Child Custody & Visitation

Understanding Child Custody Terms

Child custody and visitation/parenting time are the most highly contested issues in family law matters. Often, the conflict over these issues stems from one or both parties not having an accurate understanding of the legal terms and how they affect their parental rights and responsibilities. At the law firm of Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson in Columbus, Ohio, our lawyers take the time to explain the terms, the process and their effect so that our clients can keep the focus where it belongs: on the best interests of their children.

Sole Custody Vs. Shared Parenting

In Ohio, there are two types of child custody: sole custody and shared parenting. Sole custody means that one parent is designated the sole legal custodian of the child(ren) and has the authority to make all decisions with regard to their care and upbringing. Shared parenting (formally called joint custody) means that both parents are legal custodians of the child(ren) and they are obligated to jointly make decisions about their care and upbringing. The primary consideration in determining which type of custody is appropriate is the parents' ability to communicate and work together for the benefit of the child(ren).

Visitation/Parenting Time

"Parenting time" is the legal term for visitation and is not determined by the type of custody. Most people are familiar with the traditional parenting schedule where the child(ren) live primarily with one parent and visit the other parent every other weekend, on some holidays and part of the summer. This schedule is commonly used in sole custody as well as shared parenting arrangements. It is also common these days for parents to work out more flexible and more equal parenting schedules, under either type of custody, that allow both parents to maximize their time with the child(ren). These schedules can range from the child(ren) living with one parent and visiting the other one weekend a month to the child(ren) spending equal time with both parents.

We believe that parents are best able to determine what parenting schedule will be most appropriate for their children, but if they cannot agree on this or on who should establish the children's primary residence, the court will decide based on the evidence and testimony presented at trial.

Learn about relocation and child custody.

Schedule A Child Custody Consultation With One Of Our Attorneys

To schedule a consultation about child custody with a lawyer at Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, call 614-556-4231 or fill out the contact form on this website. Our law office is on Fifth Street in downtown Columbus.