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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

What to consider before taking the marital home

After an Ohio marriage comes to an end, an individual may be tempted to keep the family home. There are many questions that a person should ask before deciding to keep it. For instance, it may be worth considering if that individual could pay the mortgage on his or her own.

It is important to note that a divorce decree does not override the terms of an existing home loan. Therefore, even if the other spouse was ordered to pay some or all of the mortgage, there is still a risk that this doesn't happen. In such a scenario, an individual could still experience negative credit consequences. If a person is able to keep up with the mortgage, there are still maintenance costs to consider and other issues that could influence a home's market value.

Handling child support with joint child custody

When parents in Ohio decide to divorce or separate, an increasing number are opting for joint custody arrangements in which the children spend a roughly equal amount of time with each parent. Because neither parent has primary custody, both parents may wonder how joint custody will affect child support obligations. In a joint custody situation, both parents share the everyday financial and practical responsibilities of child-raising. Joint custody situations are handled differently in family court than primary custody family situations.

Joint custody does not necessarily eliminate child support obligations. In some cases, especially if the parents have similar financial situations and incomes, child support may not be ordered if each parent has the child 50 percent of the time. However, other states may assess a child support obligation based on the standard formula against each parent and then divide that number in half. By comparing the two sums, one parent may be directed to provide support to the other, especially in cases where there is an extreme disparity and the child's lifestyle would be drastically different at both parents' homes. In either case, the child support obligation would be far less than if one parent had primary custody.

How a parent should handle concerns about visitation

Some Ohio custodial parents might wonder what they should do if they have concerns about their children's visitation with the other parent. Reasons for concern could be that the children say they do not want to go, that they complain they spend more time with the parent's new partner or that there is a history of substance abuse or domestic violence.

A parent may not be required to send the child to visit the other parent if abuse could be occurring or there is another situation endangering the child. However, if a parent is going to defy a court order, it must be for a good reason that involves the child's safety and not a disagreement about issues such as the child's bedtime. While there are certain parenting practices that may be bad for a child's health, the court would normally not consider them reason enough to cut off visitation.

How to stand the best chance of winning full custody

Many child custody experts argue that shared custody arrangements are the best option in the majority of cases. However, there are situations where one parent should be awarded full custody to give the child in question the safety and stability that they need.

What is best for one family will work differently for another, and this is exactly why child custody courts judge every family's situation on a case-by-case basis.

Pre-marriage cohabitation is no predictor of success

There was a time not so long ago when Ohio couples who lived together without the benefit of wedlock were subject to a certain stigma. Although some hold beliefs to the contrary, a strong majority of adults are now of the opinion that living together before marriage is a good idea, and most indicate they have done so themselves. However, recent studies reveal that individuals who cohabitate before getting married run a greater risk of divorce than those who live apart until after the wedding.

In what has been termed the premarital cohabitation effect, research experts report that couples who do not first live together have a higher incidence of divorce in the first year of marriage, perhaps due to the shock of adjustment. However, after the first year, the divorce rates for couples who previously cohabitated are higher. In fact, for those who first lived together with someone other than their ultimate marriage partners, the divorce rate was even higher.

Financial status and the likelihood of divorce

Ohio couples may be interested to know that based on the results of a survey of more than 2,000 adults, the primary cause of relationship stress is money. Thirty-five percent of the respondents identified finances as the main cause of contention with their significant other.

Couples who have the same ideas about finances have a higher likelihood of a successful relationship. However, relationships that are more than likely to end before the end of the first five years are those in which there is an increasing disparity between the credit scores of the two parties.

Homeownership and overdue child support

A parent in Ohio who has overdue child support obligations may still be able to obtain a mortgage to purchase a home. While delinquent child support is considered a derogatory credit event and lowers one's chances of obtaining a mortgage approval, there are some options.

It's important that a parent who is delinquent in paying child support obtain a copy of their credit report. They need to know exactly what is being reported and whether their FICO score is within the requirements set by the mortgage lender. They should then use a home affordability calculator to determine if they'll be able to afford a monthly mortgage payment in addition to paying overdue child support and any currents debts.

Tips for regaining custody of a minor child

Losing custody of a child is one of the worst feelings a parent in Ohio or anywhere else may experience. However, just because the courts have decided the child is currently better off with the other parent or in foster care does not mean that this will always be the case. Ideally, parents will be honest about why they lost custody and what they have to do to get it back.

If a judge asks a parent to take part in anger management counseling or a drug or alcohol program, he or she should do that. Even if a person does not believe that a problem exists, it is generally better to do what the court says as opposed to arguing about the ruling. Generally speaking, people should be patient and polite throughout the process of attempting to regain custody.

What does your child need most after a divorce?

You and your spouse plan to split up, and you already broke the news to your kids. They took it better than you expected. Yes, they did have a lot of questions, and you spent hours talking together after they found out, but it went well overall.

You're glad because those kids are your main focus. You know that divorce can get tough for the children, and you want to do everything you can to help them through this period in their lives. You want to give them stability, love and excellent parenting, even if you and your spouse won't be together while you do it.

Using prenups or postnups

Couples in Ohio who are planning on getting married may want to strongly consider completing a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. These legal documents can be helpful with communicating about issues, such as finances, that couples may be reluctant to discuss openly and that could sometimes contribute to a divorce.

A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a legal contract that couples can complete before they get married. The contents of a prenup can vary from couple to couple, but it often contains detailed provisions regarding how assets are to be divided and the specifics about spousal support that should be paid after a divorce.

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