You’re headed for divorce, and you’re worried (or terrified) that you won’t get a fair deal when it comes to custody of the children — simply because you’re their father rather than their mother.
Legally, the courts aren’t supposed to treat men and women any differently when it comes to custody and visitation. The days when women were automatically presumed to be more nurturing than men are long gone.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can count on every Ohio judge to start out with the presumption that custody should be more or less equally divided. That may change, however, in the near future.
Legislation is being drafted that would put mothers and fathers on equal footing
State Rep. Thomas West and the Ohio Legislative Service Commission are working on legislation that would, if it becomes law, require the courts to make equal custody the “default” option (subject to rebuttal) when parents divorce.
The Canton legislator, along with the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, says that the courts currently are more likely to award primary custody of the children to mothers over fathers, and that fathers may even be villainized in the process.
According to another legislator who supports the bill, Rep. Rodney Creech, it would mean that “instead of you having to prove you’re a good parent, the courts have to prove you’re a bad parent.”
There are plenty of family court judges who already believe that shared custody is best — and there are things you can do to show the court that you’re an involved parent who is more than capable of handling shared custody. Learning more about your options is wise.