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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

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.

Financial issues in a divorce

When Ohio couples get a divorce, they should take a number of financial considerations into account. For example, the couple may have a home they want to sell. However, they may need to decide how they will pay expenses associated with it and how they will split the proceeds when it sells.

If they sell the house at a loss, they may have to work out how they will pay the debt. Regardless of what a divorce agreement says, creditors will consider the person or people who are on the mortgage or any other debt responsible. Another consideration is child and spousal support. This may be negotiated by the couple instead of going to court. People should keep in mind that their expenses may rise after the divorce and account for this in their budgeting.

Child custody may be determined by multiple factors

When parents in Ohio or anywhere else end their marriages, a judge will need to decide who gets custody of the children. As a general rule, a court will make a custody decision based on what is in a child's best interests. However, there are many factors that could be used to determine what that would be in a given case. Typically, the age of the child will influence the terms of a custody ruling.

In many cases, younger children benefit more from a set routine. As a child gets older, it may be possible for a parenting plan to become more flexible to meet everyone's needs. If a parent has been the child's primary caregiver up until a custody hearing, that person is more likely to be granted custody of his or her children. Of course, a judge will still want to look deeper into a parent's mental state as well as the quality of the relationship between the child and a parent before making a ruling.

Uncovering hidden assets during a divorce

When filing for divorce, most Ohio residents want a fair and equitable settlement. This can be hard to do if one spouse is hiding assets. One party's unscrupulous behavior does not have to leave the other person short. Here are some signs that might indicate a spouse is being less than forthcoming.

Setting aside money into a separate account is one way people hide funds. If joint bank accounts have frequent withdrawals and a spouse can't explain where the money is going, he or she may be hiding it. The same could be said if there is a sudden withdrawal from a pension fund, IRA or savings account. The person making suspicious withdrawals may also try to limit their spouse's account access or stop paper statements from coming in the mail.

Emotional coping in a toxic divorce

Going through a divorce can be an extremely difficult journey, even in the best of times. But if you are dealing with a toxic divorce and a partner who is not cooperating with you, it can be much more challenging. Many people who are struggling with the process of a divorce deal with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

If you are struggling to cope with your divorce from an emotional perspective, you should learn more about coping strategies that could help you. By learning to take care of yourself and by managing emotions such as guilt, anger, and shame, you will likely be able to move forward positively.

Additional income to think about when divorcing

When it comes to asset division during a divorce, the type of compensation one receives from a job can make a difference. Ohio residents might like to know about these special salary considerations.

The date on commission payments may matter when determining joint and separate property. If one spouse receives a large commission, the other partner may be entitled to a portion of this amount. As commission is earned when closing a deal, one could argue that it is separate property if a deal finalizes after divorce proceedings begin. However, the other partner may argue that a commission is marital property if a spouse worked on securing the deal during a marriage.

Biological fatherhood and DNA paternity testing

In Ohio and across the United States, some men are surprised upon learning that their former domestic partners or spouses are pregnant. A DNA paternity test is often used by the court to find out whether the man must pay child support. In cases where the parents of a child are unmarried, the supposed father is not necessarily the child's legal father. Instead, the law refers to him as the child's "alleged father" unless a DNA paternity test proves otherwise.

If a man's DNA paternity test results are positive, the judge may instruct him to make child support payments. A judge may also grant the biological father visitation rights. Different states have various ways to establish whether a man is a child's biological father. The most important aspect for establishing paternity involves the type of lab that performs the test.

Child visitation rights and abusive parents

In Ohio and across the United States, divorced parents need to have concerns about what constitutes the best interests of their child. Courts have legal obligations to make sure children are safe. Any divorced parent who thinks their ex-spouse is a threat to their child should petition the court. A judge will typically conduct a thorough investigation when a parent states that the ex-spouse is abusing or threatening the child. If appropriate, the court may decide to remove a parent's visitation rights.

A suspicious parent should never ignore a situation involving their child's safety. Whether the abusive parent has visitation rights or maintains legal custody of the child, the court needs to know if the child is in danger. A parent with legitimate concerns should inform a judge during the divorce proceedings if the child is being threatened. The judge can then study the accusations to ascertain if they are legitimate concerns. A judge may also ask Child Protective Services to conduct an investigation.

Safeguarding business assets with a prenup

A well-drafted prenuptial agreement has the power to do more than protect personal assets for individuals planning to walk down the aisle in Ohio. A prenup can also be used by a business owner wishing to determine how their company's assets will be handled during a marriage. For example, it could be kept as separate property, considered marital property or divided up according to a predetermined asset split plan.

Because any additional value a business gains after marriage may be subject to property division post-marriage, it's often advised that a soon-to-be-spouse have their business' value determined at the time of marriage. A prenuptial agreement can also address appreciation or depreciation of the business that occurs during the marriage. Additional details that can be covered in a prenup include fair compensation for a spouse who will be working in the business or how indirect contributions a non-owner spouse makes to the business will be valued.

How owing back child support can affect a mortgage application

Noncustodial parents who want to apply for a mortgage in Ohio should be aware that child support is considered a type of debt. If there are overdue child support payments, they can be counted as a derogatory credit event and negatively impact the chances of being approved for a mortgage. However, having child support arrearages on one's credit record does not mean that it's impossible to qualify for a mortgage.

Someone who wants to apply for a mortgage has to check their credit report to determine if the line items are accurate and if their FICO score is sufficient enough to meet the requirements set by the lender. The applicant should then use a home affordability calculator to determine if they can handle a mortgage while satisfying their current debts and delinquent child support payments.

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