According to official Ohio statistics, almost 30,000 divorces happened in the state in 2020. The process of divorce often requires navigating difficult and emotional territory, especially when you have children. Establishing a fair and appropriate custody agreement can cause disputes, and it can become even more complicated when a spouse refuses to accept the terms of the proposed agreement.
In Ohio, like in many states, the court’s primary goal in deciding custody matters is to protect the best interests of the child or children involved. If you find yourself dealing with a resistant spouse during a custody dispute, here are a few steps to take.
Learn about Ohio child custody laws
Ohio courts have jurisdiction over child custody cases, and they base their decisions on several factors. These include the child’s wishes (if the child is mature enough to express a reasonable preference), the child’s relationship with each parent, the health and safety of the child and each parent’s willingness to cooperate and co-parent.
If your spouse refuses to accept the custody agreement, understand that the courts prioritize the child’s best interests. Keep your focus on demonstrating that the proposed custody agreement serves your child’s needs and is in their best interest.
Seek mediation as a solution
When disagreements about custody arrangements arise, mediation can be a beneficial option. Mediators are neutral third parties who assist in facilitating conversation and compromise between the divorcing parties. Mediation aims to help both parties reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the child.
When your spouse refuses to accept a custody agreement, consider proposing mediation. This approach can provide a structured environment to discuss the issues at hand, allowing you to express your concerns and hear your spouse’s perspective.
Proceed to a court hearing
If mediation does not resolve the dispute, or if your spouse refuses to participate, you may need to proceed to a court hearing. Here, both you and your spouse will present your arguments, and the court will decide on a custody arrangement.
The judge will make a determination based on the best interests of the child, taking into account all the factors that Ohio law requires. Despite your spouse’s refusal to accept the initial custody agreement, the court will ultimately make the final decision.
Navigating a custody dispute during a divorce is a complex and emotional process. As you focus on the child’s best interests and needs, you can navigate this challenging situation with confidence and purpose.