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What does “best interests of the child” mean?

| Jun 24, 2020 | Child Custody, Divorce |

Before an Ohio court makes decisions about child custody or visitation, it considers what it thinks to be in the “best interests of the child.” Every such case is different, so the factors a court weighs in one case may prove somewhat different than those used to evaluate another one.

However, most courts use the same general standards to determine what living situation may prove most advantageous for your child, so familiarizing yourself with these factors may help you navigate the process. Ultimately, the goal is to determine what situation would allow your child to grow and thrive best by considering the child’s interests over those of his or her parents.

What factors do Ohio courts often consider when making decisions regarding custody and parenting time?

“Best interests” factors

Ohio courts often take the preferences of both parents into account before making decisions regarding your child’s care. How much of a relationship your son or daughter has with you and the other parent may help determine final arrangements. So, too, may the metal and physical health of both parents who want time with the shared child.

The court may also consider you and your child’s other parent’s willingness to share custody with one another and abide by the terms of an agreement. If one party has a history of failing to return the child as intended, for example, this may hurt that party’s chances of securing custody.

Other areas of consideration

An Ohio court may also consider where you and your child’s other parent live, and whether the distance between you is sufficient enough to make shared parenting too difficult. If one of you has plans to move outside the state in the future, this may also play a role in custody-related decisions. You and your ex’s willingness to nurture the relationship your child shares with the other parent may also be a deciding factor.

If either parent has any history of domestic violence, child abuse or kidnapping, know that this may hinder that parent’s ability to secure legal custody or parenting time.