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Columbus Family Law Blog

The role of debt within an Ohio divorce

Spouses who are contemplating filing for divorce are often consumed with worries over the division of marital wealth. Will there be enough left to establish a strong financial foundation for the years ahead? Will it be impossible to reach a fair settlement without incurring high legal costs? These and other property division questions are understandable, but there is a related divorce topic that many fail to give proper consideration.

Just as an Ohio couple's assets will be divided during the course of their divorce, debts will also need to be addressed. The debt accumulated within a marriage is also subject to division, a fact that far too many spouses overlook in the months leading up to a filing. It is important to understand how much debt is held by both partners, even those debts that were incurred for the sole use of one spouse and absent the knowledge or consent of the other.

Visitation during the holidays: tips for parents

As the end of the year approaches, many Ohio parents who have recently divorced or are going through that process dread having to divide time between households during the holidays. The first few years can be difficult, and many families falter as they work to create a holiday visitation schedule that all parties can live with. It is possible, however, to work together with the other parent to make the holidays a special time for everyone, especially shared children.

One of the most important aspects of moving forward is to fully embrace the reality that things will never be the same as they were during the marriage. This applies throughout the year, and is especially true during the holidays. Accepting that holiday celebrations will be different in the years ahead can help both parents to begin to create new traditions that can be shared with their children.

Can religious beliefs impact child custody rights?

One of the most fundamental aspects of the American way of life is the freedom to practice one's chosen religion. It is one of the cornerstones of our creation as a nation, and a right that many hold dear. Even though religious freedom plays a significant role in our culture, there are instances in which religious matters can impact a family's child custody rights in Ohio and elsewhere.

Such is the case for one young family who lost custody of its three children, all of whom are less than a year old. Their struggles began after the couple chose to deliver their second child in an unassisted home birth. Having refused an ultrasound or any form of prenatal care, both parents were surprised to learn during the birth that they were having twins.

Divorce outcome has tax implications

When it comes to divorce proceedings, it is natural for some people to make rash decisions based on emotion. These decisions involve life-changing issues, including child custody and property division. However, when trying to reach a settlement during a divorce proceeding in Ohio, it is essential to remember that each decision may have an impact on income taxes. Specifically, the manner in which one decides to file will also have an impact how much taxes may be owed.

A person's marital status at year's end is what determines his or her filing status for tax purposes. When two people are in the process of getting divorced but have not finalized it yet, they can still take advantage of the specific tax benefits associated with a married couple filing jointly. However, both parties need to agree to do this.

Handling child custody issues during the holidays

The holiday season is intended to be a time of merriment and communion. However, for some people who are facing a divorce and child custody issues, the holidays can seem a bit more stressful. There are a few simple tips that recently divorced Ohio residents can follow in an effort to reduce stress and survive the holidays this year.

While a separating couple sorts out child custody issues, it naturally creates a lot of stress. The added stress of trying to figure out when the children are going to this house or that and for how long can make the holidays seem intimidating.  However, maintaining good communication with the other parent as well as family members and friends may help to smooth out the situation.

Spouse doesn't want to divorce? You still have options

Just like it takes two people to enter into a marriage, it takes two people to break one, right? Not necessarily. While it's understandable that some people in Ohio who are seeking a divorce may want out as quickly as possible, the ordeal can quickly become complicated if his or her spouse refuses to cooperate. Fortunately, it's still far from impossible.

This issue may be further complicated if the couple has any children. One spouse might be under the impression that staying together is always in the best interest of the kids, even if the marital relationship is in turmoil and causing stress on the whole family. However, leading experts assert that children of divorce generally don't experience any kind of long-term distress from a divorce.

Emotions often stand in the way of best interests of the child

Ohio parents who are divorced will likely agree that adjusting to life after divorce brings many challenges. Single parents often find themselves facing financial difficulties, while, in some cases, having to get used to new addresses and new schedules. In many cases, one party may be excluded from friendships the couple shared when they were married, leaving them without support from old friends until new friendships are formed. While all the changes that accompany divorce can be emotionally draining, parents are expected never to lose sight of the best interests of the child.

If your ex-spouse has moved on and formed a new relationship, or married another person, you may feel anxious about how this person will influence the lives of your children. Despite reservations you may have, your former spouse has the right to move on with his or her life. A major part of making life after divorce work is trusting your children's other parent to continue to have your children's best interests in mind.

Is "shared" custody in the best interests of the child?

The history of American child custody has seen a number of changes since the birth of our nation. Early Americans followed the English practice by which the father retained all rights to shared children in the event of a divorce. Later beliefs rested on the assumption that women are naturally more suited to nurture a child, and fathers were relegated to the role of occasional visitor in the lives of their children. The current model follows the belief that both parents should play an equal role in the upbringing of shared children, but this approach may not be in line with the best interests of the child or children involved, in Ohio or elsewhere.

Perhaps the biggest issue with "shared" or "equal" custody is the assumption that parenting is or ever has been a task that can be equally divided. When most marriages are intact, one parent virtually always shoulders a heavier burden when it comes to caring for the children. In fact, couples often discuss and determine how these responsibilities will be divided even before attempting to start a family. Why then should that balance be shifted once a divorce has taken place?

Billion-dollar divorce to go through appeals

Readers in Ohio may have followed the recent divorce case between billionaire oil magnate Harold Hamm and his wife of 26 years, Sue Ann Hamm. The couple have made headlines over the vast fortune to be divided between the spouses, which promised to break records in regard to being one of the largest settlements in history. The divorce was recently decided by a court, and Sue Ann Hamm was awarded a mix of assets and cash vlaued at more than $1 billion. She plans to appeal that decision, however, and argues that the award is not indicative of a fair division of marital wealth.

When reading about this case, many are stunned at the suggestion that a divorce award of more than a billion dollars could be rejected. However, it is important to think about the issue in the proper scale. The former Mrs. Hamm asserts that the division of assets leaves her ex husband with approximately 94 percent of the wealth amassed by his company, Continental Resources.

Divorce in mid-life requires a targeted approach

When Ohio spouses decide to end their marriage as they approach retirement, the details within their divorce settlement are extremely important. After the age of 50, there is simply less time left within the workforce to accommodate serious financial losses. This means that additional emphasis must be placed on creating the most favorable divorce settlement possible.

Spouses must carefully balance the need to obtain a fair division of marital wealth with avoiding undue contention with the other party. It is important to recognize those matters that deserve a higher degree of attention, such as cases in which one spouse suspects that the other may be attempting to hide assets. Another example is when one spouse set aside his or her own career to support that of his or her partner, in which case spousal support may need to play a role in the negotiation process.

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Paul R. Panico

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2929 Kenny Road, Suite 160
Columbus, OH 43221

Phone: 614-429-1945
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