Before Ohioans take the step to file for divorce, they have to consider many issues, the outcomes of which may reshape their lives. These individuals have to think about how property division and alimony determinations will affect their financial security once the divorce is finalized, and they have to consider how marriage dissolution will impact their contact with their children. Child custody disputes are often the most heated disputes during the divorce process, as each parent may feel that he or she is better suited to provide for the children's needs. Therefore, before seeking divorce, it may be a good idea to familiarize one's self with some of the legal terminology surrounding this issue.
This week we will briefly look at legal custody. Child custody is broken into two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the child will live and it may be joint or sole. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to a parent's right to make long-term decisions related to how the child is raised. This includes choices about education, medical care and religious upbringing.
In many instances, legal custody is shared between the child's parents. This means that each parent has the right to make these decisions, and major life decisions cannot be made without consulting the other parent. However, if it can be shown that one parent is unfit or incapable of making these types of choices, then a court may award the other parent sole legal custody.
Divorce can be extremely hard on a child. Therefore, finding a child custody arrangement that best supports his or her interests is paramount. There may be a disagreement about what kind of arrangement is suitable, but by having an attorney by one's side, a parent can ensure that his or her legal rights are protected and that their idea of a custody arrangement is presented as persuasively as possible given the circumstances.
Source: FindLaw, "Legal Custody," accessed on Dec, 6, 2015