as “visitation rights.”
The Mental and Physical Health of Each Parent
Above all, judges seek to place children into stable homes. The mental and physical health of the parent is a way to assess the stability of their home life. A parent who has moved repeatedly from place to place may be evaluated as unstable in the eyes of the court. Causing the child to change schools and communities regularly may cause them a great deal of anxiety.
Parents with physical ailments should likewise have no trouble getting custody of their children unless the ailment will specifically impact the child’s safety or the stability of the home. If transportation of the child is affected by the disorder, it is possible for a judge to consider it as a determining factor. In the majority of cases, however, other measures can be taken to ensure the child attends school and extracurricular activities. Therefore, a parent’s mobility should not sway a court’s decision much, if at all.
Each Parent’s Criminal History
A parent’s criminal history can carry a great deal of weight when assigning custody of their child. Crimes that involve violence or drug offenses may disqualify a parent from custody altogether. The timing of the criminal offense will be key, however. A crime committed several years ago will hold less sway over the judge’s decision than a crime that just occurred. Again, the judge’s goal is to place the child into the most stable and nurturing environment available to them at the time. A parent with no criminal history will be preferable to one that has been convicted of multiple crimes.
The Preference of the Child
The child’s preference as to who they wish to live with is only taken into consideration by the court if they are of a particular age and maturity level. A teenager who wishes to live with one parent over the other will usually have their opinion considered by the court. A young child, however, may not understand what is best for them in the long run. A judge’s job in situations like these is to place the child in a home where their needs are met, even if that conflicts with their desires.
If you are concerned about an upcoming custody hearing, or you are considering divorce and have questions about custody, Garretson & Holcomb, LLC can help. Call us today at (513) 863-6600.