Massucci Law Group LLC - Family Law

Columbus Ohio Family Law Blog

Helping children grow up emotionally healthy after divorce

Many Ohio parents who decide to seek a divorce worry about how the divorce will affect their children's emotional health. This is a valid concern as many children of divorce often struggle with issues that first develop when their parents split up. However, parents can work together to help their children lead an emotionally healthy life after divorce.

Because children of divorced parents have to make drastic adjustments in their lives rather quickly, they often have to grow up too fast, all of which can have a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing. One way an expert suggests for preventing this negative impact is to remember and respect the rights of children of divorce. First, children of divorced parents have a right to love both their parents and to continue building healthy relationships with both parents without feeling any guilt. This means that parents should not interfere in this development by speaking negatively about their ex or by blaming their ex for a variety of faults in front of their children. Second, as stepparents are introduced, the children have the right to also build healthy relationships with them.

Getting prepared for divorce in the summer

Couples in Ohio may find that the extra togetherness of the summer season makes existing problems even more apparent. This is one reason that divorces tend to go up during the summer months. Extra family time due to vacations and children being home from school may make it obvious that a marriage is not working out. Even more, the transitional period of the summer, while kids are not in school and even a move will not disrupt the educational year, may make a divorce less logistically challenging than at other times of the year.

According to one study, divorces tend to peak every year in August and March, closing the summer and following the holiday season. Other experts said that January, with the turn of the new year, is also a significant month for elevated divorce rates. However, they advise that preparation can be important for people to emerge successfully from the end of a marriage. Divorce is about ending a legal and financial relationship as well as a personal and emotional one. Therefore, it can be particularly important for both spouses to understand the couple's full financial situation when considering the impact of ending a marriage.

Dividing student loan debt in a divorce

Student loan debt is a major issue for many people in Ohio. The cost of college attendance has gone up dramatically in recent decades, and many reports have covered young people delaying marriage, children or home-buying due to their large student loan burden. Divorce can be a financial challenge for people in any situation; the long-term effects of divorce can linger for years after the practical and romantic issues have been wrapped up. As a result, many people may be concerned about how student loans will be dealt with when property is divided in a divorce.

In many cases, people came into the marriage with their student loan debt already in place. Generally, these debts will be considered separate property in a divorce, and the person who received the education will remain responsible. The situation can be more complex when people take out their student loans after they are already married. Debt accumulated after marriage is often considered shared by both parties, especially if both also received benefits from the additional education. As Ohio is an equitable distribution state, student loan debts acquired after marriage are not necessarily divided equally between the parties.

Same-sex marriage and divorce: The legal impact

If you are in a relationship with a person of the same sex, there may come a point when you consider marriage. While you may have some concerns about tying the knot, there are a variety of legal benefits associated with doing so.

Here are some of the many things to keep in mind regarding same-sex marriage and divorce:

  • Children: Your status as a couple affects your legal rights in regard to your relationship with your children. For example, if you're married, both individuals have the same rights and responsibilities. And if you divorce, issues regarding custody, visitation and support are handled in the same way as any married couple.
  • Property rights and division: As an unmarried couple, the person who acquires the property is the person who owns it. However, things change when you get married, as joint ownership of property comes into play. Comparing the pros and cons of marriage, as it pertains to property rights and property division, will help you decide what's best for your situation.
  • Impact on estate planning: Estate planning is a big part of marriage, as it allows you to address key issues such as who will receive your property upon your death and what will happen to any minor children should you and your spouse pass on. Estate planning allows you to take legal steps for dealing with any potential issues, such as those concerning parental rights or the distribution of assets.
  • Government benefits: The government provides a variety of benefits to married couples, such as those associated with Social Security. However, if you remain unmarried, these never come to light. It's not the only reason to get married, but it's something to strongly consider.

How divorce can impact a business and its owner

A divorce may have a variety of impacts on a business owner. This is partially because a company may represent an Ohio resident's biggest asset and primary source of income. During divorce settlement talks, how to divide assets and determine how much a person makes are often major points of contention. In some cases, it can be hard to differentiate between personal and corporate assets because of the company's size and ownership structure.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allows a business owner to label some income as a return on investment as opposed to wages. This could make a business more valuable while reducing the amount used to calculate spousal and child support payments. An independent appraiser may be able to determine how much a company is worth as well as create a breakdown of its expenses. However, any documents that he or she uses to come to a conclusion should be kept confidential.

Social Security basics after a marriage ends

One of the benefits of marriage in Ohio is the ability to collect spousal Social Security benefits. Even when one spouse earns little or no income, they could still potentially collect up to 50% of their significant other's full benefits if they qualify for Social Security. However, benefits aren't necessarily lost just because a marriage ends.

If a marriage lasted a minimum of 10 years, a former spouse may get Social Security benefits on their ex's record, even if they remarry. The former spouse must also be at least 62 years of age and have benefits less than what their ex receives. The benefits could be as much as half of the ex's full retirement amount if collection begins at full retirement age. Benefits could still be collected even if the other spouse has not yet applied for Social Security despite being eligible to do so.

What to do about insurance in divorce

When people in Ohio get divorced, they may need to address issues pertaining to both health insurance and life insurance. In many couples, one person has the family on an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. This means that after a divorce, a person may need to look into coverage from COBRA or another plan.

Life insurance may be particularly important if one person is receiving spousal support. A risk with alimony is that if the payer dies, payments to the spouse also end. Life insurance can cover those payments. Getting life insurance can be made a condition of the divorce settlement, but it is important to put it in place before the divorce is final. If a spouse turns out to be uninsurable, the couple may come to a different arrangement about asset division in order to make up for it.

Factors to keep in mind about child support

When parents in Ohio get a divorce, they may negotiate an agreement for child support. If they are unable to agree, a judge could decide what the amount will be. In general, child support takes income and other factors into account, such as how much each parent contributes to the child's health care. However, there are a few general principles parents should keep in mind when considering child support.

It's important to remember that child support can always be modified. For example, a parent may lose a job, get sick or have another change in circumstances that means child support payments must be changed as well. This generally requires a return to court. Spousal support payments are usually lowered alongside child support payments.

5 reasons to insist on time with your grandkids

Everyone knows that a divorce is hard on the couple and the children, but the grandparents are often overlooked. Few people pay attention to the fact that custody battles can take your grandchildren away from you just as much as they take them away from your son or daughter.

Fortunately, Ohio law supports your desire to spend time with your grandchildren. This is important because you love them deeply and because research has shown that the time you spend with your grandchildren can help them in at least five very important ways.

Changes in joint custody

During the majority of the 20th century, divorced fathers in Ohio who wanted to have shared child custody were likely to be disappointed. The tendency of the family courts to favor the mothers over the fathers regarding child custody was prevalent. However, during the last three decades, there has been a significant shift in how family courts are awarding child custody with the courts now supporting and encouraging mutual agreements for shared parental custody.

One type of child custody is legal custody, which gives parents total control over the decisions regarding the children's education, health care, religion and overall wellbeing. The other type of child custody is residential or physical custody, which is determined by where the children spend the night. According to one associate law professor, even though divorce laws differ in each state, a presumption of joint legal custody is the starting point used by the family courts, which are also promoting shared residential custody arrangements. Because of logistics, it can be challenging to divide residential custody equally, as working parents will find it difficult to transport their children back and forth during the school week. As a result, mothers are still favored in residential custody arrangements.

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