The Role of A Child Custody Attorney

Child custody issues are likely to be the most emotionally difficult matters involved in a divorce. They will also be one of the most difficult legal processes in a divorce. The divorce courts take seriously their responsibility for the welfare of minor children.

divorce and dissolutionA divorce court cannot “split the baby,” so the parents will be given custody of minor children according to the best interests of the children; the personal preferences of the parents are not the controlling factor in the court’s decision. This means that suddenly, parents realize that the welfare of their children is not within their control because the court will ultimately decide the custody arrangements. The child custody attorney that you choose will help you navigate through the problems that can arise in the child custody legal process. The Ohio law covering child custody is complex and it requires parents to meet specific requirements so that the court can determine custody arrangements.

“In The Best Interest Of The Children”

While the child’s best interest is the overriding concern of the court, this isn’t always easy to determine. While an attorney representing a spouse may argue for that spouse to be granted full custody, there may be valid reasons why this arrangement would not be in the child’s best interest. A parent who would want to oppose this argument would likely not be able to do so without the assistance of an experienced attorney focusing on child custody.

Ohio child custody law favors “shared parenting”, which essentially means joint custody. One or both parents must file a legal petition with the court asking for this custody arrangement. The parent who does not have an attorney to file a response, or who does not participate in filing a joint petition, will be subject to the ruling of the court, which may be adverse to this parent’s wishes. Understandably, the parent without an attorney will likely be at a disadvantage. Any petition, or pleading, should be prepared by a child custody attorney.

The court will consider how well parents cooperate with each other and, importantly, how each parent is willing to encourage the child to maintain an ongoing strong connection with the other parent. The court will not overlook practical concerns such as the proximity of the parents to each other.

Ohio law stipulates that both parents are on “equal legal footing” when they enter the child custody legal process. This means that it is important that a child custody attorney begin immediately to protect a parent’s rights to the custody of their child because this footing could change.

Consulting an attorney who is experienced in child custody matters before filing for divorce would be appropriate. Divorce can be traumatic for children. Competent legal counsel can lessen this serious problem.