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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Deciding what to do with the family home in a divorce

Dividing the family home can be a difficult and complicated affair for a divorcing couple living in Ohio. Most assets that a couple has do not retain a lot of emotional value. However, a home is attached to memories. In many cases, the couple raised their children under that roof. Or it could be that the couple still has minor children who don't want to be uprooted from the neighborhood and school that they have known.

Some divorcing couples have decided that it is in their best interest to sell the home and divide the proceeds. This is an easy and clean way to split all the accumulated equity. However, if either individual makes money off of the sale, they may get hit with capital gains taxes. Furthermore, one would need to make sure that their credit and finances were in place before finding a new home.

Keeping investments safe in a divorce

Ohio residents who are considering a divorce may want to take a look at their investments and how they might be affected. For people who do not handle the family finances, it is important to know what all the assets are and how to access them.

Dividing up investments may not be a simple process. Selling them and splitting the proceeds may not make things any easier. For example, selling securities could incur a capital gains tax. It may not be possible to withdraw from or split other investments, such as annuities, without paying significant penalties.

When visitation time poses a problem

Parents in Ohio who divorce or separate may later face conflicts about how to divide child custody and visitation. While children benefit strongly from a close relationship with both parents, the differences between the parents can boil over into challenges in creating a successful parenting plan. When one parent has primary custody, the other parent may have visitation with the kids. Visitation is usually a part of ensuring shared time for the children. In some cases, however, the custodial parent may have serious concerns about continuing the visitation schedule as ordered.

For example, a parent may be concerned that the children spend most of their visitation time being watched by a partner of the other parent or providing babysitting services to a smaller half-sibling. Other parents may be concerned about the potential for abuse or lack of supervision, especially if the non-custodial parent is aware of previous issues with domestic violence or drug or alcohol addiction. In other cases, the kids themselves may express fear, anxiety and regret about their visits, even if they are not specific about why they do not want to go back to visitation.

Guilt and other emotions you might experience when divorcing

The decision to divorce is never ever easy for parents. Not only do they have to balance the matters that come with the end of any marriage, they also have to handle the points related to the children. This is often the most difficult part of the situation, but finding ways to cope can reduce stress.

One of the biggest concerns for parents is how they are going to be able to adjust to becoming single parents. They may have many sleepless nights thinking about this, and some people think that the worry is even more pronounced when you have children.

Child support modifications for parents facing hardship

Child support is important for kids in Ohio. When both parents contribute to the well-being of the children, the kids have more opportunities and are much less likely to live in poverty. Child support assessments are based on parental income. However, those orders are based on the parents' income at the time the order was made, not on other factors that may develop later down the road. As a result, parents may find themselves facing difficulties meeting their child support obligations if they lose their jobs, suffer a health problem or develop a disability.

Child support debt can be a major obstacle. It generally cannot be discharged even during personal bankruptcy. Parents who go into debt for child support may face enforcement actions and wage garnishment. In some cases, they may be denied passports or even face jail time. For parents living in poverty or facing economic hardship, the harsh penalties aimed at parents who refuse to pay support can be even more devastating and make it more difficult to get out of the hole in which they find themselves. These are some of the most important reasons why people facing financial difficulties may wish to file for a child support modification as soon as possible.

Child support agreements can be reached privately

Divorced parents in Ohio and throughout the country have the right to ask a judge to create child support orders for them. However, it may be better for individuals to come to an agreement on their own. Agreements may be reached in private or with the help of a mediator. Coming to terms on a child support agreement outside of court can be beneficial because the parents have more control over the process of negotiating the deal.

Parents will also have more control over what the final agreement looks like, but a judge will still need to review a child support arrangement before it becomes official. Generally speaking, any agreement negotiated outside of court will be approved as long as it adheres to state guidelines. The person presiding over the case will also need to make sure that all parties understand the agreement and that it was negotiated in good faith.

How personality traits can raise divorce risk

Certain personality traits may increase the likelihood that an Ohio resident might get a divorce. One of those traits is a tendency to catastrophize. People who do so tend to blow up small incidents into large ones. Some attorneys actually report clients who file for divorce multiple times and then each time realize they are overreacting.

Another personality trait that could cause problems is when one person is excessively giving. While this may seem generous, it is actually a way to avoid emotional intimacy since it ensures that one person never needs anything from the other. Refusing to argue can also be a problem. When couples do not argue, they do not resolve issues. However, it is important for both people to take responsibility for their roles in causing problems in the relationship. If one person is narcissistic, that person may always insist on being the victim.

Make sure you answer these divorce mediation questions

When facing divorce mediation, it's critical to understand what you're getting into. The right knowledge allows you to prepare accordingly.

There are a variety of divorce mediation questions to answer as you inch toward the process, with these among the most important:

  • What is the role of a divorce mediator? A divorce mediator is not the same as a family law judge, as this person doesn't have the power to make legally binding decisions. Instead, they're responsible for facilitating communication, asking questions to clear the air, providing information on the legal system and identifying resolutions, among other details.
  • How long does divorce mediation take? This depends on many factors, most importantly the willingness of both individuals to negotiate and compromise. The first step in the process is a meeting where each individual identifies the issues to discuss. From there, further meetings are scheduled to hash out the details of the divorce.
  • Are you required to spend any time in court? As long as you work through all of your issues in mediation, there is no requirement to make a court appearance.
  • Is divorce mediation cheaper than litigation? While not always the case, this typically holds true since you're able to proceed in a more efficient manner.
  • Does it make sense to work with an attorney during divorce mediation? You're not required to have legal representation, but it typically makes sense to do so. Your legal team can explain what to expect, answer your questions along the way, and, most importantly, protect your legal rights in Ohio.

Reacting to a child's request to live with the other parent

There is a chance that a child in Ohio will want to live with a noncustodial parent. Ideally, custodial parents will not take this personally and engage in a discussion about the topic. In some cases, it could be acceptable to allow the noncustodial parent to be a part of the conversation. However, if a change in residence is not in the child's best interest, a judge is unlikely to approve such a request regardless of how the child and parents feel.

Parents are encouraged to express any concerns or fears that they have about their son or daughter wanting to live elsewhere. This can make it easier to deal with the issue in a calm and rational way. It is generally not a good idea to avoid talking about it or acting as if the child's opinion on the subject doesn't matter.

Millennials' shifting views on marriage and divorce

Millennials in Ohio and across the country have grown up in a different reality than their parents and grandparents. Both men and women have the opportunity to attain financial independence, and this has influenced the way that millennials view marriage, divorce and prenuptial agreements.

The antiquated, stereotypical ideal of a man wanting a prenup to protect his financial assets from his wife is no longer a reality. Women in the workplace are also interested in signing prenuptial agreements. A survey of attorneys showed that women are now more responsible for paying out money after divorce than in years past. This may help explain the increase in interest in prenups by millennial women. With the equalization of the workforce, both spouses are becoming professionals who have their own assets and financial leverage.

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