Divorce can be painful for any couple, but children can also suffer greatly due to the uncertainty that arises from the ending of their parents’ marriage.
If you’re facing the end of a marriage in which minor children are present, Cincinnati attorney John Heilbrun can help you protect your rights as a parent and the best interests of your children. Please call the Law Office of John Heilbrun at 513-321-3940 to schedule your consultation.
How the Court Evaluates the Best Interests of a Child
When determining child custody, the court is tasked with acting in the best interests of the child. “Best interests” doesn’t just refer to what the child wants concerning the time to be spent with each parent. Judges are required to take many factors into consideration when deciding the amount of responsibility each parent will have for the children and how much time the children will spend with each parent after the marriage ends.
Factors the court is required to consider when assessing the best interests of children in these circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- The child’s preferences and relationships with parents, extended family, members of the community, etc.
- How well the child is adjusted to his/her neighborhood and school
- Mental and physical health of both parents and children
- Whether one parent is more or less likely to honor the decisions of the court concerning custody, parenting time, child support and other arrangements
- Proximity of the parents’ residences to each other after the parties start living separately
Per Ohio law, judges cannot make a custody decision solely based on monetary factors. Financial considerations are just one element the judge will consider in determining the best interests of the child.
Best Interests and Child Custody
Mr. Heilbrun can help you navigate the emotionally charged proceedings and represent you and your child’s best interests in a custody dispute. Based on some of the factors mentioned above, two different custody arrangements are possible:
- The court might appoint one parent to br primarily responsible for the child (residential parent and legal custodian), while the other parent will usually have parenting time (visitation) and other rights, as well as the obligation to pay child support (non-residential parent)
- The court could decide to adopt the joint shared parenting plan, or one parent’s proposed shared parenting plan; in this case, both parents keep their custodial rights and upbringing responsibilities in accordance with the terms set forth in the plan
If the parties can’t reach an agreement on parenting responsibilities, the court will have to evaluate the best interests of the child and issue a court order determining the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. It is always beneficial for you and your spouse to be able to reach your own agreement on this matter. If you can’t enter into such an agreement, you are both allowing the court to make these very critical decisions for you and your children.
It’s normal to have questions about child custody cases. Cincinnati family lawyer John Heilbrun has more than 35 years of experience representing parents like you and pursuing the best arrangement to keep the relationship between you and your child strong.
If you live in and around Cincinnati and require a family lawyer to guide you through a divorce case and child custody proceedings, please contact the Law Office of John Heilbrun today to schedule your consultation.