Modification of Shared Parenting

There is presently some disagreement among Ohio court as to the proper test to be applied when one or both parents seek a modification of their shared parenting plan. This section of the law was badly written and is directly the cause of the disagreement. One section simply sets forth a test providing that the modification of the shared parenting plan must be in the “best interest of the children.”

Another section sets forth a more rigorous test: The court shall not modify a prior decree allocating parental rights and responsibilities unless it finds, based on facts that have arisen since the prior decree or that were unknown to the court at the time of the prior decree, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree, and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the child. In applying these standards, the court shall retain the residential parent designated by the prior shared parenting decree, unless a modification is in the best interest of the child and one of the following applies:
(i) Both parents under a shared parenting decree agree to a change in the designation of residential parent.
(ii) The child, with the consent of both parents under a shared parenting decree, has been integrated into the family of the person seeking to become the residential parent.
(iii) The harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantages of the change of environment to the child.

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