Shared custody arrangements are typically necessary after any divorce or parental breakup that results in family law proceedings. As time goes on, the terms set in a family’s original custody order or parenting plan may no longer realistically reflect the family circumstances. Thankfully, the law in Ohio allows parents to go back to court to modify or adjust an existing custody order.
If co-parents can mutually agree upon new terms, they will just need to work with a lawyer to formalize changes and submit them to the court. In the event of a contentious situation, litigation may be necessary. Any of the three mistakes below may reduce a parent’s chances of obtaining their preferred outcome when seeking a custody modification in Ohio.
Fighting with the other parent
The easiest way to get the exact modification that one desires is to cooperate with the other parent. If parents agree about what changes are necessary, then they have the option of pursuing an uncontested modification where a judge only needs to approve the terms they set rather than hear both sides of the story. Even if the parents cannot agree, causing unnecessary conflict can make the parent requesting the change seem less reasonable to the court.
Ignoring the needs of the child
Sometimes, parents become so stressed out and traumatized by divorce or shared custody issues that they start focusing on their own wishes and emotional responses instead of the needs of the children. Not only can a selfish focus on one’s own wishes lead to someone setting unreasonable expectations during custody modification negotiations or litigation, it can also damage how the courts perceive them. Adults who seem unwilling or incapable of putting the children’s best interests first may find themselves in a less favorable position during custody litigation.
Agreeing to informal adjustments
Whether one parent agrees to give the other more time with the children or the parents impose certain limitations on their arrangements, such as agreeing not to take the children out of Ohio without written permission from the other parent, those agreements are technically not enforceable. It will be one parent’s word against the other if there ends up being a dispute. As a result, going to the courts to formalize any change is important for the protection of both parties.
Avoiding the most common mistakes related to custody modifications may help those who believe their custody arrangements no longer meet their family’s needs.