CHILLICOTHE – Most Ohio courts have default parenting plans in place that aren’t in the best interest of children, according to a recent study.
The National Parenting Organization’s Ohio Parenting Time Report called out courts, including those in Ross and Pike counties, for having default plans where the non-residential parent has less than 20 percent of time with their children when not including holidays and vacation and only considering parents living within close proximity.
“Sometimes those in the court system suggest that these guidelines aren’t important because they are just a ‘starting point,’ parents are free to agree to something else, and the courts can, if they find reasons based on the best interest of the children, order a different schedule,” Don Hubin, chair of the Ohio chapter of the NPO and corresponding author of the report, said via email. “This is a perplexing response: if guidelines have no effect, then why do we have them at all; if they are at all effective, they should be based on the best research we have about child well-being.”
Every common pleas court is required by law to adopt “standard parenting time guidelines” to order in cases where the parents cannot agree to a parenting schedule. The report only looked at the default plans and not how often they were used because the data is not collected by the courts. Hubin said the only way to know how often there is deviation would be to pull the parenting plans from every case file.
The only courts that received an A were those where each parent was given seven days for every 14. A judge in Jefferson County, which received an A-, told the local paper adjusting its default parenting…
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