child custody

In many family law cases, determining child custody is a pivotal moment. When a child’s parents separate, it is the responsibility of the courts to make a decision that will benefit their needs. Many factors are considered by Ohio courts in determining child custody. If you would like to know which ones could matter in your case, here are a few points you will want to know. 

Child’s Best Interests

In almost all custody cases, the child’s best interests are placed at the forefront. Ohio does make this a guiding principle in its child custody decisions. With that, the courts will prioritize the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental well–being in the decisions. In these cases, the judge will assess whether sole or joint custody will benefit the child. 

Parent-Child Relationship

Along with that, the courts will also look at the existing relationship between each parent and the child. Bonding is important in these decisions. If the child has a closer emotional bond with one parent, then that could sway the court’s decisions. A parent who plays an active role in the child’s life and has a healthier relationship is more likely to get a favorable outcome in these cases. 

Parental Fitness

Another factor is parental fitness. Before the court marks a decision, they want to make sure that the child will live in a stable and nurturing environment. The judge will look at:

  • Physical and mental health: Ohio courts will assess the physical and mental health of each parent. If there are chronic health conditions, substance abuse, or mental health issues, that could impact custody decisions.
  • Lifestyle and stability: A stable home environment is vital to the well-being and best interests of the child. Employment stability, financial security, and living conditions are all considered by the judge.
  • Parenting skills: Anyone who wants to be granted custody should have the proper parenting skills. Courts want to make sure that the child receives proper care and guidance in the home. 

Wishes of the Child

While not the sole determining factor, the child’s preferences may be considered, especially if they are mature enough to express their views. Generally, children aged 12 or older may have their opinions heard. Keep in mind that the court balances their wishes with other factors.

Work Schedules and Availability

A parent’s work schedule impacts custody arrangements. Employment is important to provide financial support, but the courts want to make sure that the parent is available for their child. If the parent has flexibility and consistency in spending time with the child, that can help them reach a favorable outcome. 

History of Abuse or Neglect

Any evidence of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence is examined by the courts. The judge never wants to place a child in unsafe enforcement. If there are concerns about their well-being, the courts could restrict visitation or custody of that parent. 

Take These Factors Into Account for Your Ohio Child Custody Case

All these factors are considered by Ohio courts in determining child custody. Keep in mind that custody decisions are never one-size-fits-all. There is always a focus to protect the child’s best interests. 

If you have questions about your child custody case, the team at Axelrod Law Office in Lake County, OH, is ready to help. We’ll help you understand the process for determining child custody so you can be prepared for your hearing. Call our office at (440) 271-8126 or submit a contact form to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation.