In Ohio, parental rights and responsibilities are allocated by domestic relations and juvenile courts in actions for divorce, legal separation, annulment, and parental rights and responsibilities. The court has the duty to inquire about the children of the marriage and make orders for their care and maintenance, even if the issue is not raised in the pleadings.
In a dissolution, the court must ensure that the parties have made provisions for custody. Since dissolutions are uncontested, the court only needs to determine if the agreed allocation of parental rights and responsibilities is in the best interest of the child. If a Petition for Dissolution is voluntarily dismissed, the court may not retain jurisdiction to allocate parental rights and responsibilities. However, if a divorce is dismissed, the domestic court may certify matters related to parental rights and responsibilities to the juvenile court.
When allocating parental rights and responsibilities, the court may designate one parent as the child's residential parent and legal custodian, giving them complete control over the physical and legal care of the child. The court may also divide other responsibilities between the parents, such as child support and parenting time.
Alternatively, the court may grant shared parenting, where both parents are designated as the child's legal custodian and residential parent. For non-school-age children, both parents may be designated as the residential parent. For school-age children, one or both parents may be designated as the residential parent for school placement purposes. It's important to note that the designation of a residential parent for legal custodianship does not affect other designations, such as school placement, tax purposes, or receiving public assistance.