The difference between Sole Custody and Shared Parenting

In Ohio, what is the difference between Sole Custody and Shared Parenting ?

The key difference between Sole Custody and Shared Parenting involves a parent’s court ordered decision making ability on key parenting issues.

If only one parent is assigned the responsibility to make all key decisions affecting a child, chances are that parent has sole custody. However, if both parents have the right to participate in key decisions affecting a child, the parties most likely have a Shared Parenting arrangement.

Examples of key decisions include school placement, religious and faith choices, health care decisions, and participation in extra-curricular activities.

With Shared Parenting, each parent is considered the residential parent when exercising their parenting time. The amount of time that a child spends with one parent over another may not be an issue. Each family situation is unique. A parent may be limited to parenting time every other weekend. Yet under a Shared Parenting Plan, the parent may still have the right to make health care decisions for their child.

In most situations, a child should be provided with the right to enjoy the companionship of both parents. It is not a contest as to who may be the better parent. It is not a contest as to who has more to offer the child financially.  In choosing between Sole Custody and Shared Parenting, the courts look at what type of parenting arrangement best serves the interests of the child, and whether or not the parents can set aside their personal differences and work together to act in the best interests of their child.

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