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A Well Drafted Parenting Order or Shared Parenting Plan Can Avoid Problems

custody lawyer, child custody lawyer, custody lawyers, child custody lawyers, custody attorney, child custody attorney, child custody attorneysVirginia Cornwell is a Franklin County Family Law Attorney and an OSBA Certified Family Relations Specialist.  

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Likewise, a well drafted parenting order (sole custody) or shared parenting plan (shared parenting) can avoid a multitude of problems.  What this means is that a parenting decree or shared parenting plan which anticipates problems and deals with them in advance can make for long term success in the co-parenting relationship and perhaps avoid the parties having to go back to court after the first decree.

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family law attorney, family lawyer, family law lawyer, family law lawyers, family law attorneys, family attorney, family attorneysThe parties to a parenting decree (order) or shared parenting plan are going to be parenting together until the child turns 18.  That is a long time with a lot of possibility for change.  Although courts tend to want to make orders that only deal with the situation in front of the court as it exist today, by agreement, the parties can put terms into their decree or shared parenting plan that address possible future changes.  The most notable example of such a change would be a move.  Another example would be adding language that says that the person paying child support can only claim the child as a tax dependent if they are current in their child support obligation.

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child custody lawyers, custody lawyers, custody law firm, child custody law firm, custody specialist, visitation lawyer, visitation lawyersBeyond just the big things, sometimes it can be helpful to address the little things in advance, in order to remove the other parent’s incentive to fool around with parenting time.   For example, it may be a good idea to put specific provisions in your parenting plan stating what will happen if the child is sick?  How sick does the child need to be for parenting time to be rescheduled?  When will it be made up?  If you it to be clear that either parent is capable of caring for a sick child, and parenting time will not be missed for illness, absent the agreement of the parties, in writing (text message), then your parenting plan should say that.  If your ex has a history of denying you parenting time on this basis, you want very specific language in your parenting plan.

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If your ex has a habit of failing to appear for his or her parenting time, you may want a provision that states that if he or she has not appeared for three parenting times in a row, they do not have parenting time unless they give two weeks notice.

These are just a few examples of how a well crafted plan or order can deal with parenting troubles, and help to minimize conflict by providing the solution in advance.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

dissolution lawyer, custody lawyer, paternity lawyer, divorce lawyer, divorce attorney, custody attorney, child custody attorney, child custody lawyerNeed some help? We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please give us a call, and one of our Family Law Attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case.

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Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.

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COLUMBUS OHIO SHARED PARENTING ATTORNEYSA Columbus Ohio Shared Parenting Attorney article about shared parenting in Ohio.

Shared Parenting – what is that?  Shared parenting does not have a single definition.  For the legal definition, click here to view a page containing questions and answers about shared parenting in Ohio.  For the statutory definition, you can find it in this statute.

COLUMBUS OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERFor the real world definition of shared parenting, shared parenting is what you make of it.  Shared parenting works as well or as poorly as the parents are willing to make it work.  I know, I know, you’ve probably read a lot of touchy – feely articles about shared parenting designed to make you just burst into song.  Just hang on for a few more minutes – I promise to make it worth your time.

When a couple splits up, their children almost always want them to get back together.  Once they realize that can’t happen, the children just want their parents to get along.  No matter how much the other parent gets on your nerves – you are stuck with them. They will always be the parent of your child.  If you are going to have the legal right to have shared parenting of your child, you are going to have to work to minimize conflicts with the other parent.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

COLUMBUS CUSTODY ATTORNEYThere are websites designed to minimize conflicts and maximize accountability.  One such site is called Our Family Wizard.  Click here to look at Our Family Wizard.  The page I linked to lists some of the things people most commonly fight over in both shared parenting and sole custody cases.  Currently, the site costs about $100 a year.  Unfortunately, it has been our experience that families that co-parent well don’t really need the site, and families that are struggling with shared parenting don’t want that level of accountability.  Although the expense of the site is often given as the reason not to use the site, but a whole year of membership is cheaper than one hour of a lawyer’s time.  This site, and similar sites, allow a non-confrontational medium for exchanging schedules, documents, contact information, etc.  It is my understanding that the site tracks communications between the parties, document and receipt exhange, etc.  No more arguing about who told whom what, and when – it’s all right there preserved in perpetuity.  This is a tool that takes he said/she said out of the equation.  This has the effect of encouraging everyone to be on their best behavior.  It’s something to think about.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

COLUMBUS OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYSAnother often overlooked resource for shared parenting is mediation.  To read our post about mediation, click here.

The bottom line is that shared parenting is not about a title, it is not about ownership, and it is not about child support.  Shared parenting is about co-parenting.  This means treating the other parent as an important part of your child’s life.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

Unfortunately, some parents are or become unwilling to co-parent.  When that happens, you have five choices:

  1. Ignore the problem
  2. Try to work out the problems with the other parent through discussion, mediation or perhaps even counselling (if both parties are willing)
  3. Return to court to enforce the shared parenting plan that you have (contempt of court ),
  4. Return to court to modify the shared parenting plan that you have
  5. Return to court to terminate shared parenting.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

COLUMBUS OHIO POST DECREE FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYSOnce shared parenting is put in place, Ohio courts are generally in favor of maintaining shared parenting if at all possible.  If shared parenting is to be substantially changed, (either to terminate shared parenting or to change the school placement parent), Ohio courts must first find that there has been a change in circumstances.

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COLUMBUS OHIO POST DECREE ATTORNEYSIf the court finds that there has been a change in circumstances since the time of the last parenting decree, in order to terminate shared parenting or change the school placement parent, a court must ALSO find that the benefit of the change outweighs the detriment of the change.  For example, if the court is going to change the school placement parent and make the child change schools, then the court will first want to know that the benefit of changing the child’s school is going to outweigh the distress of changing schools.

Shared parenting used to be much more difficult for fathers who were not married to the mother of their child to obtain.  Courts are progressively moving toward the idea that a fit parent has a right to be fully involved in their child’s life.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

For additional important information about establishing paternity in Ohio please visit the web page for Ohio Paternity Enhancement by clicking here.

For more information about MOTHER’S RIGHTS, see our page regarding MOTHER’S RIGHTS IN OHIO.

For more information about GRANDPARENT RIGHTS see our page regarding GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS IN OHIO.

For more information about obtaining CUSTODYSHARED PARENTING, OR VISITATION in Ohio, see our post about OHIO CUSTODY.

For more information about DNA testing, see our post regarding DNA TESTING.

For more information about SHARED PARENTING, see our post regarding SHARED PARENTING IN OHIO.

For more information about the rights of UNMARRIED PARENTS OR NEVER MARRIED PARENTS, see our post regarding UNMARRIED PARENTS IN OHIO.

For more information about DISSOLUTION, see our page regarding DISSOLUTION IN OHIO.

For more information about DIVORCE, see our page regarding DIVORCE IN OHIO.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.