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What Happens in a Sole Custody Arrangement?


A common question for child custody lawyers in Columbus revolves around how sole custody arrangements work. The perception many people have about sole custody is that it results in a parent never being able to see their children again.

The reality of sole custody is much more complicated than that. In most cases, you will not lose the ability to spend time with your children. But to address this in more detail, let’s talk about how sole custody actually works, from the perspective of an experienced child custody lawyer in Ohio.

Reasons Why Sole Custody is Awarded

Generally speaking, family courts and child custody lawyers dealing with divorce cases do not prefer to put children in sole custody arrangements.

When both parents are responsible and loving parents who want to be involved with their children, the court will try to accommodate that, and child custody attorneys on both sides will help figure out the best arrangement for each party.

However, there are still some cases where sole custody is decided. These generally tend to be cases where the court rules that one of the parents is a potential danger to the child due to factors like abuse, neglect, or substance abuse, or in cases where one parent is incarcerated or planning to relocate far away.

A child custody attorney in Columbus will obviously fight to achieve your custody wishes, but if you end up on the wrong side of a sole custody arrangement, know that you still have rights. For starters, you should understand what sole custody actually means.

What is Sole Legal Custody?

As any child custody lawyer in Ohio will tell you, legal custody and the parenting time schedule are two very different things.  

Sole legal custody of a child means having the ability to make all decisions concerning your child without being required to consult with the other parent first.  For example, if you have sole custody of your child, you would be responsible for making all educational decisions, medical decisions, and decisions about the activities in which your child participates.  The parent that is designated as the sole legal custodian does not have to ask the other parent’s opinion or permission on these decisions.

Having sole legal custody of your child does not mean that the child will live with you the majority of the time.  The parenting time schedule that designates where the child will reside on a daily basis is separate from legal custody.  It is possible for one parent to have sole legal custody, yet both parents still have nearly equal parenting time with their child.

Family courts generally try to avoid sole legal custody arrangements whenever possible unless shared legal custody is considered to be potentially hazardous to the child.

What is Shared Parenting?

Shared Parenting is shared legal custody.  You may be more familiar with the term “Joint Custody” which is simply another name for Shared Parenting.  In a Shared Parenting arrangement, both parents must consult with each other before making big decisions regarding their child.  These big decisions are typically educational decisions, medical decisions, and decisions regarding the activities in which the child will participate.  Other big decisions may be the child’s religious upbringing or attendance at certain events.

Shared Parenting does not necessarily mean that both parents will have equal parenting time with their child.  The parenting time schedule will depend on what is in the child’s best interest in your specific case.

This is an area in which talking to a child custody attorney in Ohio can help you fight for the shared custody rights that will let you continue to have a good relationship with your child.

Contact Our Experienced Child Custody Lawyer at Lewis Legal

Navigating a custody battle is never easy – especially since it’s often happening alongside other emotional proceedings like divorce or separation agreements.

You don’t have to go through the process alone. Attorney Mary Lewis Turner is an experienced family and child custody attorney who will treat you and your family with respect and dignity while helping you fight for the best outcome for everyone.Contact Lewis Legal to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you