A child custody dispute can add stress and uncertainty to your life. To be as prepared as possible for the experience, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of custody matters and the legal process. Below are answers to five child custody questions that will give you a better idea about this aspect of family law and your role within it.
Answers to 5 Common Child Custody Questions
1. How Does a Court Determine Child Custody?
Family courts look at an array of different factors when deciding custody issues. Their priority is the needs of the child and finding the parent that best meets them. A court also considers the strength and closeness of the parent-child bond, the parents' health, financial matters, and the home life stability being offered by each parent.
2. What Are Sole Custody & Shared Custody?
A parent given sole custody has legal and physical custody of the child. The child lives with this parent, and this parent can make decisions on behalf of the child, such as where they go to school and receive medical care. Shared custody is split between both parents. The child lives more or less equally with each parent, and each parent has responsibility for raising the child and making decisions.
3. Do Mothers Get Sole Custody More Often Than Fathers?
Not necessarily. Child custody is determined on a case by case basis, and the way other cases were resolved has no bearing on your case. Historically, mothers were often given sole custody, but this is no longer the case. The law usually considers mothers and fathers equally important in the life of a child.
4. Who Decides Visitation Schedules?
While the courts can make these decisions for you, they often have parents design their visitation schedules. For most couples, this means mediation before taking the matter to the courts. Mediation allows you and your child's other parent to come together in a neutral, safe environment with a legal professional who will guide you through the process of deciding visitation agreements.
5. My Ex & I Are Not Married & There Is no Court Order. Who Will Get Custody?
This varies between states. In Ohio, an unmarried mother who gives birth is automatically the sole, legal custodian of the child. The father can pursue visitation or custody rights through the appropriate legal channels.
Let Vernau Law, LLC, be your voice in a child custody case. This Granville, Ohio-based law office serves clients throughout Knox, Licking, Muskingum, and Franklin Counties. They provide family law, civil litigation, and estate planning. Call (740) 587-2637 or visit them online to arrange a consultation with a lawyer today.