Principles of child custody and visitation are fairly uniform nationwide, including here in Ohio. Despite minor twists and turns from state to state, child custody primarily operates on finding the seemingly talismanic solution of doing what is in the best interest of the children. Although Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have been separated and in a divorce action for about three years, the finalization of the papers this past week appears to have been peaceful enough. The only issue reported was the agreement by the parties to a child custody agreement that is based on joint custody of the couple’s two 6-year-old twins.
Joint custody means a sharing of decision-making with respect to the health, education, and welfare of the children. It doesn’t mean that the children will be with each parent for an equal number of hours. In this case, Anthony will get seven days a month, and Lopez will have them the rest of the time. Part of the agreement is that child support and spousal support were not needed. That fact makes the picture simpler and the prospects for success greater.
However, Anthony nonetheless has separate well-publicized child support issues with another former spouse. In that matter, a judge has issued a proposed order compelling him to increase support payments for his two sons, ages 10 and 13, to almost $27,000 per month. This illustrates the importance of parental income in the determination of child support.
Because Lopez arguably makes as much or more than Anthony, the parties recognize the futility of arguing over the issue. With his other former spouse, however, her apparent lack of income warrants a hefty monthly payment by the substantially wealthier parent. With respect to the Lopez-Anthony matter, a Los Angeles judge finalized the divorce and entered the joint custody agreement of record.
Generally, the same principles of child custody law apply in Ohio and in all other states. Outcomes are generally expected to be similar from state to state. Accordingly, whenever an amicable agreement can be achieved, it is preferable to litigation. It’s easier for all concerned, including being less stressful on the children.
Source: CBS News, "Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony finalize divorce", , June 19, 2014