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How to handle shared legal custody of your kids with your ex

Divorces bring with them a host of complications, and if you have children, even more so. They have a way of making your relationships with the people you care about the most, including your own children, much more difficult. Unless you and your ex manage to divorce relatively amicably, the courts will be the ones who decide how to split custody between the two of you.

It is more common than not for the Ohio courts to decide to share custody between the parents. Parents will likely each have partial responsibility for physical custody, which amounts to your time with the children in your presence, in your home and under your authority.

You will also likely share legal custody, which refers to decision-making authority for your children. Shared physical custody usually follows carefully created guidelines from the court. All you have to do is follow the set schedule and things should work out just fine. However, shared legal custody often means intense discussions and even arguments because of how open-ended it usually is.

Both of you will probably have strong opinions about major choices

As a parent, you are responsible for some of the most important decisions made about your child's life. You decide where they live and go to school. You decide what religion they practice and what social experiences they have. You even get to make important decisions about their medical care.

If you and your ex have different values, you may very well disagree about education, social obligations and medical care. That can lead to a lot of conflict when you share legal custody of your children.

You will need to prepare yourself to compromise, even on issues that seem of desperate importance, like what religious service your children will attend on a certain holiday. Being willing to work with your ex will make the divorce easier for you and for your children.

Agree to some kind of dispute resolution system for solving disagreements

The chances are good that you will eventually have major parenting decisions that you can't agree on. Maybe it is an overnight extracurricular trip for school. Perhaps it is a medical procedure that one of you doesn't believe is truly necessary.

When such a disagreement arises, it is best to have a system for resolving it already in place. Perhaps you can agree to work with a neutral third-party, such as a counselor. Maybe you have friends or family members who can help you negotiate. In some cases, you may even need to begin communicating through your Columbus attorneys if the situation requires it. Whatever solution you arrive at, taking the time to think about potential future pitfalls will make your future co-parenting relationship.

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