Although typically painful in the beginning, a divorce can ultimately open doors for future opportunities and happiness. However, before many reach that state of contentment, they must jump through the legal hoops of the divorce process. Like many states, Ohio enforces its own child custody laws but attempts to create the best possible outcome for children involved. Despite these good intentions, some Ohio residents find difficulty adjusting to court-ordered plans.

Last August, a piece in The Akron Beacon Journal recognized the challenges many parents face when untangling child custody arrangements. According to chair members from both the Ohio and Kentucky National Parents Organizations, the differences in family law from state to state can make matters more confusing to those going through separation. Unlike some state laws, wherein joint legal custody is the primary goal, Ohio law does not presume that parents will hold similar and equal parenting roles after divorce. Given the state’s custody statutes, courts generally assign one parent as the primary custodian, while the other parent falls to the wayside with mere visitation rights. The article in the Beacon Journal stresses the importance of having both parents involved in a child’s life, but notes of potential future changes with Ohio’s child custody laws.

According to Ohio’s Revised Code, shared parenting is possible, but can depend entirely on each situation. Courts take into account a number of factors before granting shared parenting, including the filing of a pleading or motion or of shared parenting. Courts also have the power to decide which place of residence is best for a divorcing couple’s children. Depending on the parents’ decisions to withhold or file pleadings or motions, courts may decide to allocate parental duties and rights for the children to only one of the parents. Chapter 3109 also states that courts strive to meet the best interests of children — an aspect that most parents consider the utmost priority.