Parents in Ohio are required to create a parenting plan as part of the legal process of divorce or dissolution of marriage. A parenting plan outlines the custody and visitation arrangements for the child or children involved in the separation.
The plan is designed to provide structure and stability for the child, as well as to ensure that both parents have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities. The parenting plan must be approved by the court and becomes a legally binding document that both parents are obligated to follow.
Additionally, a parenting plan can also be created outside of the legal process for unmarried parents who are separating or for couples who want to establish a plan for the care and upbringing of their child. Regardless of the situation, a well-crafted parenting plan is essential to ensuring the best interests of the child are met and both parents can continue to have a meaningful relationship with their child.
In Ohio, there are several types of parenting plans available to parents, including sole custody. While sole custody is not a new term, it is the less common type of parenting plan chosen by parents. There is a common misconception that sole custody is only for single parents, but in reality, it can be utilized in parenting plans where both parents are involved.
To ensure that a sole custody parenting plan is legally binding and adequate, it is recommended that parents consult with a Columbus child custody lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process, understand your rights and responsibilities, and ensure that your parenting plan meets the requirements of Ohio law.
What Does Sole Custody Mean?
When a parent is granted sole physical and legal custody, they are the only ones with legal authority over the child. These custody arrangements are not common and usually arise in situations where one parent is deemed unfit or incapable of assuming any responsibility over the child due to issues such as drug addiction or evidence of child abuse. A parent who has sole custody of their child has the ability to make decisions about their child, particularly when in relation to:
- Education: where the children attend school, at what age they begin school, and whether they have an IEP or other special program
- Medical: Procedures related to the health care system, such as braces, ear tubes, vaccinations, or medications
- Mental Health: Counseling or therapy related to psychological or mental health
- Extracurricular Activities: Sports, clubs, and organizations children are involved in as extracurricular activities
- Religion: What faith will the children be raised in, if any
In cases where sole custody is granted, the child’s other parent also referred to as the non-custodial parent, has no legal or physical custody rights. However, they may be granted periods of visitation with the child, which may be supervised, particularly in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse. Common reasons why sole custody parenting plans are implemented are:
- When there has been a history of domestic violence between the parties
- Cases in which the non-custodial parent has a history of addiction
- Cases in which the parties reside in different states or are far apart
- Cases in which the parties do not have the ability to effectively communicate, especially regarding parenting decisions
- Cases in which one party has been largely uninvolved in the upbringing of the children
How Do You Create A Sole Custody Parenting Plan?
While it is possible for a parent to create their own sole custody parenting plan, it is highly recommended to consult with a child custody lawyer or a family lawyer. These legal professionals can provide valuable guidance and ensure that the parent’s rights and responsibilities are fully understood. Consulting with an attorney can also ensure that the parenting plan meets the child’s needs and protects their best interests.
Additionally, a family attorney can assist with adding stipulations regarding visitation rights with the non-custodial parent to the parenting plan, which is crucial in ensuring the ongoing protection of the child. Ultimately, consulting with a family lawyer can help parents create a comprehensive and legally binding sole custody parenting plan that fully addresses the needs of the child and the family.
What Should Be Included In A Sole Custody Parenting Plan?
While it is possible for a parent to create their own sole custody parenting plan with the help of a child custody lawyer, or a divorce lawyer, it is important to note that a sole custody parenting plan must still meet specific requirements. The plan must address issues such as legal and physical custody, visitation, child support, and decision-making for the child’s welfare. Additionally, the parenting plan must comply with state law and be approved by the court.
A qualified family lawyer can help parents navigate these requirements and create a comprehensive sole custody parenting plan that protects the best interests of the child and complies with state law. When creating a sole custody parenting plan, parents should include the following:
- Specifics of the court’s decision regarding custody
- Detailed information regarding visitation times and transfer procedures
- Scheduling that is clear and easy to understand
- Which location the child, or children, will spend holidays, vacations, birthdays, and other nontraditional occasions
- Decisions regarding a child’s education
- Agreements regarding discipline and other aspects of child-rearing
- Health insurance coverage and health care requirements
- Parental relationship protocol, including dating and remarriage
- Child support payment schedule and amount
- Methods for resolving disagreements, such as seeking mediation from a third party
- Establish a schedule for reassessing the parenting plan, for instance, every year or at certain developmental milestones for the child
- Agreements regarding the child’s education and religion
Is It Possible To Change A Sole Custody Parenting Plan?
If changes need to be made to a sole custody parenting plan, it is possible to petition the court for approval, provided that the changes still serve the best interests of the children. Collecting information and evidence to support the proposed changes can be helpful in making a case for the revisions.
Keeping a parenting journal can also be beneficial for documenting how the parenting plan is working, identifying areas of conflict or stress, and determining if the other parent is complying with the plan. Even when both parents communicate well, it is important to recognize that changes may need to be made to the sole custody parenting plan as children mature and their needs evolve. Revisions to the parenting plan can be made by petitioning the court and gathering the necessary evidence to support the proposed changes.
Contact A Family Lawyer For Help With Sole Custody Parenting Plans
Navigating the complexities of a sole custody parenting plan can be challenging, and it is important to work with an experienced Ohio family lawyer to ensure that the plan is comprehensive and legally binding. A family lawyer can provide valuable guidance and support in creating a parenting plan that meets the child’s needs and protects their best interests.
Additionally, an attorney can assist with navigating any legal requirements and court procedures necessary to establish and modify the plan. With the help of a skilled Ohio family lawyer, parents can ensure that their child’s well-being is safeguarded throughout the entire process of establishing and enforcing a sole custody parenting plan.