Family Law Attorney Cleveland OH | Child Custody & Visitation

Child Custody and Visitation

One of the most difficult decisions that parents must deal with is child custody - where will the children live? Who will make the decisions? How will the children still participate in activities? What if there is a modification of child custody, visitation, or child support court order? Custody battles can be the most expensive aspect of a divorce or post-decree case. These costs are not purely financial. There are significant emotional and relational costs imposed upon the family - especially the children.

Your Children are Our Priority

Parents love their children and want what's best for them but it can be difficult to create a plan that works for both you and your children. It is important to have a child support attorney who is compassionate and creative to guide you through the decision making process.

Custody v. Shared Parenting: Allocation of Parental Rights

This is a confusing area to many people in your situation. We educate you on what the differences are between custody and shared parenting. We explain the major differences and how parenting time or visitation works for each.

Custody and Shared Parenting are two frameworks for allocating parental rights and responsibilities meaning the legal rights of parents to make decisions. Under each framework, the right to make important decisions (education, religion, medical) for your children is allocated to one or both parents either by an agreement or through a court decision. Under the custody framework, one parent is the residential parent and legal custodian. This parent makes the important decisions that concern the children.

Under Shared Parenting, both parents are designated the residential parent and legal custodian. However, one of the parents will be designated the residential parent for school purposes only. This is because schools are very concerned over the residential addresses for school placement. Parents under a Shared Parenting plan must be able to communicate and work together to make the important decisions for their children together.

Parenting time or visitation is separate from decision-making authority. A parenting time schedule is established for regular parenting time and the sharing of holidays and school breaks. A parenting time schedule deals with the actual dates and times for parenting time, where the pick-ups and drop-offs will take place, and how the week will be divided. Conflict can be avoided by adding significant detail to your shared parenting plan and parenting time schedule. A good plan will endure and provide certainty and security for both you and your children. You can certainly change the plan by agreement but the purpose of the plan is to provide guidance when parents cannot agree.

Common Misconceptions About Shared Parenting

Shared Parenting does not mean equal parenting time and it doesn't mean that a parent won't pay child support. These are common misconceptions about Shared Parenting. Shared Parenting isn't for everyone but it is the preferred framework.

When a court decides child custody and parenting time matters, the court looks at the best interests of your children - not the parents. It is always better to come to an agreement with the other parent concerning your children because you know them best. When an agreement isn't possible, the court will look at a variety of factors in determining your children's best interests.

Guardian ad Litems and Custody Evaluations

Some cases require the assistance of a Guardian ad Litem or Custody Evaluator. The information obtained from such evaluations can help guide the court in making custody or parenting time determinations. Guardian ad Litems and Custody Evaluators often assist parents in creating parenting plans that work for their individual families - families like yours.

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Independence, Ohio 44131
Phone: (216) 273-8001

Offices are also located in Beachwood, Westlake, and Downtown Cleveland by appointment only. Contact us to make an appointment.

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