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Divorce can reset people’s priorities and create new challenges for life beyond the emotional turmoil. But the main consideration of divorcing parents must always be the top priority. Children often feel disempowered and confused when their home lives are affected or split up by a divorce or separation between parents.

Judges in Ohio who are ruling on child custody issues have one main consideration in mind: the best interests of the child. A minor’s interests may not be the same as a parent’s, so it is a chance during a divorce or separation to work out how a child is best served.

Ohio state law states that parental rights are equally held by both parents so, when all other things are equal, each parent has the right to claim custody or require child support. This also means responsibilities are split as evenly as possible between two parents if they are not living together and cooperating.

Parents who are unmarried generally have sole custody and responsibility for their children. The exceptions to this may only be declared by the court in specific cases, such as the incarceration of the parent or the creation of an abusive environment for the child.

Parents who are divorcing often have the option of working out child custody and support between themselves before going to court. A mediator may help with this process to solve disagreements and create a plan that is likely to be approved by a judge. Each parent should consider legal representation, as an attorney will represent the parent’s interests in court or negotiation.

Source: Ohio Revised Code, “Chapter 3109: Children,” accessed April 20, 2018