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There are several ways to reach a child custody agreement

In Ohio, like in any other state, a divorce can be very difficult if both spouses are not on the same page. In some cases, a child custody battle may become part of the divorce proceedings. Because there are instances in which both parents want custody, it is best to be prepared.

A family court judge will look at several factors when determining how to assign custody. The main thing that a judge hopes to understand is what is best for the child. Most courts will begin by looking at a child's health, security, emotional development and general happiness, and then will consider which parent can provide the best of these for the child. Factors that a court may look at during a custody dispute include a child's schooling as well as the gender and age of the child. A judge will also take into consideration each parent's mental and physical health.

If a child is a legal adult, however, he or she can decide where to live without the court's input. In some states, a child who is 12 or older can express an opinion about who he or she wants to live with. Many times, this is a very important part of the judge's decision.

There are other ways to have custody settled besides going to court. As long as both parents are willing to sit down with one another and discuss the situation, a dispute resolution proceeding may be an option. These can be performed outside of court and allow parents to come to a resolution with the assistance of a mediator.

Informal settlement negotiations are another option for divorced spouses to come to an agreement out of court.

While many couples agree on joint custody, as long as they are both able to care for the child, in other cases, a couple may opt for sole custody with visitation rights because one parent is incapable of caring for the child at the time a decision is made. No matter what your decision is, it is important to understand your rights as you begin working through custody proceedings.

Source: WXYZ, "What to expect in a child custody dispute," Ed Greenberger, Oct. 20, 2011

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