Deciding Parenting Issues in a Divorce

Deciding Parenting Issues in a Divorce

For parents who can’t agree, a divorce court must decide the rights and responsibilities of parents.  The law is in the Ohio Revised Code at Section 3109.04.  Read the law for yourself if you want to know more.   

A court will decide parenting rights and responsibilities.  The decision is based on the ‘best interests of a child.’ The court can order shared parenting.  Or the court can name one parent as the sole residential parent and legal custodian.

In shared parenting, both parents have custody of the children with a parenting schedule.   If the child is school age, then one parent must be chosen as the residential parent for school purposes.

The court can name one residential parent and legal custodian.  The other parent has rights to companionship or visitation. 

A court must consider these factors in deciding a child’s ‘best interest’:

  1. each parent’s wishes;
  2. the child’s wishes;
  3. the child’s interaction with the parents, siblings, and others;
  4. the child’s adjustment to the home, school and community;
  5. the mental and physical health of all persons involved;
  6. the parent most likely to make visitation easier;
  7. whether a parent has failed to pay child support;
  8. whether the custodial parent has willfully denied visitation to the other parent;
  9. whether either parent is planning to move out of state; and
  10. whether either parent has abused a child or a family or household member.

The court may interview the children privately.   A child’s wishes are only one of the many factors in deciding what is in the child’s ‘best interest.’  The court must interview a child if either parent requests it. 

The court may appoint a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem assists the court in making a custody determination.  The guardian ad litem or a court custody employee may investigate the child’s home and school.  The guardian ad litem may interview teachers, parents, the child and others.  The guardian ad litem will make a recommendation to the court as to what is in the best interest of the child. The court may also order physical or mental examinations of the parents or child.  


This article is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Reviewed March 2013.