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Columbus Family Law Blog

How to interview an Ohio divorce attorney

For Ohio spouses who are considering filing for divorce, one of the most important choices that must be made involves selecting the attorney who will process the end of the marriage. It can be intimidating to make such an important choice, especially since most spouses have little to no experience with divorce. Sitting down for an initial interview with several attorneys is the best way to find the right fit, and is a step that should not be delayed.

When meeting with an attorney for the first time, spouses should be prepared to answer a range of questions about their marriage and financial standing. It is also helpful to have an idea of how one would like the divorce to be resolved. This includes not only the breakdown of child custody and asset division, but also the tone that the divorce is likely to take.

Divorce and taxes: Preparation is key

Many Ohio residents have happily moved beyond their tax preparation chores for the year. For those who are preparing to divorce, however, this is an excellent time to begin contemplating how their change in marital status will affect their 2014 tax burden. When spouses are able to understand those changes and plan ahead, they have a far better chance of making the best possible moves to lower their tax obligation. Unfortunately, all too many go through divorce without acknowledging the importance of these matters.

Alimony and child support are one of the areas in which the most significant tax changes take place. In regard to alimony the party who is tasked with making those payments can claim the cost as a tax deduction. The recipient, however, will have to pay taxes on the alimony that he or she receives. Child support is not taxable, but also does not bring a deduction. Therefore, there are benefits to structuring these payments in a manner that can reduce one's overall tax structure.

Paltrow divorce approach not as unusual as it may appear

Many Ohio readers are aware of the recent divorce announcement made by Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The star and her rock-god husband, singer Chris Martin recently released a statement to let the world know that they have chosen to go through a process of "conscious uncoupling." While the media has had a field day making fun of the unusual divorce phrasing, there are actually a number of lessons to be learned from this type of approach to the end of a relationship.

Paltrow did not coin the term "conscious uncoupling," it is a therapeutic approach that was developed by a relationship counselor several years ago. The main focus of this type of approach is for both spouses to focus on their own emotional well-being instead of directing their energy against each other. Once both sides have reached a place in which they are at peace, it is possible to work together to bring the relationship to a close.

Making wise long-term financial decisions during divorce

The end of a marriage can be a difficult time for many in Ohio. There are a great many decisions that must be made in a relatively short period of time, and the ramifications of those decisions will have lasting effects. It is important to make choices that will support one's long-term goals, and not to take a reactive position to the challenges of divorce. The following tips are offered in the hopes of providing a new perspective on the process of moving forward after a divorce.

Perhaps the most dangerous mistake that an individual can make during the course of a divorce is to allow emotions to overpower reason. It is easy to become so focused on retaining an asset that has sentimental value that it is impossible to recognize that doing so makes little financial sense. The most common example lies in fighting over the family home, when reason suggests that selling the property is the best financial move.

How to protect against financial harm during divorce

Once an Ohio spouse has made the decision to end their marriage, one of the most important steps that can be taken involves protecting against financial harm. There are many ways that individuals can sustain financial damage in the timeframe between deciding to divorce and the process becoming final. In that period of time, each spouse must take the proper precautions to protect their financial stability.

One of the first steps involves creating as high a degree of separation as possible between your own finances and those of your spouse. This includes closing joint accounts, and opening your own banking and saving accounts. In addition, this is the time to open a couple of new lines of credit in your own name, in an effort to boost your credit standing for the years to come. Be sure to close any credit cards that have both spouses listed on the account, to protect against becoming indebted for charges made by the other party.

Estate planning needs emerge following a divorce

For many Ohio residents, the weeks and months following the end of a divorce are defined by a sense of extreme relief. The process of negotiating various aspects of the split and examining every detail of your financial standing can be exhausting, and it is normal to feel relieved that this period is over. However, there are important estate planning tasks that must be accomplished after a divorce has been made final, and postponing these chores can be devastating.

For example, consider a woman who went through a serious surgical procedure a few years back. At that time, she drafted a medical power of attorney that gave her then-husband the authority to make medical decisions on her behalf in the event that she was rendered unable to do so. The surgery was a success, and the paperwork was stored away in a file cabinet.

Could a law forbid sex prior to divorce resolution?

For many Ohio residents, the process of ending a marriage is not as straightforward as they may have hoped it would be. Things can drag on for many months longer than either party intended, especially when husband and wife are unable to come to terms on certain matters. During the time between separation and divorce, many spouses move on to form new relationships. However, one state is considering legislation that would prevent a divorcing parent from having a sexual relationship with a new partner within the confines of their own home.

As unbelievable as it may be, there is legislation currently proposed that would limit the ability of a divorcing parent to have sex with a new partner in their own home until the divorce is made final. In addition, the legislation states that a parent cannot conduct a dating relationship within the home until all divorce-related issues are resolved. There is no mention of the fact that a divorce can drag on for a considerable length of time.

Can a Smart Phone guide your Ohio divorce?

Technology advances as a staggeringly rapid rate. Just a few years ago having a cell phone was a luxury, one that only the most tech-savvy among us indulged in. Today, everyone from pre-teens to great-grandparents have Smart Phones in their pocket. In addition, our phones do far more now than ever before, and more closely resemble tiny computers than mere communications devices. The availability of applications is astounding, and Ohio consumers can find many apps that claim to help them through the divorce process.

The wisdom of outsourcing divorce planning to a phone app is questionable, at best. No matter how advanced an application may be, there is simply no substitute for professional and personal guidance through what can be a challenging legal matter. Not only do divorce laws vary from state to state, but each individual divorce is unique to the needs of the spouses involved.

Supreme Court makes important international child custody ruling

Many of those in Ohio who follow international child custody law are saddened by a recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court. The decision may make it more difficult for parents living abroad whose partners flee with their child to seek their immediate return for child custody litigation. The case clarifies the stance of the United States toward the provisions of the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The case focused on a mother and father who were living with their young daughter in Europe. The mother left the family's home with the child, and resided for a period of time in a women's shelter. She eventually relocated to the United States. The father was unable to locate his wife and child until more than a year had passed. When he did find them, he filed a request that they be returned to Europe for a child custody proceeding.

Do visitation rights begin during childbirth?

When parents make the decision to end their relationship, the care and custody of their shared children is often their top concern. In many cases, parents are able to reach a solution between themselves, outside of a court of law. For some, however, reaching an agreement is simply not possible, and a child custody case is brought before a court. In one unusual case, the custody and visitation fight began before the child was even born. Ohio readers may find the outcome of interest, especially in the way that it relates to fathers' rights.

The case centered on a father's wish to be present during the birth of his child. The couple was estranged as the due date grew near, leading the father to ask a court to compel the mother to allow his presence. In ruling, however, the court found that the father's rights were secondary to those of the pregnant woman. While some view the outcome as a loss for father's rights, this interpretation may not be the most valid.

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Paul R. Panico

Attorney at Law
2929 Kenny Road, Suite 160
Columbus, OH 43221

Phone: 614-429-1945
Toll-Free: 866-505-0110
Fax: 614-326-3031

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