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Columbus Family Law Blog

Creative Solutions for complicated child visitation situations

Divorce can be hard. It is often hardest on children, and Ohio parents know that they may have to seek creative solutions to solve custody or visitation issues. Parenting after a divorce can be complicated because all parties have been emotionally and mentally impacted by the process. This complication can be compounded when one parent moves or remarries, or if a child has specific or special needs.

Fortunately, parents have somewhere to turn when their needs dictate a unique parenting plan. Our clients have benefitted from our years of experience in navigating complex divorces. When a custody dispute requires a creative solution, our years of experience help us work with families to draft an agreement that is suitable to all parties.

Keep the details of your divorce off of Facebook

As more and more Ohio residents make use of social media, outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, these tools play a larger role within our lives. Even individuals who do not make regular use of social media can be heavily affected by the sites, in ways that can bring embarrassment and a marked lack of privacy. Nowhere is this more true than in regard to the aftermath of a divorce.

When the end of a marriage is filled with bitterness, anger and strife, many former spouses turn to Facebook to vent their frustrations. These actions can include writing lengthy rants about the perceived flaws on a former husband or wife. It is also not uncommon for an ex to post photos that paint him or her in an unflattering light.

When can an Ohio child support order be changed?

A child support order may be modified when the circumstances of the parties have changed significantly. In Ohio, either parent or guardian can request a modification of an existing order. The order may also be reviewed every 36 months by the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) in your county. The rules and regulations governing the review and adjustment of a support order are found within the state statutes.

A request filed by a paying parent should be based on a significant change of circumstances, such as becoming disabled, unemployed or sustaining a substantial reduction of income. If you have become unemployed, this must last for at least 30 consecutive days before you file for a review and adjustment. With a decrease in income, this must be at least a 30 percent decrease in gross income for at least six months because of "circumstances beyond your control."

How does debt come into play within property division?

One lesser-known aspect of an Ohio divorce involves the division of marital debt. Just as assets are divided during divorce, so are the debts accumulated during the course of the marriage. Spouses should be prepared to negotiate the terms of this form of property division. Even more importantly, those who are wise will take steps to avoid debt problems that commonly arise once the divorce process begins.

In many cases, a spouse who is angry or bitter about the end of the marriage will act in ways that are spiteful. One example is running up debt on shared accounts before the divorce is finalized. This can cause serious financial troubles for both parties, and can leave a spouse who is concerned about preserving a solid credit rating with little option other than to repay those obligations, even if he or she did not make the purchases that led to the debt.

Insurance needs following an Ohio divorce

The process of ending a marriage entails the completion of a seemingly endless number of to-do lists. Gathering documents, listing assets, considering which party will retain which possessions within the family home: all of these considerations requires one’s time and attention. Many Ohio spouses look forward to the day that the process is made final, simply to move beyond the “homework” aspects of their divorce. Unfortunately, the focus of this article is on a side of divorce that many overlook until the process has ended.

Newly divorced spouses must take time to review their insurance coverage to see what changes are needed. Virtually everyone will have altered insurance requirements after a divorce, and leaving these needs unattended to can lead to serious negative consequences. The first step in this process is to gather policy information for each form of insurance that is currently held.

How Ohio families can determine child support eligibility

When parents in Ohio choose not to raise their child together, it could be due to divorce or other reasons. Whatever the explanation, one parent might need financial assistance from the other in order to adequately care for the child. Some parents may not know how to figure out whether they qualify to receive child support payments. There are a few factors that can determine their eligibility.

In most cases, a parent will receive child support from the other parent if he or she has primary custody of the child. He or she is often referred to as the “custodial parent,” which means that the child lives in that parent’s home and receives everyday care from that parent for a majority of the time. Sometimes, there is an official court decision concerning which parent will become the custodial parent and, other times, it happens because one parent does not desire to have custody of the child. Even so, a court can decide that the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support to the custodial parent.

Being honest when talking to kids about divorce

Many Ohio parents are unsure how to approach having “the talk” with their kids. It is not the talk about the birds and the bees that parents fear the most, but the one in which mom and dad say that they are no longer going to be living together as a family. Divorce is a difficult topic for families to discuss, and often parents simply don’t know where to begin. Honesty is an important component of a successful divorce “talk,” and plays a role in how both parents and children will process the changes ahead.

When discussing the issue with children, parents must take an honest approach, but one that is sensitive to the maturity level of the children involved. It is never appropriate to go into the gory details of why mom and dad have decided to part ways, and doing so only serves to place an undue burden on one’s children. Parents should not, however, shy away from expressing their sadness about the end of their marriage, as long as they take care not to place the children in the roles of caregivers.

Online tasks for those in Ohio who are planning to divorce

For Ohio spouses who are in the early stages of divorce, there are several important tasks that should be accomplished online, as soon as possible. While the process of divorce will require a great number of tasks and decisions, there are some initial protections that should be set into motion as soon as possible. Addressing these issues at the onset of a divorce can help avoid a number of potential problems in the months ahead.

Spouses should begin by making a list of all online accounts and systematically changing the password for each. Restricting the access of the other spouse can offset the risk that he or she will use shared passwords as a route to mine information to be used within the divorce. Once the marriage is on a path toward dissolution, there is no reason to continue using shared online accounts, email or social media. Be sure to change any security questions associated with online accounts, as well, since a spouse will often know the answers to the more standard questions.

How estate planning factors into an Ohio divorce

For those in Ohio who are preparing to end their marriage, the issue of estate planning is often not a primary concern. However, divorce is one of life’s major events, and marks a shift in the structure of a family. Failing to address this shift within one’s existing estate plan is a mistake, one that can have serious negative ramifications.

No one likes to consider the details of his or her own demise, even during times of contentment and marital harmony. When the stress of divorce is in play, many spouses are even more reluctant to address the matter. However, the only thing less pleasant than thinking about estate planning is thinking about one’s soon-to-be-ex inheriting all of one’s assets.

Understanding the emotional reaction to one's divorce

When discussing divorce, the focus is often on the ins and outs of the process; the best way to approach the division of assets, the best way to support one’s child during the process, the best way to interview divorce attorneys. These bits of advice are certainly helpful to Ohio spouses who are entering the divorce process, but they often fail to give spouses insight on the topic they are most wary of. Rare is the husband or wife who doesn’t fear how he or she will react to the end of a marriage, and even rarer are those who have prepared for the likely reactions to come.

No matter how sincerely a spouse wishes to end their marriage, there are many emotional responses that accompany this significant life event. Many people experience feelings of sadness and regret as they prepare to part ways. Some exhibit an uncharacteristic level of anger when faced with the reality of a dissolving marriage. Still others are surprised at the fears that come with not being present in the daily lives of their children.

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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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