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Custody hearings and the child's best interests

Ohio parents who are getting a divorce and who have been unable to come to an agreement with each other about child custody might need to enter litigation. While a child custody battle may not be the best outcome, there are strategies parents can use that could increase the likelihood that they will win custody.

The first step is learning about custody law. The parent may want to hire an attorney. Dressing appropriately for a court appearance and following court etiquette may make a favorable impression. Parents should bring any supporting documentation into the custody hearing. The court will then make a decision based on who would be the best parent for the child.

With the child's best interests as the priority, that final decision might be one that a parent disagrees with or finds inconvenient. However, the noncustodial parent is still likely to be granted some visitation time, and the estranged couple can then turn to putting together a parenting plan that may cover issues that child custody does not.

In a divorce, child custody may be one of the most difficult things to negotiate, but parents should keep in mind that they will need to continue co-parenting for as long as their children are minors. Therefore, in the parenting plan, they may want to focus on anticipating any conflict that may arise. While certain issues, such as changes in child support, can require a trip back to court, parents should try to work out more minor issues between themselves. If necessary, their respective attorneys can be brought in again. Over time, if children's needs change as they get older or they decide they want to live with the other parent, the custody issue might be revisited.

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