During the majority of the 20th century, divorced fathers in Ohio who wanted to have shared child custody were likely to be disappointed. The tendency of the family courts to favor the mothers over the fathers regarding child custody was prevalent. However, during the last three decades, there has been a significant shift in how family courts are awarding child custody with the courts now supporting and encouraging mutual agreements for shared parental custody.
One type of child custody is legal custody, which gives parents total control over the decisions regarding the children's education, health care, religion and overall wellbeing. The other type of child custody is residential or physical custody, which is determined by where the children spend the night. According to one associate law professor, even though divorce laws differ in each state, a presumption of joint legal custody is the starting point used by the family courts, which are also promoting shared residential custody arrangements. Because of logistics, it can be challenging to divide residential custody equally, as working parents will find it difficult to transport their children back and forth during the school week. As a result, mothers are still favored in residential custody arrangements.
Since The 1980s, there have been definite changes in the access fathers have to their children after or in place of marriage. The results of one 2014 study show that mothers in Wisconsin were awarded sole custody in 80 percent of the cases in 1980; in 2008, that rate had fallen to 42 percent.
A family law attorney might assist parents with obtaining divorce settlement terms that include favorable child custody arrangements. The attorney may consider the factors of a case and may recommend litigation to resolve disputes regarding legal custody, visitation and changes to existing custody orders.