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Joint custody and children's best interest

Children's needs often take top priority for parents. The moment a little one enters a family, he or she may become a central focus, gaining unlimited attention and care. If Ohio couples start having conflict, though, children's needs may lose their central place in family life. When families split, however, it is important for parents to keep the kids' best interests at the forefront when making future plans.

In Ohio, how courts decide what is best for children, including child custody arrangements, depends on several factors. The Child Welfare Information Gateway outlines those factors, explaining other criteria may play into decisions as well. 

Considerations for child custody decisions

If a child is old enough and appropriately mature, the Gateway notes, courts will consider what he or she prefers. Relationships kids have with siblings, parents, grandparents and others also matter. While a judge is not likely to grant visitation or custody to someone who has no prior relationship with a child, he or she is often more inclined to allow both if healthy interaction has been the norm. 

Lastly, court proceedings prioritize the child's history and previous living arrangements. For example, if children have been with family members their entire lives and never entered a public children's service agency, judges will consider this when determining which child custody arrangement is in their best interest.

Joint custody as a viable option

Sometimes parents worry about child custody provisions that include kids packing their bags every week for a few nights at the other parent's home. According to Time's health advice, however, research shows joint custody to be one of the best arrangements for developing emotionally healthy children. 

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