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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Easing the divorce process for children

Many Ohio parents may be concerned about how to best help their children get through their divorce feeling loved and supported. Parental divorce can be challenging for kids, and they may feel uncertain about the future. Even the practical elements, like moving back and forth between their parents' houses, can be demanding for kids. However, by keeping some key guidelines in mind, parents can help to protect their relationship with their children and help them to feel safe and secure despite the difficult times.

In the first place, it is important for children to be insulated from their parents' conflicts in the divorce. This doesn't mean lying to or hiding things from the children; openness can be one of the most important ways of preserving family communication during a divorce. However, it does mean not attempting to get the kids to take one side or the other and not trying to receive reassurance and support from the children. Kids love both of their parents in most cases; they don't need to learn about the adult issues that have brought their parents' romantic relationship to an end. At the same time, the kids should be encouraged to express themselves openly.

Unwed fathers have rights too

Roughly 40% of children in the United States are born out of wedlock. This means that many fathers in Ohio and throughout the country are not married to their son or daughter's mother. However, unwed fathers generally do have rights to their children as long as they are deemed to be fit to have them. To obtain those rights, a man first needs to establish paternity. This can be done by adding his name to the baby's birth certificate with the mother's permission.

It may also be possible to fill out a form at the hospital acknowledging that he is the father. If there is any doubt as to who the father of a baby is, a court may order a paternity test. Once paternity has been established, a father may be granted equal custody rights. This is generally the case if he lives with the child's mother and plans to raise the child with her.

How to protect finances in case of divorce

Millennials are more likely than previous generations to keep their finances separate after they get married, but many experts say this will not necessarily protect them financially in case of a divorce. This is true even though Ohio is not a community property state.

In an equitable distribution state, assets earned by each spouse are generally considered to be the property of that spouse. However, experts warn that couples should not assume that keeping separate accounts will necessarily protect them in case of a divorce. Division in an equitable distribution state is supposed to be fair. This does not mean that it will be equal, but in some cases, a judge might decide that one spouse should pay more to the other.

When does closure come after a divorce?

Many people who decide to file for a divorce do so after months or even years of marriage troubles. After all the heartache and dissatisfaction they have gone through, they often naively believe that the act of filing for divorce will help them to get closure and move on with their lives.

While filing for a divorce can provide a final end to your marriage legally and financially, this does not mean that you will be emotionally ready to move on from the relationship. It's important in this way to remind yourself of the key distinction between the logistical aspects of filing for a divorce and the emotional barriers in place that prevent you from moving on.

Location plays significant role in child support determinations

There are many factors taken into consideration when a divorcing parent in Ohio seeks child support. However, a factor that's not on most people's radar is location. According to a study published by a company that produces a web-based app to help parents with custody agreements, location plays a significant role in child support determination.

Federal guidelines exist for child support determinations. Even so, each state has its own set of rules and calculation methods used to figure out how much a lower-earning spouse with custody should receive. Plus, judges have their own discretion. According to results from the study, payments from one state to another can vary by as much as $700 per month.

Divorce and equitable distribution

Divorcing couples in Ohio should be aware that the majority of states will split marital property based on what is deemed equitable. However, this should not be mistaken for equitable distribution, which takes into account the facts of the case and the needs of both parties in the determination of how the marital assets will be divided.

The marital property in the divorces that occur in community property states are divided as equally as possible. Factors such as which party possesses more separate property, contributed more assets to the marriage or may hold the blame for the end of the marriage are not used to determine the division of the marital assets.

Non-custodial parents provide care of different kinds

When parents in Ohio decide to divorce, they may face difficult decisions about child custody and visitation. Most parents want as much time with their children as possible, but that does not mean that joint physical custody is always the best option. There are a number of reasons why one parent may be the best choice to have primary custody even when both parents enjoy loving, supportive relationships with their children. For example, many people have employment responsibilities, including lengthy shifts, deployments or frequent travel, that prevent them from providing the best physical home for their children.

However, non-custodial parents can also be highly active parents. Absent a situation of neglect or abuse, non-custodial parents can enjoy extensive visitation rights with their children, including frequent overnight visits. In many cases, they may also have joint legal custody of the children even when the other parent has physical custody. This means that the non-custodial parent has an equal voice in major decisions about how the child is raised, including issues like education, healthcare and religion. Of course, non-custodial parents may also pay child support, providing critically important financial resources that help the child to grow and flourish.

Agriculture Department supports child support mandate for SNAP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a guidance to Ohio and the other states across the country urging state directors to implement new child support requirements for recipients of a major food assistance program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, serves around 40 million people across the country. Many SNAP recipients are single-parent families, especially as 37% of children in single-parent households are living in poverty. Now, the USDA is calling on state directors to implement a child support cooperation requirement in order for people to receive SNAP benefits.

Some argue that the reason why so many children in single-parent households live in poverty is because non-custodial parents fail to pay child support. Estimates indicate that there is a $13.5 billion gap between the amount of child support that custodial parents receive and the amount to which they should be entitled. In some cases, non-custodial parents are failing to pay in accordance with an existing child support agreement or order. However, in other cases, no such agreement exists, especially when the parents were never married and never went to family court. Some parents may also not want to disrupt informal support agreements that they have established.

Special challenges for divorced parents of teens

When Ohio parents divorce, there will be many changes to come as they sort out their co-parenting responsibilities and joint plans for the future. Many divorcing spouses want to make the transition for their children as easy as possible, minimizing emotional damage. They may work to develop a child custody or visitation plan that honors the role of both parents in the child's life. However, there are some unique factors that come along with co-parenting teens. While teens are far more independent than younger children, they can be significantly affected by different issues after a parental divorce.

Teens may be less likely to hold out hope that their parents will get back together after divorce. However, because they are more likely to understand the issues between their parents, they may face even greater emotional challenges. In addition, married parents often struggle with parenting teens as young people challenge boundaries, seek independence and work through adolescence and puberty.

How to handle shared legal custody of your kids with your ex

Divorces bring with them a host of complications, and if you have children, even more so. They have a way of making your relationships with the people you care about the most, including your own children, much more difficult. Unless you and your ex manage to divorce relatively amicably, the courts will be the ones who decide how to split custody between the two of you.

It is more common than not for the Ohio courts to decide to share custody between the parents. Parents will likely each have partial responsibility for physical custody, which amounts to your time with the children in your presence, in your home and under your authority.

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