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New school year may merit new child custody arrangements

The start of a new school year is a good time for co-parents in Ohio to assess child custody arrangements. A custody schedule negotiated when children were younger may no longer fit the children's or parents' schedules.

An important consideration for co-parents is open communication. Objective communication confirming pick-up and drop-off times and locations serves the interests of the children and avoids children being picked up late or being left without adequate supervision. Smartphone apps are available to assist parents in maintaining custody schedules and in communicating with each other regarding custody arrangements or other issues.

A number of changes may merit a change in a custody schedule. A child who is starting to school may be mature enough to handle more frequent transitions. Children may begin participation in school or community activities that result in different transportation arrangements and different windows of available time to spend with one parent or the other. A child may develop a health condition that calls for an extended stay with one parent. A parent may change jobs, requiring a change in the custody schedule to reflect a different work schedule.

Some co-parents cooperatively manage occasional changes in child custody schedules. However, it is important to remember that the child custody schedule is binding, and any permanent change must be approved by the court. A parent should be cautious of repeatedly conceding custody time to the other parent; the other parent may go to court to try to have the change incorporated permanently into the agreement. A divorced parent who believes that an existing custody order is no longer appropriate may want to obtain the advice of a family law attorney.

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