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Family Law Myths

Family Law / Family Law Myths

Some of the most pervasive myths I hear in my daily practice are those about shared parenting. The general idea of shared parenting is that the child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents as long as it serves in the best interest of the child and it is possible for the parents.

Myth One: Every Parent Gets A Shot At Shared Parenting

The factors the Court considers in determining whether shared parenting is appropriate are located in Ohio Rev. Code § 3109.04(F)(2) as outlined below: 1. The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly. 2. The ability of each parent to encourage the sharing of love, affection and contact between the child and the other parent. 3. Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, other domestic violence, or parental kidnapping by either parent. 4. The geographic proximity of the parents to each other, as the proximity relates to the practical considerations of shared parenting. 5. The recommendation of the guardian ad litem for the child.

Myth Two: If A Parent Gets Shared Parenting, They Will Not Pay Child Support

The Court in Pauly v. Pauly (1997), 80 Ohio St. 3d 386 held that the court must follow the child support statute and that Ohio Rev. Code §3113.15(B)(6)(a) is applicable. Further, the court states that there is no automatic credit in child support obligations under a shared parenting decree. It is possible, however that an obligor under a shared parenting decree prove that they will make sufficient in-kind contributions during their extended parenting time which would justify a decrease/adjustment in child support. If the parties’ incomes are similar and the parties split the parenting time equally, it is likely there will be no exchange of child support. If however, the obligor earns more than the obligee, despite having equal time, there will likely be a child support obligation. Said obligation may be reduced however given that obligor will have in-kind contributions given they will have the child additional time.

Myth Three: Shared Parenting Means Week On/Week Off Parenting Time or Equal Time

Many people believe shared parenting means the parties share the child according to a week on/week off schedule. It does not. In fact, some courts will not approve a week on/week off schedule. Courts differ as to what they will and will not approve. The parties to a shared parenting plan have great latitude in fashioning a schedule that makes sense given their work schedules, school schedules, and the like however the schedule must also be in the child’s best interest.

Myth Four: Non-Parents May Operate Under A Shared Parenting Plan

Only parents may be awarded shared parenting