3 times an Ohio parent could obtain sole custody

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Child Custody

Parents in Ohio typically share parental rights and responsibilities. That is as true during a marriage as it is after a divorce. With a few rare exceptions, there is an expectation that adults should share both parenting time with their minor children and the authority to make choices about their upbringing.

Occasionally, one parent can obtain sole custody as part of an Ohio divorce or breakup. The courts may give them total control over decisions regarding their children and may only grant the other parent visitation, if that. Most people who obtain sole custody have family circumstances that fall into one of the three categories below.

Unmarried parents

Ohio law clearly indicates that unmarried mothers have the right of sole custody unless the father establishes paternity. Often, unmarried couples do take the necessary steps to establish a man’s paternity at the time of a child’s birth. However, if they do not do so, the mother may receive sole custody until the father adds his name to the birth certificate and requests parental rights from the Ohio family courts.

Unstable family circumstances

Either parent could potentially request sole custody if they can convince a judge that it would be in the best interests of their children. When one parent is violent or unstable, the courts may agree that it may be better for the children to live with the other parent instead. Judges can potentially require supervised visitation or even terminate someone’s parental rights due to a documented history of violence or substance abuse issues that make them incapable of safely parenting their children.

Mutual agreement

There are a host of scenarios in which the parents separating from each other agree that one adult should have sole custody. Perhaps they have a child with special needs, and one parent has already committed to staying home to raise that child. Maybe one parent has a very demanding job and can only be consistently available for visitation. It is possible for parents in Ohio to reach their own custody arrangements that give one adult sole decision-making authority and parenting time.

In the vast majority of other scenarios, there is usually an expectation that parents should share their parental rights and responsibilities for the benefit of their children. Learning about how Ohio handles custody matters can be beneficial for those preparing for divorce or separation. The pursuit of sole custody can be a smart move in some circumstances, and an unrealistic goal in others.