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How is a Shared Parenting Agreement Determined in Ohio?

When parents in Ohio decide to end their marriage, they are faced with many decisions that need to be made regarding their children. Child custody is not always a simple arrangement to agree to. Furthermore, it is often the case that parents will need to alter or modify a custody arrangement, but it is important to establish the type of plan they want to enter into. Regarding shared parenting agreements, parents often question how this custody plan is determined.

According to section 3109.04 of the Ohio Revised Code, the parents may jointly file a proposed allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the child's needs and care with the court. This document is either an agreement negotiated by the parents, the results of mediation or orders by the court. The court will step in to determine a shared parenting plan if the parents cannot agree to one or the plan they came up with is not in the best interest of the child.

In some cases, only one parent will file a motion for shared parenting. If the court determines that the arrangement is in the best interest of the child, the court could approve the custody arrangement even though the other parent did not file a motion.

In order to see to it that the best interests of the child are met by the arrangement or any future modifications of an approved custody arrangement, the court has the discretion to interview the child and even name a guardian ad litem for the child. This will help the court allocate the appropriate amount of parenting time for each parent.

Divorce is often a difficult time for everyone involved. Understanding how to address child custody issues and how the process works will help both the parents and the children. Those unsure of their options or are seeking to enforce or modify a current custody order should seek advice.

Source: Codes.Ohio.gov, "3109.04 Allocating parental rights and responsibilities for care of children - shared parenting," accessed on Oct. 27, 2014

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