In Ohio, the term “shared parenting” is often used, but you may have also heard it referred to as “joint custody.” Shared parenting allocates the parental rights and responsibilities of the children to both parents; but that does not necessarily mean that everything is equal. “Shared parenting” specifically refers to the ability of both parents to participate in major decisions for the child, such as medical care. When the parties agree to shared parenting, a Shared Parenting Plan is put into place, which spells out all issues in caring for the children. Such provisions might include parenting time (who is caring for the children on certain days and times), child support, decision-making, health insurance, and other miscellaneous issues. In order for the Court to grant shared parenting, the parents must be able to keep the best interests of the child in mind by cooperating with each other and encouraging the children to have a strong relationship with the other parent.
In some custody cases, the children have a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem (GAL) who is tasked with investigating their best interest. If you are unfamiliar with what a GAL is, you can read our article “What Is a Guardian ad Litem” to better understand what role a GAL plays in custody cases. The Court will also consider the Guardian ad Litem’s recommendations regarding shared parenting when making a decision.
Most parents who enter into a Shared Parenting Plan are able to come to a workable agreement on their own or with the help of attorneys. If you would like to discuss how shared parenting could work in your situation, please call our office at (614) 567-3031 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.