Ohio Supreme Court Clarifies "Shared Parenting Law"

The Ohio Supreme Court has clarified that when parents terminate a shared-parenting plan and seek to designate one parent as the residential parent and child’s legal custodian, a trial court need only to determine the child’s best interest when selecting the parent.

A Supreme Court majority resolved a conflict among Ohio appeals courts as to whether a trial court must also consider a “change in circumstances” along with the child’s best interest when ending a shared-parenting arrangement and picking one parent as the residential parent while granting the other parent several rights, including visitation.

Writing for the Court majority, Justice Melody J. Stewart explained that the procedures are different when a trial court needs to modify a shared-parenting plan and when it terminates a shared-parenting decree and plan. When a plan and decree are terminated, a court need only consider the child’s best interest, she wrote.

The decision affirmed the Tenth District Court of Appeals, which upheld the Franklin County Juvenile Court’s decision to designate Kayleigh Bruns as the sole residential parent and legal custodian of a child she had in 2012 with Marcus Green.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Judith L. French, Patrick F. Fischer, R. Patrick DeWine, and Michael P. Donnelly joined Justice Stewart’s decision.

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