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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Protecting a business before divorce happens

When Ohio entrepreneurs get together to form a business, they may not be thinking about one another's personal lives, but doing so may be necessary to protect the company. If one business partner gets a divorce, the company could come into play during the property division stage of the proceedings.

The spouse of the partner who is divorcing may be able to claim half of the partner's share of the business. This is even more likely if the business was formed after the marriage. Prior to getting married, partners may want to consider having prenuptial agreements that address what will happen to the business in case of divorce. Post-nuptial agreements are much more vulnerable in court proceedings, so it is important to do this before the wedding.

Ohio family courts usually prefer shared custody arrangements

Getting divorced is a time in your life that can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty. After all, unless you agree on the terms of your divorce with your ex or have an ironclad prenuptial agreement, everything from when you see your children to who stays in the house is up in the air. You shouldn't let that uncertainty or fear about the outcome keep you from seeking a fresh start.

It's important for those considering divorce to understand that every family is unique, and, therefore, every divorce decree and child custody outcome is also unique. However, Ohio law has specific standards in place that can help you understand the most likely outcomes to custody proceedings in your divorce.

Co-parenting successfully after a divorce

When people in Ohio decide to divorce, they may be more than ready to leave their unhappy marriage behind. At the same time, they may be concerned about the divorce's effect on the parent-child relationship. Co-parenting can be a challenge, even for couples who were able to reach an amicable split. There can be a number of problems that arise, from discomfort at one parent's new relationships to dealing with clashes over parenting decisions as the child grows.

While co-parenting will almost always have its difficulties, it does not need to be a severe emotional strain on divorced parents. The child custody process can be eased when the two parents, while no longer spouses, maintain a commitment to a cooperative co-parenting relationship and a focus on the well-being and emotional needs of the children. This can mean showing each other flexibility in order to benefit the child's needs and wants. In addition, it is important for both parents to care for their children by refusing to disparage each other and working to foster the children's close relationship with both parents.

Divorce, retirement and single women

Ohio residents who get a divorce may discover that the process can have a negative impact on their finances, including any assets that have been set aside for retirement. In fact, people who get a divorce are more likely to run out of retirement assets than those who have never been divorced.

This is according to the results of a study conducted by the Center for Retirement Research. The results show that the net financial wealth for households that have not gone through a divorce is nearly 30 percent more than that of similar households in which a divorce has occurred.

The gig economy makes collecting child support more difficult

The gig economy has created new challenges for Ohio parents and others who are trying to collect child support. Roughly 70 percent of support owed is collected by garnishing income from paychecks, but it can be difficult to determine if someone is working for Uber or another company as a contractor. Even if a person is discovered earning money as a contract worker, the company providing the income would need to cooperate with authorities.

Generally speaking, businesses are only required to report a person to a child support database if he or she is a part-time or full-time employee. There is no requirement to do so after hiring a contract or gig worker. Currently, there is $114 billion in unpaid child support owed to custodial parents, and the amount of unpaid support increases over time. There are roughly 2.5 million adults who perform gig work, and it is believed that this number will increase to roughly 5 million by 2020.

Underemployment, hiding income to avoid child support

Some parents in Ohio who are supposed to receive child support from another parent might wonder whether that parent is using voluntary impoverishment or hiding income to avoid paying child support. Visiting the office of child support enforcement is the first step in pursuing this. If the parents do not already have a formal child support agreement in place, this office can assist a parent in filing for a child support order that is legally binding.

In voluntary impoverishment, a parent deliberately remains underemployed to keep income low to avoid child support payments. The office of child support enforcement may look at the parent's education, employment and income history to determine whether this may be the case.

Custody and visitation rights for unmarried parents

There are several reasons parents may disagree over where their children should live after they separate. Most times, both parents want what is best for their children, but when they can't agree, a family court judge may need to make the decision for them. Courts in Ohio award custody based on the best interest of the children. Courts could award sole custody to one parent or shared custody to both parents. When one parent is awarded sole custody, the other typically has rights to visitation.

To avoid a parenting time schedule that includes alternating weekends and one day during the week, parents could create their own visitation agreement and present it to the court. Because parents know their own and their children's schedules better than the judge, these agreements are often approved. Parents who don't have a good relationship may benefit from putting their own feelings aside to make an agreement that works for both of their busy lives.

You have the right to request custody modification after divorce

Divorcing is often a protracted and frustrating process. It can take months for a divorce to move through the courts. When it's all finished and you have a parenting plan and custody order in place, you may feel like the last place you ever want to be is inside a courtroom again. No matter how stressful the process may have been, it's important that you understand that the terms of your divorce are not set in stone.

Generally speaking, the process of asset division ends with the court order dividing your marital property. In some cases, such as intentionally hidden assets, however, the courts may revisit the terms of your divorce in the future. Child custody, on the other hand, is much more flexible. Situations for either parent can change quickly, requiring that you revisit the terms of your custody order.

Child support statistics provide nationwide information

Ohio single parents struggling to make ends meet often rely on child support in order to pay the bills for their children's educational, medical and other needs. Many people may see news reports about high-profile celebrity divorces and custody cases, and these reports can skew expectations and beliefs about the child support system for everyday people. For most people, child support provides just the necessary funds in order to cover basic expenses, and many parents still struggle to support their children adequately.

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks child support statistics across the country, including the number of single parents receiving child support, the total amount owed and the total amount actually paid. There are around 13.4 million single parents with custody across the country. However, less than half of them receive child support; only 48.7 percent have either a formal or an informal child support agreement in place. When people do receive child support, the vast majority do so through a formal order. Only 10.2 percent receive their child support through an unofficial, informal agreement without court involvement.

Why more women are now responsible for alimony and child support

Considering that nearly half of U.S. marriages end in a split, America has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Furthermore, the fact that the divorce rate in Ohio is about 40 percent places the state median close to that of the nation. However, what all of these statistics fail to mention is the amount of anguish and emotional turmoil involved in the process. Besides having to break a vow that was supposed to be upheld till death, couples have to deal with splitting up assets, maneuvering child custody battles and hashing out all the details pertaining to alimony and child support.

While America's divorce rate has long been high, lawyers have been witnessing an interesting trend reversal when it comes to alimony and child support -- women have been paying more and more of it. In fact, 45 percent of attorneys belonging to The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers have witnessed an uptick in the number of women paying alimony. More than half of attorneys of the same institution have noticed a rise in the number of women paying child support.

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