Child custody issues may be one of the most challenging aspects of a marital breakup. Understanding your options in Ohio can help you to protect your family’s future and the well-being of your children.
There are several ways to legally end your marriage in Ohio, including marriage dissolution and divorce. If you and your spouse have children, both proceedings involve child custody arrangements.
A dissolution of marriage is an uncontested divorce. Dissolution can be a simpler and less expensive way to end your marriage. Dissolution is a faster process than a contested divorce and is usually completed in 30 to 90 days. However, you and your spouse must agree on all decisions, including child custody. If you and your spouse cannot agree on all the required settlements, your other option could be divorce.
A divorce involving children may require two years to finalize, especially during contentious child custody disputes. Whenever possible, Ohio courts attempt to “ensure the opportunity for both parents to have frequent and continuing contact with the child . . .” by awarding joint custody, which Ohio law defines as “shared parenting.” If spouses cannot agree on shared parenting, complex criteria applied by the court may determine the final child custody plans.
Regardless of which method you may choose to end your marriage, learning the facts about child custody can enable you to define your parenting plan. You and your spouse can then provide a more secure transition for your children during a difficult time.