Child custody, also known as the allocation of parenting rights and responsibilities, is an unavoidable part of all divorces involving minor children and all paternity cases. In essence, “custody” is the decision reached, either through agreement or Court Order, about the manner in which the legal and physical responsibility and decision making shall be divided between the parents. These matters are often emotionally charged and stressful and accordingly, this issue can become highly contentious resulting in lengthy battles both in and out of the Courtroom.
Cincinnati child custody and child support attorney John Heilbrun has over 30 years of experience helping parents navigate the difficulties of custody disputes. Working with you on an individual basis, attorney Heilbrun can help ensure you and your child’s best interests are represented.
Considerations in Custody Decisions
When left up to the court, custody will be determined based on the considerations of a variety of factors, including:
- The wishes of both parents
- The wishes of the child
- The child’s interactions with parents and siblings
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, and communities
- The mental, physical, and financial health of both parents
- Whether either parent has a history of neglect, abuse, or domestic violence
- The parent most likely to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent
- Which parent is able to keep the overall well being of the child as the primary priority
Based on the evidence presented at trial on all of these factors, the Court will have to decide the manner in which the rights and the responsibilities involving the minor children shall be allocated between the parents . The Court will make this decision based on its determination of what is in the best interest of the children.
Clearly, these are difficult decisions for a judge to make based solely on testimony and evidence. In contested custody cases, assuming the Court has a parenting department,the Court will appoint a parenting specialist to conduct an investigation and prepare a detailed written report to assist the Court in making the final decision.
A parenting specialist will meet individually with each parent and the child. He or she will also meet with each parent along with the child, and evaluate the interactions including play, discipline, and education between each parent and the child. The findings of the parenting specialist will be set forth in a written report that will be submitted to the Court to use in considering which parent should be the legal custodial, or whether to adopt one of the parent’s proposed Shared Parenting Plans. While not legally binding, the findings of the parenting specialist are likely to have a significant impact on the court’s decision.
Some parents, through mediation, negotiation, or collaborative divorce, are able to make custody and child support decisions on their own. No matter which way your case goes, attorney Heilbrun is prepared to fight for your parental rights during every stage of your custody dispute.
If you live in or around Cincinnati, Ohio and are involved in or preparing for a custody dispute, please contact the Law Office of John Heilbrun to schedule an initial consultation today.