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Shared Parenting Explained on Daytime Columbus

Robin Haines [00:00–00:19]: "Putting a child's needs first is the responsibility of every parent. When a couple divorces in the state of Ohio, the court becomes the overseer of those needs. It is by no means a simple situation, and the complexities require expert legal advice at times. So for that, today we are turning to Ron Petroff from Petroff Law Offices. So good to have you back Ron."

Ronald Petroff [00:20–00:21]: "Good to be back, Robin."

Robin Haines [00:22–00:31]: "Today, we're talking about the difference between shared parenting, and sole-custody. So we'll start with the basics, defining exactly what is 'shared parenting'—what does that mean?"

Ronald Petroff [00:32–01:54]: "Robin, one of the biggest misconception out there in the public, is the differences between shared parenting and sole-custody. Shared parenting is very much favored by the courts—all of the 88 counties in Ohio. What that means, is joint decision making on behalf of the child. It doesn't necessarily mean a visitation schedule, or an equal devision of time. It simply connotes decision making authority, such as class choices for school, religious, medical, and extracurricular."

"Often times one parent takes the lead on making decisions for the child on small things, like what they wear everyday or how they get their hair cut, and on bigger things, like what extracurricular activities they are enrolled in or medical decisions."

"The term 'shared parenting' is a legal term, and it means that both parents will consult with each other and make a joint decision about such maters that affect the day-to-day life of a child. It does not mean, and I want to be clear about this, because this is the misconception and why I wanted to talk about this today, it does not mean a 50/50 or equal time parenting schedule. That is a term of a shared parenting plan, but it does not mean shared parenting"

Robin Haines [01:55–02:09]: "Do you have a lot of people come in who are under that impression? That, because I have an equal part in making these decisions, I deserve a 50/50 split? Is that where is gets to be a gray area for parents?"

Ronald Petroff [02:10–2:28]: "It's not just a gray area for parents, it's a gray area for some attorneys also, who don't understand that the term 'shared parenting' doesn't mean that there is going to be equal division of visitation. That's the issue. People throw that term out there, but it really connotes a decision making authority, not a visitation schedule."

Robin Haines [02:29–02:42]: "So, sole-custody... Since, obviously Ohio courts prefer shared [custody], we know still that sole-custody does happen in a lot of situations, how do you define that then? "

Ronald Petroff [02:43–3:19]: "Sole custody is sole decision making authority. You don't have to consult with the other parent about anything relating to the child. And I have a whole boat load of cases, where one parent has sole custody, but they have an equal devision of parenting. But its sole custody, so the other parent has not decision making authority. The converse of that is, I have a ton of shared parenting cases where they have joint decision parent, but on of the parents only see the children every other weekend."

Robin Haines [03:20–03:26]: "In this case, when you have a non-custodial parent, does that mean they still have rights to the child? "

Ronald Petroff [03:27–04:02]: "It depends where we are in the case. When you say 'non custodial parent', if the mother and the father have a child out of wedlock, which we discussed the last time I was on, then if the father does not make an action with the court does not have any legal rights at all. But if it has gone through a divorce and the court or an agreement was reached that one parent has sole custody, they have some legal rights as it pertains to records access, medical records, school records, things like that. But as it relates to the day to day decisions, the real meat-and-potatoes of parenting, no they don't have decision making authority."

Robin Haines [04:03–04:25]: "This can get into a lot of gray areas. So if you are talking about a divorce with your spouse, with your child's father or mother, how soon should you reach out for legal advice, or legal representation to figure out if your best interest are going to be met?"

Ronald Petroff [04:26–04:49]: "Preparation is very important. As soon as there is an inkling that there could be a split, I really recommend that you go and consult with an attorney. You don't need to necessarily retain one, but at least sit down. It there is a consult fee, pay the consult fee to meet with the lawyer and get your information. Knowledge is power in this area. "

Robin Haines [04:50–4:56]: "Right, and there is a lot of knowledge at Petroff Law Offices. You've handled a number of these cases. Ron, thank you."

Ronald Petroff [4:57–4:59]: "Thank you for having me."

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