Massucci Law Group LLC - Family Law

Columbus Ohio Family Law Blog

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.

Technology makes it easier for adopted kids to find birth parents

Adoption is a joyous event for parents and their new child. But there is often another side: a biological parent or parents who have lost their parental rights because they are unable to raise their child themselves.

There are many reasons a mother might feel they must give up their child for adoption. Whatever the circumstances, it is never easy. But it usually gives the infant the opportunity to find a loving and nurturing home with a new family.

Assuming a mortgage during divorce

Many Ohio couples going through divorce face complicated questions about how to handle the marital home. This is often one of the largest and most sentimental assets involved in the property division process. In some cases, the spouses decide to sell the home and divide the proceeds as part of the divorce settlement. However, in other cases, they reach an agreement for one spouse to keep the home in exchange for other marital property.

When a mortgage remains on the home, it can be important to sort out this question before finalizing a divorce settlement. Both spouses could maintain the joint mortgage while agreeing that only one is responsible, but it's important to note that this does not bind the lender. If a former spouse fails to keep up with the payments, the other ex-spouse could see serious credit consequences. One of the most common options is to refinance the home in the name of only the spouse who will remain there after the divorce. However, some people may wish to have the remaining spouse assume the current mortgage instead.

Where Ohio ranks as it relates to marriage

In 2017, the divorce rate is Ohio was 2.9 per 1,000 residents, which was the 19th lowest in the nation. In that same year, the marriage rate was 5.8 per 1,000 residents, which was 10th lowest in the United States. Overall, 48.1 percent of the state was married in that year, making it number 33 in the country.

Nationally, there are more than 1 million divorce cases filed annually. However, the divorce rate has fallen from 4 people per 1,000 Americans in 2000 to about 2.9 per 1,000 Americans in 2017. At the same time, the national marriage rate fell to 6.9 people per 1,000 residents from 8.2 per 1,000 in 2000. Across the nation, 48.2 percent of those who are older than 15 are married while 13 percent have gotten divorced and chosen not to get married again.

Same-sex divorce has special complications

Same-sex marriage was made legal in 2015 by the U.S. Supreme Court in an Ohio case. On the heels of that decision came the legality of same-sex divorce – no longer was it legal to discriminate in the courts against citizens because of their sexual preference.

Divorce is no easy thing. In addition to the emotional toll it takes on the couple and other family members, there is child custody, financial support and the distribution of assets to consider.

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Columbus, Ohio 43215

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