If there are minor children of the marriage, the Court must allocate parental rights and responsibilities. The Court will decide if one or both parents shall have custody of the child. In rare circumstances the Court can award custody to a non-parent. The Court, in making its determination, must do what is in the “best interest” of the minor children. The Court, in making its determination, will consider a number of factors including the mental and physical health of each parent and child, the child’s interaction and interrelationship with each parent, the child’s adjustment to home, school and community, and whether either parent or a member of the parent’s household has been convicted of an offense involving the abuse or neglect of a child.
If the Court determines that one parent shall be the sole custodian of the child, that parent has the care, custody and control of the child. That parent has the right to make all decisions regarding the child and is not required to involve the non-custodial parent in the decision making process. The non-custodial parent will have companionship/visitation rights with the child.
Shared parenting is quite different. In a shared parenting order both the mother and father are considered custodians of the child and the decision making for the child is to be shared. Even though the marriage is terminated both parents participate equally in decision making. Shared parenting does not require that the child live with each parent 50% of the time. The living arrangement will be determined by what works best for the parents and the child. The focus of the shared parenting is not the shared living arrangement rather the focus is on shared decision making. Both parents are equal partners in raising the child.
For more information please call Attorney Thomas Kelley at (330) 434-2113 or email him at TKELLEY1@neo.rr.com