When we advise our clients who are parents of minor children, we often encounter a lot of misperceptions.
For example, many parents fear that the legal system favors one gender over another when there is a parenting plan disagreement. But the reality is that, by statute in Ohio, both parents stand on an equal footing. The applicable statute, which has been in effect since 1991, states:
“When husband and wife are living separate and apart from each other, or are divorced, and the question as to the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of their children and the place of residence and legal custodian of their children is brought before a court of competent jurisdiction, they shall stand upon an equality as to the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of their children and the place of residence and legal custodian of their children, so far as parenthood is involved.”
A somewhat related area of confusion is whether an agreement to have shared parenting includes a presumption that each parent will have equal time with the children. “Shared parenting” means shared decision-making about the children’s best interests. It does NOT require a 50/50 parenting schedule. These are separate concepts. A 50/50 schedule fits some children and not others. While every child needs a relationship with both parents and the parenting order should allow for a quality relationship to be fostered and maintained with each parent, the legal system recognizes that a precisely 50/50 parenting time schedule cannot be presumed since doing so would ignore the individual needs of each child and the individual capacities of each parent.
BRIAN URBAN & BRIDGETTE POZZUTO
Cleveland’s Collaborative Divorce Attorneys