Individuals with children who are going through divorce are aware that child custody can be one of the most complicated aspects. Those in domestic partnerships also face the same child custody issues as traditionally married couples.
Judge grants full custody to former domestic partner
The biological mother of an 11-year-old girl recently lost physical custody of the girl to her former domestic partner. The biological mother was granted only supervised visitation. The two women previously lived together in Pennsylvania and raised the child from birth until age five.
The judge based his decision on a number of factors, including the fact that the biological mother violated a court order by moving the child five hours away to Ohio. He claims this act demonstrated a deliberate attempt to isolate the child from her other parent.
The biological mother says the judge’s decision is not in the best interests of the child, who suffers from a multitude of health problems, including autism and anxiety. She claims her former domestic partner is not able to handle the responsibility of caring for the child. She also alleges that the child’s numerous health issues affect her ability to travel with the child and attend court hearings.
The judge noted that the girl’s health problems did cause him to hesitate when making the decision. However, he claims there is no evidence the former domestic partner is not able to care for the child.
Helpful advice for separating or divorcing couples
Although divorcing or separating is often emotional and traumatic, it is important to remain calm and reasonable, especially if children are involved. Remember that a divorce or separation is harder on children than adults. Do not make children choose one parent over the other, and let them know that they are still allowed to love both parents equally.
There are two types of child custody: physical and legal. Physical custody is where the child resides the majority of the time, and legal custody is the right to make decisions regarding a child’s schooling, medical care and other critical issues.
Openly communicate with a spouse or partner about plans to spend time with children while permanent child custody is being determined. Do not violate any temporary agreements during this time.
Ohio law has a preference for shared parenting, in which both parents share equal legal custody. Courts frown on parents who hide or disappear with children and will send police to track the parent down; behaving in this manner hurts the parent’s chances of receiving shared legal custody, physical custody and even visitation time in the future.
The same rules apply to property. Do not hide possessions or “give them away” to friends or family during the divorce process with plans to reacquire them later. Deceptive actions such as these are usually discovered and your ex-spouse can take you back to court to settle the disposition of these assets.
Any major life plans should be put on hold until a divorce is final and all custody issues are completed. Attempting to relocate or accepting an out-of-state job complicates and prolongs the process.
An individual going through a divorce or separation who is facing child custody issues can benefit from an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can provide valuable guidance and assist with obtaining a mutually beneficial solution for all involved parties.