How to Get Joint Custody in Ohio

How to Get Joint Custody in Ohio

When parents decide to separate or divorce, one of the most important considerations is determining child custody. In Ohio, joint custody is a common arrangement that allows both parents to share in the responsibilities and decision-making for their children. If you are seeking joint custody in Ohio, here are some key steps to follow:

1. Understand the types of custody: In Ohio, there are two types of custody – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions for the child, while physical custody refers to where the child will live.

2. Familiarize yourself with Ohio laws: Ohio law favors shared parenting and encourages both parents to have ongoing and frequent contact with their children, as long as it is in the best interest of the child.

3. Develop a parenting plan: A parenting plan outlines how you and the other parent will share custody and make decisions regarding your child’s upbringing. It should include a schedule for visitation, decision-making responsibilities, and methods for resolving disputes.

4. Mediation: In Ohio, mediation is often required before going to court. It is a process where a neutral third party helps parents reach an agreement on custody and parenting issues. If mediation fails, the case may proceed to court.

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5. Gather evidence: If mediation does not lead to an agreement, the court will make a decision based on the best interest of the child. To support your case for joint custody, gather evidence that demonstrates your ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for your child.

6. File a custody petition: To begin the legal process, file a custody petition with the appropriate court in the county where your child resides. Consult an attorney or utilize online resources to ensure you complete the necessary forms correctly.

7. Attend court hearings: After filing the petition, you will need to attend court hearings where a judge will evaluate your case. Be prepared to present your evidence and demonstrate why joint custody is in the best interest of your child.

8. Consider a parenting evaluation: In some cases, the court may order a parenting evaluation to assess each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs. This evaluation may include interviews, home visits, and psychological testing.

9. Finalize the custody agreement: If the court approves joint custody, work with the other parent and your attorney to finalize a custody agreement. This agreement should cover all aspects of custody, including visitation schedules, decision-making authority, and responsibilities for child support.


1. Can joint custody be requested if one parent doesn’t agree?
Yes, joint custody can still be requested even if one parent doesn’t agree. The court will consider the best interest of the child when making a decision.

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2. Can grandparents seek joint custody in Ohio?
In certain circumstances, grandparents may seek visitation rights or even custody. However, it can be challenging, and they must prove that it is in the child’s best interest.

3. Will joint custody affect child support payments?
Child support payments are determined separately from custody arrangements. The court takes into account income, expenses, and other factors when calculating child support.

4. Can joint custody be modified?
Yes, joint custody can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances or if it no longer serves the best interest of the child. A petition must be filed with the court to request a modification.

5. Can a parent with a criminal record get joint custody?
Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify a parent from obtaining joint custody. The court will consider the nature of the offense and its impact on the child’s safety and well-being.

6. Can joint custody be enforced if one parent violates the agreement?
If one parent violates the custody agreement, the other parent can take legal action to enforce it. This may involve filing a motion with the court and providing evidence of the violation.

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7. Can joint custody be granted for infants or very young children?
Yes, joint custody can be granted for infants or very young children. The court will consider the child’s best interest and the ability of both parents to provide a nurturing and stable environment.

8. Can joint custody be granted if parents live far apart?
Distance between parents can make joint custody more challenging, but it is still possible. The court may consider factors such as transportation arrangements and the ability to maintain regular contact.

9. What happens if parents cannot agree on a parenting plan?
If parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will make a decision based on the best interest of the child. The judge may consider factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, their living arrangements, and their involvement in the child’s life.

In conclusion, obtaining joint custody in Ohio requires careful preparation, a thorough understanding of the law, and a focus on the best interest of the child. By following these steps and seeking legal guidance when needed, parents can increase their chances of achieving a joint custody arrangement that benefits both themselves and their children.