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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Points to consider when dividing a business in a divorce

When couples in Ohio get a divorce, if they own a business together, they must decide whether they are going to keep it or sell it. In some cases, their financial situation might dictate what happens.

Keeping the business means that the two must be able to work together effectively, or they must somehow restructure the business in a way that allows them to have less contact. It may be that both people are so integral to the business that they must either continue running it together or sell it. In other cases, one person may want to keep the business and one may want to sell, but the person who wants to keep it might not have the money to buy out the other person. A payment plan is one way to resolve this, but it still may be too much of a financial burden. If one person does keep the business, they may want to create a noncompete agreement. The business should also be appraised before one person buys the other out.

Buying the family home during a divorce

The biggest asset on the table for many Ohio couples who are ending their marriage is the family home. A common option is for one spouse to buy out the other one. But before this happens, it's typically advised that they determine if this is financially feasible by treating the purchase as a new home buy instead of an ownership transfer.

People who are considering making an offer for this type of marital property are more likely to be in a better position to do so if they know how much equity they have in the home. This figure is determined by subtracting debt obligations from the home's value, which can be provided by a neutral appraiser. A broker price opinion and a comparative market analysis based on results from sales of nearby properties are other possible valuation methods. Property tax assessments, however, may not be up to date.

Protecting a credit score during a divorce

Ohio couples know how stressful a divorce can be, especially when children are involved. Many life-changing decisions have to be made during a relatively short period of time. Typical issues to resolve include child custody, child support, alimony and the division of property. What some spouses may not realize, however, is that decisions made during a divorce can affect a credit score.

To be clear, simply getting a divorce does not directly impact a person's credit. However, creditors and collection agencies may not honor the dissolution of joint accounts as spelled out in a divorce decree. Because of this, a credit agency might attempt to collect late payments from both spouses on a loan that was made jointly even though the divorce decree specifies just one spouse is responsible for future payments. If an ex-spouse ignores a judge's order to make payments, the other spouse's personal credit score could suffer.

Child custody when there's no father's name on birth certificate

At one time, it was rare in Ohio and other states for a child to be born to an unwed mother. Today, however, this is an increasingly common situation. In fact, about 40 percent of children in the United States are born to parents who are not married, a jump of nearly 20 percent since 2007. With instances where a father isn't listed on the birth certificate, further legal questions arise.

Most custody laws are still based on the assumption that a child's parents are legally married at birth. But when a father is not listed on a birth certificate and shows no interest in being a part of a child's life, some mothers have concerns about officially seeking sole custody. For instance, an unwed mother might wonder if filing for custody could cause an absent dad to suddenly demand joint custody or seek visitation.

5 tips for co-parents going through a divorce in Ohio

Child custody arrangements can be difficult to adjust to when you are going through a divorce. One of the methods for sharing the children is co-parenting. This requires parents in Columbus to work closely together to make decisions for the kids and ensure that they are actively involved in rearing them.

This parenting arrangement has many benefits, but it also comes with some challenges. It is imperative that both parents work toward keeping things peaceful and positive. This takes work, but it is worth the effort.

Don't let emotions affect financial decisions during divorce

Ohio residents going through a divorce are dealing with a number of challenges that affect them emotionally. Deciding what to do with a cherished family home or deciding how issues pertaining to child custody are addressed can take a toll on an individual. The danger is that a person will become so focused on what is going on in their divorce now that they fail to think about how their decisions will have a long-term effect. This is especially true when it comes to financial decisions made during divorce about retirement.

When negotiating financial decisions during divorce, it is natural for a sense of despair to set in and cause a person to feel overwhelmed. This is why it's important to think about what life will be like on the other side of the divorce and see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The emotions a person experiences are understandable, but it is dangerous to let those emotions run wild to the point where they lead to making poor financial decisions.

How to make a divorce as simple as possible

Ohio residents and others have likely heard that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently finalized his divorce. Although most divorces don't garner as much publicity as his did, there are many lessons that people can learn from his experience. For instance, it is important to create and control a divorce narrative. This can be especially important for those who have children or who otherwise want their marriages to end as smoothly as possible.

It is important to note that individuals are allowed to disagree or have mixed feelings about their former spouses in private. However, a unified public front may help a former couple work through the divorce process in a civil manner. To further keep a divorce process civil, it may be worthwhile to consider using a mediator or going through a collaborative divorce. This enables both parties to the marriage to work together to solve problems instead of aiming to win a battle.

Legal and physical custody more likely to be shared

When Ohio parents of young children get divorced, they may share both legal and physical custody. A parent with legal custody has the right to make decisions about such issues as the child's religion and medical care. The child lives with the parent who has physical custody. Increasingly, family law courts are starting from a presumption of joint legal custody and are much more open to shared physical custody.

This has not always been the case. One Wisconsin study found that in 80 percent of custody cases in the state in 1980, mothers were awarded sole physical custody. That percentage was just 42 percent by 2008. In 1980, shared custody in which the child spent equal time with both parents was only awarded in 5 percent of divorces. It was 27 percent in 2008. Shared custody in which the child spent more time with one parent than the other increased to 18 percent from 3 percent. Shared physical custody with equal time can present some problems with working parents in getting the child back and forth on weekdays, so this is not always a practical arrangement.

Preparing to co-parent after the divorce

A challenge that divorcing parents may face in Ohio is how to retool their relationship for co-parenting. Even though the romantic relationship is over and there is sometimes a great deal of tension between the former spouses, they need to communicate and work together for the good of their children. At the same time, issues related to child custody and visitation can be some of the most emotionally challenging parts of the divorce process. By keeping some key tips in mind and focusing on the best interests of the children, parents can help to develop a new co-parenting relationship for the benefit of the kids.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when co-parenting is the importance of flexibility. During the child custody process, divorcing parents will need to figure out an overall parenting plan. This can include the schedule for custody or visitation, the division of holidays and other plans far in advance. However, children's lives and plans can change, and it can be important to be flexible. The children are at the center of the process, rather than one parent "winning" over the other parent.

The role of expert witnesses in a divorce

People in Ohio who decide to divorce may face a number of unique and complicating factors. Every person's divorce is different, and the issues that can accompany the end of a marriage will be affected by whether a couple has children or how amicable the separation may be. In addition, financial issues can have a major effect on the divorce process. A divorce that involves dividing a business or other assets in a high net worth family may require the involvement of a number of professionals to help both parties arrive at a fair result.

People going through a divorce may turn to a family law attorney to guide the legal process of dissolving a marriage. However, a lawyer may bring in other experts to testify when needed. One of the types of expert witnesses most commonly involved in divorce cases is a child custody expert. When parents cannot reach an agreement in a contentious custody case, an expert can offer recommendations about the best interests of the child. Frequently, these experts are psychologists, psychiatrists or other licensed mental health professionals who can interview the parents and children involved.

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