If you are ending your marriage or suing for custody of a child born outside marriage you should not only know about Ohio’s guidelines for determining court ordered parenting arrangements, but you need to know the rules of the county you reside in. This is especially important when you are under a shared parenting agreement.
The state of Ohio has two custodial arrangements; sole custody and shared parenting. The difference between the two is the decision-making rights of the parents. If a parent has sole custody, s/he makes final decisions for the children in matters such as education, major medical care, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities.
Shared parenting is the term the state of Ohio uses for what other states may refer to as “joint custody.” Shared parenting refers to an arrangement in a child custody or divorce case in which both parents have the right and responsibility of being actively involved in the raising of the child(ren). It’s important to remember that shared parenting does not necessarily mean an equal, 50/50 division of time with the children, child support, or any other issues.
In shared parenting situations, Ohio courts determine when both parents will see their children--called “parenting time.” Although each court schedule is different, generally the children will live primarily with one parent and see the other parent every other weekend as well as additional time during the week. This model visitation schedule is usually the base schedule that parents might expect the court to set in a divorce or custody case.
You may have broken up because of lack of communication, but the court is adamant that parents are not allowed to restrict any form of communication between their children from the other parent. This communication can include phone calls, emails, video chat or text. Unless the court orders otherwise, parents must also keep the other informed of their current address and any telephone numbers.
Shared Parenting Agreements
Most Ohio courts have a model visitation or companionship schedule that suggests a parenting time arrangement but these schedules can differ from county to county and counties often change their local visitation schedules. If you want to make sure you have the most current rules you should call, visit or look at the website of your local Clerk of Court’s office. In this blog we are going to explore the rules for Delaware, Franklin, Licking and Union counties.
Cities in Delaware County include Sunbury; Delaware, Ohio; Powell; Galena.
In Delaware County a parenting time schedule falls under Rule 13.
For parents who are unable to agree on a parenting schedule the Court tries to make sure that minor children have consistent and frequent contact with both parents. The County provides Standard Parenting Time Schedules, but because it feels that each case is unique does not have a single specific plan. If the parents are unable or not willing to decide on a schedule the magistrate or Judge will usually issue one based on Schedule A or B.
Rule 13 A Sets up a rotating schedule based on even or odd years. Weekends are alternated between the two and are considered to be from Friday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday at 6:00 p.m. Like most counties, Delaware provides a Wednesday night visitation for the parent who doesn’t have the child during the entire week.
Holidays that fall on different days each year (Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.) are alternated. Any holiday that falls on the same day every year (Easter, President’s Day, etc.) is allocated to the parent whose weekend adjoins that day, as well as any days of from school that take place on Monday or Friday.
Schedule A says that if one parent has Spring break, the other parent will get Thanksgiving break.
The Christmas break divided between two parents, the first half of the break involving one parent having the child from the beginning of Christmas break until 9:00 a.m. on Christmas day the other parent having the child(ren) until the end of Christmas break.
During the Summer, Schedule A has the parents alternate entire weeks from one Friday at 6pm to the next.
While Schedule B provides a similar parenting schedule when it comes to weekends and holidays, it is more flexible than A in the fact that the weeknight visitation can take place on any Monday through Thursday and Summer is divided into two week increments instead of one. It also states that regardless of the schedule parents should have reasonable time with the child during birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, based on circumstances.
Cities in Franklin County include Columbus, Ohio; Westerville; Gahanna; Worthington; Upper Arlington.
Rule 27 and Rule 22
Like other Ohio counties, Franklin County prefers for parents to come to an agreement about the time spent with a child without the court interfering. Realizing this is not always possible, Rule 27 dictates child custody arrangements for divorcing couples who are unable to agree on another solution. Rule 22 is what dictates custody for unmarried people who are unable to agree on custody arrangements.
When it comes to the school year, Franklin County has 4 options to choose from:
This Option uses an alternating weekly schedule that includes Saturday and Sunday. The parent who the child is not currently staying with is allowed to spend one weekday evening with the child from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, the default being Wednesday.
This Option uses the more traditional alternating weekend schedule. It also divides the week itself from after school on Monday to Wednesday before school with the other parent having visitation from Wednesday after school to Friday before school.
With option C, The parents alternate weekends as well as have one overnight a week if the child is not currently staying with them.
For Option D, weekends are also alternated. The parent who the child is not currently staying with is allowed to spend one weekday evening with the child from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, the default being Wednesday.
Holidays and “Special” Days
Franklin County allocates holidays by odd and even years as well as Winter and Spring break, with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day going to the respective parent. Other days off from school or other “special” days, the court allows the parents to decide where their children will be. If the parents are unable to agree the regular weekend/weekday schedule is used.
Summer and Vacations
Franklin County divides the period of summer into two week blocks but continues with the alternating weekend schedule established during the school year. The county also allows each parent a two week vacation time with their child as long as the other parent has been informed 30 days ahead of time and is given a general itinerary including dates, locations, etc.
Cities in Licking County, Ohio include Newark, Ohio; Granville; Heath; Johnstown.
In Licking County (Local Rule 19.0) the shared parenting schedule assumes that parenting time will apply with all children together unless the parents agree otherwise. As in all divorce or custody cases, the Licking County Domestic Court encourages both parents to act with as much flexibility as possible in order to accommodate each other. Like many courts, Licking County has a schedule that designates a particular amount of parental contact if the parents themselves are unable to reach agreement on a custody schedule.
Age Makes a Difference
When it comes to shared parenting agreements, the Licking County Domestic court does have special provisions in place for children of certain ages: infants, toddlers, and teenagers.
Infants and Toddlers (0 to 3 years of age)
Children under the age of three have very different ideas of time than older children and the court feels that children of this age need more frequent contact with both parents than Rule 19.0 specifies. As always, the court prefers for the parents to come up with and agree to flexible scheduling times for infants and very young children. If the parents are unable to agree, the court may order a separate shared parenting schedule for infants and toddlers, even if there are older children in the family.
Teenagers (13 to 18 years of age)
The Licking County Domestic Court recognizes that children’s lives change as they get older. Often 13 to 18-year-olds have more activities going on than when they were younger--dating, a part-time job, school or organization activities, getting a driver’s license and spending time with friends--especially during weekends and summer vacation. The court will also take an older child’s wishes into account pertaining to custody arrangement as long as both parents agree to abide by these wishes.
Weekends and Weekdays
The Licking County Domestic court says that the non-residential parent will have parenting time on alternate weekends beginning Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ending Monday morning. On Monday the parent has the option of dropping of the child(ren) at school, daycare or at the house of the residential parent by 9am. The Court allows the non-residential parent midweek visitation on Wednesdays beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending Thursday morning when the child can be dropped off at school, daycare or the residential parent’s home by 9:00 a.m.
Holidays and “Special” Days
Birthdays, spring break, and holidays are also given a schedule, are divided up into odd and even years. Mother and Father’s Day are spent with the celebrating parent from 9:00 am to 6:00pm. Home-schooled children follow the schedule of the residential parent’s school district. Any of all parts of the schedule can be changed if both parties agree.
Custody during the school year can be easy to figure out, but when it comes to Summer Break, even parents that initially agree on most of their parenting schedule may be unable to come to an agreement because of summer vacations and/or travel. As with the rest of court ordered custody agreements, even and odd years are used to determine the parenting schedule.
The Domestic Court of Licking County requires that parents choose from one of four options, even if they have come to a personal scheduling agreement during the school year. If you have multiple children with different length summer breaks than the shortest break dictates the schedule. Home- schooled children follow the schedule of residential parent’s school district. All the agreements include the right of both parents to take their children on vacation as long as they provide a 30-day notice to the other parent.
The court also states that the vacationing parent has to provide a travel itinerary that includes the times of arrival and departure, destination, methods of travel and contact information to use during the vacation. Each option allows each parent to delegate a portion of his/her vacation time to a close relative.
Option 1 (One week rotating schedule):
This option uses alternating weeks beginning and ending at 6pm on Fridays and continues during the remainder of the summer break. This option is the default option for ex parte orders (emergency motions filed without first notifying the other party) and temporary orders during a pending divorce case but may be ordered in other cases as well.
Option 2 (Two week rotating schedule):
During the child(ren)'s summer break from school, the parenting time is in alternating two-week periods beginning and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. Each parent is allowed to take their children on an uninterrupted two week vacation during their block of time provided that they follow the 30 day rule and provide the other parent with a travel itinerary.
Option 3 (Summer divided at mid-date):
This is the default option for a long distance situation--when the parents live more than 150 miles from each other, but can be used in other cases as well. An important thing to note is that Option 3 supersedes days of special meaning and birthdays that occur during the summer. This option provides two weeks of uninterrupted vacation time during each parent’s half of the summer as long as the 30-day and travel itinerary rules are followed.
Option 4 (maintain existing parenting time schedule):
If a final divorce or custody decree does not include a specific summer parenting time option then the court can choose this option. During the child(ren)'s summer break from school, the parties will continue to operate under their existing parenting time schedule.
Cities located in the Ohio county of Union include Marysville; Dublin, Ohio; Plain City; Richwood.
Rules 18.08, 12.2 and 22
Union County also wants parents to come to an agreement about the time spent with a child between themselves, but does set a minimum standard. Realizing this is not always possible, Rules 18.08 and 12.2 dictates child custody arrangements for divorcing couples, Rule 22 is what dictates custody for unmarried couples.
Union County also recommends that their schedule not be used for children under 3 or children who have not interacted with one parent for a long time and prefers to look at these situations on a case-by-case basis.
Holidays and Special Days
Like most other counties, Union sets up an odd and even year holiday schedule, with Mother’s and Father’s Day spent with the respective parent. Spring and Winter break are also divided this way. For couples having one child, birthdays are divided up into the non-residental parent having the child in odd years and the residential parent having the child in even years. If the couple has more than one child, the court goes by birth order (firstborn, second child, etc.) in determining which child spends time with which parent. Parenting time is divided up into odd numbered children in odd years and even numbered children in even years.
Weekends and Weekdays
The Union county court says that the non-residential parent will have parenting time on alternate weekends beginning Friday at 7:00 p.m. and ending Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Non-residential parent midweek visitation is allowed on Wednesdays beginning at 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Weekends alternate between the residential and non-residental parent and run from Friday at 7:00 p.m. to Sunday at 7:00 p.m. This schedule is maintained during the summer even when interrupted by a birthday, holiday or vacation time. This means that one parent may have the children three weekends in a row.
Summer and Vacations
As with the rest of the Union County Court ordered custody agreements, even and odd years are used to determine the parenting schedule over summer break and for vacations. Union County defines summer break as the day after children are out of school until seven days before school begins. Each time is calculated by totaling the number of intervening weeks and dividing it in half. Even numbered years the residential parent chooses the beginning date of summer parenting time, in odd years, the non-residential. Weekends alternate between odd (non-residential) and even (residential) parent.
In the summer, Union County provides each parent with an uninterrupted vacation of not more than two weeks. If traveling away from home, the court also states that the vacationing parent has to provide a travel itinerary that includes the times of arrival and departure, destination, methods of travel and contact information to use during the vacation.
No standard schedule will meet the needs of every parent-child relationship, so a couple is always encouraged to come up with their own agreement that will meet both their needs and their children’s specific circumstances, no matter where in Ohio they live.
Need more information on child custody? Have questions about your shared parenting agreement? Contact Jack’s Law Office at (740) 369-7567.
Jack W. Carney-DeBord is licensed and admitted to the practice law in the State of Ohio-ONLY. Jack has no intention of soliciting clients in any state other than Ohio and nothing posted on this website should be viewed as any attempt to solicit or do business in ANY state other than the State of Ohio.
The content on this website is provided as general information only and is not legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based upon information provided in this site without first consulting legal counsel.
Use of this website does not create an attorney client relationship between you and Jack's Law Office.