Divorce is never easy. But it is particularly difficult when children are involved. Navigating the best family situation for parents of divorce is possible, but it takes a lot of work. Both parents must focus on the children and what is in their best interest. Parents may not always agree when it comes to what is in their children’s best interest, and this can lead to frustration and questions.
One common question is which parent gets to make medical decisions for the child after the divorce. These decisions can include everything from whether or not to vaccinate children to the level of emergency care that the parents are comfortable with in the event of an accident or serious illness.
The answer will vary depending on the state. This is because state law governs divorce and other family law matters, and each state approaches it a little differently. This post will provide some general information for divorces in Ohio. We will discuss the two main questions to ask to help answer this question.
Question #1: What does the parenting plan say?
Courts in Ohio generally encourage parents to view parenting after divorce as a shared arrangement — also referred to as joint custody. The parents usually put together a parenting plan that serves as an outline for how the parents will move forward with parenting their children after the divorce is finalized. When there is a disagreement, such as different opinions about medical decisions for the child, the parenting plan can provide guidance.
Question #2: Who did the court name as the sole residential parent?
If parents cannot agree to a shared parenting plan, the court may name one parent as the primary decision maker. In Ohio, this parent is referred to as the sole residential parent. This parent is the one that has the authority to make major decisions for the child. This includes decisions about medical care as well as religion, education, and extracurricular activities.
Although this information applies to most situations, it is important to note that the exact answer will depend on your divorce and the details of your child custody arrangement. Every divorce is different and can lead to a different answer to this question.