Many divorcing couples say that they want to work out Joint-Custody of their children, but wonder how to make that a part of the Divorce Decree. Well, the answer is that there is such a thing as Joint Custody under Ohio divorce statutes, but it is not actually called “Joint Custody”. Rather, in Ohio, what people generally mean by Joint Custody is something called “Shared Parenting Plan”. With a shared parenting plan, the parties agree to share the parenting responsibilities such that one parent is not designated as the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the minor children. The parties agree on some form of shared parenting plan and submit the plan to the court for its approval. If the Court accepts the shared parenting plan, then the plan is actually incorporated as part of the final divorce decree and both parents will have be deemed to have legal custody of the children, as opposed to one parent being the residential/custodial parent and the other having visitation rights only.
So if an attorney or a court talks about a shared parenting plan, remember that that is simply a term for what most people refer to as joint custody.