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Columbus Family Law Blog

Halle Berry asks court for child support change

Plenty of Ohio residents recognize the face and name of Halle Berry. The actress has enjoyed a great deal of career success in movies spanning a wide range of genres. Berry has made recent headlines not for a new artistic endeavors, however, but for a recent court filing. The actress is asking a family court to reduce the monthly child support payments that she is ordered to make to her former boyfriend.

Berry and her ex, a former model, have a six-year-old child together. After a lengthy and contentious child custody battle, the pair settled into a shared custody schedule, allowing both to share parenting time and responsibilities. Berry currently pays the father of her child monthly child support of $16,000, even though the child does not primarily reside with her father.

The importance of planning before and during divorce

When it comes to the end of a marriage, few things are more powerful than careful and comprehensive planning. Spouses in Ohio who anticipate a divorce filing have an inherent advantage over those who do not and are wise to take steps to make the process easier. Through solid planning, individuals can make their divorce faster, easier and far less stressful.

One of the first things that any divorcing spouse should do is to establish a budget for post-divorce living expenses. Financial planning can make it easier to get thorough the initial months following the filing. Additionally, such steps can also provide insight into the best possible property division strategies.   

American Idol winner facing child custody battle

Many Ohio readers are familiar with the career of Fantasia Barrino. The singer first gained acclaim when she won the popular television talent show American Idol. Since then, she has gained a following, culminating in the recent number two debut of her newest album in the Billboard 200. The singer is also currently facing a child custody battle with the father of her 13-year-old daughter.

The man claims that he is far better qualified to act as a parent to the girl, and is asking for full custody. According to those close to the singer, however, the child's father has not played a significant role in her life thus far. Barrino claims that he has never paid any form of child support, and has not been present in the child's life to provide emotional or physical support.   

When to say "no" during an Ohio divorce

Much has been made of taking a collaborative approach to divorce, both within this blog and in the greater media. When Ohio spouses are able to work together to reach solutions to their divorce needs, the result is often beneficial to all involved. It is important to realize, however, that there are certain divorce scenarios in which one spouse has every right to put their foot down and say "no."

An example lies in cases in which an unreasonable child custody demand is made. For example, a spouse who travels extensively for his or her job should not demand joint or shared custody. If that parent is not going to be physically present to care for the children when it his or her "turn" to do so, then a different custody schedule should be negotiated. In many cases, a spouse seeks joint or shared custody for reasons beyond actually sharing parenting responsibility equally. In such cases, a different outcome should be sought.

Can a real estate "divorce specialist" aid in divorce?

When preparing to divorce, many Ohio couples take a team-building approach. They begin by selecting a divorce attorney to handle the legal aspects of the end of the marriage. Some will also choose a financial analyst to provide guidance on the monetary aspects of the process. Still others will make use of a therapist to address emotional concerns. One specialist that could also be of assistance is a real estate divorce specialist.

For couples who own a home, determining how to divide the value of that property is a primary concern during the divorce process. The first step is to get a feel for what the home is worth, which requires using a real estate professional. If the couple should decide to sell the home and divide the proceeds, a real estate agent will be chosen to list and sell the property.

Single parenthood after child custody changes

For many Ohio parents, the shift from a dual parenting structure to one in which they will be responsible for the bulk of daily care is an intimidating prospect. It is perfectly normal to feel as though one is not adequately prepared for the task, and to have doubts about how the kids involved will adjust to the child custody transition. With the right degree of preparation, however, parents can move into this new phase of life smoothly, and can lay the foundation for success.

One way that single parents can make things easier is to seek out support and assistance where needed. Taking on too much responsibility without any help is a recipe for disaster. Parents should be ready and willing to reach out to friends and family for help, and to ask their former spouse to pitch in when needed, as well. Just because a child custody structure has been put into place does not mean that both parents cannot work together to cover gaps in child care, appointments or after-school activities.

Divorce as part of elder care planning

The end of a marriage is always a complicated matter with a range of causes and underpinnings. In some cases, Ohio residents make the decision to divorce not because they have fallen out of love with one another or have encountered marital difficulties, but as part of a wider elder care strategy. These are almost always emotionally difficult decisions to make, but there are certain scenarios in which divorce offers the best possible path forward for a loving couple.

Consider, for example, a situation in which a husband and wife are struggling to cover the costs of the wife's medical care. Should she require long-term care or residential placement, the cost of such treatment could easily and quickly deplete the couple's savings. Many families believe that Medicare will step in to cover the cost of such care, and are surprised to learn that the program only covers the first 100 days of a nursing home stay.

Aspects of equitable distribution within divorce

Couples in Ohio that are preparing to divorce must educate themselves on the manner in which their marital wealth will be divided. This practice is guided by the concept of "equitable distribution," in which a court decides upon a fair distribution of all assets amassed within and prior to the marriage. This is not always a 50/50 split, and it is important to understand how "equitable" will be determined during a divorce.

In order to decide how much of a particular asset should be granted to each spouse, the court considers the active and passive appreciation of property. For example, if a couple owns a business but only one spouse contributes to the growth, development and profitability of that business, he or she would be due a greater share of the asset's wealth. That is because one spouse is primarily responsible for the active appreciation of the business.

Divorce brings changes in other relationships, too

When an Ohio marriage ends, both spouses turn their focus toward rebuilding their lives in the manner of their choosing. Divorce obviously alters the relationship between former partners, but many are unprepared for the changes that occur within their other relationships, as well. In many cases, the end of a marriage alters the connection between the divorced spouse and certain friends and family members. For those who wish to remain connected with these people, it is important to tread carefully.

While divorce has become far more common than in generations past, many people still hold strong beliefs about the sanctity of marriage. When someone they know goes through a divorce, it can be difficult to connect with that person in the same way as before. Often, friends and family members will distance themselves from a newly divorced individual, sometimes without consciously knowing why.

Women must protect themselves during divorce

For many women in Ohio, going through a divorce is a difficult process. Not only do they have to cope with the end of their marriage, but there is also an imbalance of power within their relationship; one that can make it hard to achieve a fair divorce settlement. Women must take steps to protect their interests during a divorce, especially those who have played a minor role in the financial side of their marriage.

When a woman is unsure about the scope of marital wealth, it can be a challenge to negotiate a fair division of assets. Even worse, women who have not been active in creating and implementing the family's budget may not have the skills required to work out their own post-divorce budget. This can lead to financial troubles in the years to come, and is an issue that must be addressed as early as possible during a divorce.

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Paul R. Panico

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Columbus, OH 43221

Phone: 614-429-1945
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