Nancy L. Sponseller

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Child Custody, Visitation and Support in a Columbus Divorce

Child Custody, Visitation and Support in a Columbus Divorce

What is Parenting Time, and How Do the Courts Decide How Much Time A Child Spends With Each Parent?

Here in Columbus, and throughout Ohio family law courts have established the base rule that it is in the child’s best interest to spend as much time as possible with each parent, unless aggravating circumstances dictate otherwise.  If the child would be in an unsafe environment such as physical abuse, alcohol or drug addiction, or criminal activity the court will deviate and allocate child custody and time with each parent carefully and appropriately.

For most of the cases here in Columbus, the Court is looking for as close to a 50% / 50% split between each parent as possible—at least we start with the inquiry whether 50-50 is in the best interest of the children, and it most often is.    Child custody is the legal right to make decisions for the child such as health care, education, religion, and other legal issues.  “Parenting Time” is the legal term for the amount of time the child will spend with each parent, and when.  This is often referred to as “visitation” although this is not correct.    The Court generally wants to keep the existing rhythm of the child’s life in place, ensuring that transitions between households are well timed and suited to the best interests of the child.  You can be quite creative with a parenting time plan, and this allows former spouses to tailor a solution that is best for the lives of all involved.

Child support is often a calculation based upon Ohio law.  It takes into consideration the incomes of the parties, the needs of the children and other factors to calculate the party who will pay support and the amount.  In the Collaborative Divorce process, the parties are free to agree to “deviate” from the Guideline Child Support Calculation, and there are a number of alternative approaches to child support that work for different parents going forward.   If you are considering the end of your marriage and need additional information on issues relating to your children or to the divorce in general I invite you to call me at (614) 764-0423.