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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Co-parents need to cooperate to deal with children's sleep issues

When parents separate or divorce and children split their time between two homes, it's common for them to experience sleep issues. Some of these issues may be the result of anxiety and sadness about the changes in their life and their family. However, differences in bedtime routines and schedules between the two homes can also cause or at least worsen sleep issues.

Kids may experience insomnia or (at the other end of the spectrum) they may not want to get out of bed. Young children may regress to behaviors they'd outgrown -- like bedwetting, thumb-sucking or not wanting to sleep alone.

What penalties may you face if you stop paying child support?

Most every parent wants to provide the best for their children, however, sometimes people fall on hard times. You shouldn't keep quiet about your inability to pay the child support that you owe. You should let your Ohio attorney or case manager know right away if you're struggling to pay what is due each month. You may face some very harsh consequences if you simply stop paying without letting the court know the reason why.

A person who fails to pay child support may have their driver's license suspended for an indefinite period (until they pay). Since child support agencies are in constant communication with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, financial transparency on your part is essential.

Divorce can get complicated for business owners

Divorce comes in many forms, some more complicated than others. For couples without children and with few assets or liabilities to divide, the process is often straightforward and simple. However, when one spouse owns a business, a divorce becomes more complex. If you own a business and suspect that divorce is in your future, now is the time to take steps to protect the business and build your divorce strategy.

Approaching divorce with a clear understanding of your priorities helps relieve a great deal of confusion and anxiety. Once you choose your priorities, a strong strategy helps protect your personal rights, allowing you to focus on the future during this difficult season.

Why a life insurance policy may be needed in a divorce

When an Ohio couple goes through the divorce process, they may also need to think about life insurance. While this can seem like just one more piece of paperwork, it can be important to securing alimony and child support in case of the payer's death.

Younger people may assume this is not a concern, but tragedy can strike at any age. The life insurance policy should be calculated so that it covers the full amount the ex-spouse would receive in child and spousal support. Parents may also want to think about the cost of the child's college education and how much each would contribute. They should remember that these costs will be more than just tuition, room and board. Instead, they will be in addition to the child's regular expenses.

Children shouldn't be away from a parent for too long

Parents may believe that having custody of their children for an entire week at a time is an ideal way to allocate parenting time. However, kids in Ohio and elsewhere may not benefit from this arrangement. Instead, it may be better for one parent to have custody for two days before allowing the other parent to have custody for two days. Alternatively, one parent could have custody on weekdays while the other has custody on weekends.

While parents may want to split custody 50/50, this isn't always practical. The goal is to create a plan that allows a child to have a relationship with each parent regardless of how much time the parent and child spend together. In addition, parents want to be sure that any plan that they come up with is logistically feasible. For instance, parents who work early in the morning shouldn't be tasked with dropping a child off at school on a regular basis.

The process of appealing a custody ruling

State law in Ohio and throughout the nation seeks to protect the best interests of a child above the interests of a parent. However, it is possible for a parent to appeal a child custody ruling if there is reason to believe that it was flawed in some way. Generally speaking, only final and complete orders are subject to appeal. This means that there has been a hearing on the matter and that all pending issues have been resolved.

It is important to note that an appellate court is held to the same standard as the court that issued the original ruling. This means that it must find that overturning the lower court's ruling would somehow be in the best interests of the child. During an appeal, a parent is not allowed to offer new evidence or ask that witnesses testify on his or her behalf. The appellate court only reviews a transcript from the original hearing as well as a brief submitted by the parent or the parent's attorney.

Property division in a high-asset divorce

When couples are going through a divorce, one thing that they usually have to confront is the division of their marital property. If they are unable to reach an agreement on their own, a judge will make the decision. In an equitable distribution state like Ohio, the court will issue an order based upon what it believes to be fair, and that doesn't necessarily mean equal.

There is a case taking place in New York, which is also an equitable distribution state, featuring an estranged couple who are both collectors of fine art that is reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The divorce filing was made in 2018, and the parties have been battling it out in court ever since. In addition to the artwork, other assets at stake include real estate in New York City and on Long Island. The couple has two children and the wife is seeking physical custody of them, but the father has stated that he will not discuss that issue until they have reached an accord on the division of all of their marital property.

A child-centered custody option

As you and your spouse get divorced, there is one thing that both of you agree on: You want to focus on the children. You want to put them first. You want to make child-centered decisions and give them the best possible life.

This is a terrific outlook, and there are multiple tactics you can use to make it possible. Today, let's take a look at a very child-focused custody option that is known as "nesting."

Abusers are often favored in child custody cases

Most mothers in Ohio who are going through a divorce assume that if their children are being abused by their husbands, they will be given custody. However, new research has shown that it is not always, or even often, the case. A new study that examined more than 2000 child custody cases showed that fathers are given equal or greater parenting time, even when abuse is alleged or proven.

These decisions are often the result of long-held but unproven beliefs that parental alienation is pervasive. The parental alienation theory, a belief that one parent has turned a child against the other parent, was put forth in the 1980s by psychiatrist Richard Gardner. Though his work was never recognized by the American Medical Association or the Psychiatric Association, it has become commonly accepted by judges, lawyers, and psychologists. Unfortunately, acceptance of this theory has led to an estimated 58,000 children per year being placed with or allowed unsupervised visitation with an abusive parent.

Want to raise happier kids? Work together after divorce

Like most parents, Ohio parents who split up want to still raise emotionally healthy, stable, happy kids. Working together in all aspects of the children's lives and respecting, encouraging and supporting the relationship each child has with their other parent is the road to success in this journey.

Even after parents separate, children need to feel secure that they are still a family. This means that there are some activities that are still best done together. Events such as birthdays, for example, can become tense and create anxiety in the kids if they feel that they have to participate in two events in one day, without fully enjoying either. Birthdays are best celebrated jointly. Holidays, such as Christmas might also be easier on the kids if parents can establish a schedule of where the child will spend the entire day, without the pressure of having to hurry from one event to the next. Another way to maintain stability is by having the same rules at both houses, so that children can have the necessary structure in their lives.

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