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The Basics of Resolving Child Custody Issues in Cleveland

Child custody in Cleveland can be a complicated, emotional issue. That is particularly true if you and your children’s other parent have some concerns about resolving your child custody arrangement. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be to go through the process and get the best arrangement for you and your kids. Here, we will explain what you need to know when you need to resolve Cleveland child custody issues.

Child Custody Arrangements in Cleveland

If you have minor children and you break up with your kids’ other parent or go through a Cleveland divorce, child custody plans will be something you need to figure out. A judge must approve your custody plan. In Ohio, though, it’s not actually called “custody.” Instead, it’s referred to as the "allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the minor children of the marriage."

In Cleveland, when one parent has the primary rights and responsibilities for the children, that person is referred to as the residential parent.

When both you and your ex share some or all of the legal and physical care of your children, it is referred to as shared parenting. In other states, this type of arrangement may be called joint custody. When you and your ex share parenting, you are both usually involved in making decisions about education, medical treatment and the religion your children will be raised in.

Shared parenting does not necessarily mean you and your ex will divide the time and responsibilities exactly evenly. One of you may spend less than 50 percent of the time with the kids, while your ex has them most of the time.

Your custody situation, whether it calls for residential or shared parenting, will be based on what the court decides is in the best interests of your child or children.

If the court decides it is in the best interests of your kids, it can also grant “companionship time” to grandparents. Grandparents must file a motion with the court in order to request companionship time.

Developing Parenting Plans for Child Custody in Cleveland

If you and your soon-to-be ex can develop a plan together, you can propose that plan to the court. The court will approve the plan you created together, unless a judge decides that your plan is not in the best interests of your child.

To help you and your ex reach an agreement, the Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations in Cuyahoga County offers a Standard Parenting Guidelines.

The guidelines provide a model for parenting time that has been used commonly throughout Cleveland. These guidelines were developed to ensure that the needs of children and parents are taken into account.

The guidelines are very specific and suggest mid-week and weekend parenting time that is based on a four-week schedule for the non-residential parent. They also factor in holidays.

The guidelines describe:

  • Child’s response to parenting time
  • Exercise of parenting time
  • Cancellation of parenting time by non-residential parent
  • Keeping the children together
  • Returning the child after exercising parenting time
  • Promptness
  • Transportation
  • Clothing
  • Schoolwork
  • Address and telephone numbers
  • Illness or injury of a child
  • Children’s activities
  • Telephone calls
  • Employment of parents
  • Non-compliance with court order
  • Notice of relocation
  • Access to records, day care and student activities

You and your ex can simply plug your names and dates into the blanks in the plan or circle the appropriate name. But you do not have to use the guidelines when creating a parenting plan. You can personalize a parenting schedule in order to make up your own, as long as you both agree to the plan and it addresses parenting rights and responsibilities.

The court can also order you and your children’s other parent into mediation to try to resolve your differences regarding your child custody in Cleveland.

When parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement in Ohio, the judge will make that decision for you.

Judges will look at a variety of factors when determining those best interests.

Getting Help With Cleveland Custody Arrangements

Developing a Cleveland custody arrangement may seem confusing and overwhelming, so it makes sense for you to talk to a lawyer who focuses on family law. The lawyer can explain your child custody rights in Cleveland and help you understand all your options.

Consulting a lawyer doesn’t mean you and your spouse can’t work together on a parenting plan. Instead, it will help protect you and your kids during the process.