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Westerville, Family Law Blog

Ohio's divorce process can be easy with the right help

Compared to an engagement or expecting a child, divorce has a looser timeline. Some divorces are emotionally unpleasant to the people going through it. Fortunately, the Ohio court system makes the divorce process today much easier than it was in the past.

The Buckeye State's revised legal code requires people to live in Ohio for at least six months before they can apply for a divorce there. In addition, many counties require residents to have established homes for three months before they can file the paperwork at the proper county's courthouse.

What's considered an unfit parent?

Children don't come with manuals to help their moms or dads raise them leaving many of them to learn on the fly. While many adults are hard-wired to care for and nurture their own children and some grow their parenting skills the more hands-on experience that they get, others never really get the hang of parenting. There are also some parents that initially dote on their kids -- but become unfit to care for their children over time due to any number of reasons (especially alcohol and drug addiction). Some of those last two groups of parents will eventually be declared "unfit" parents and lose custody of their children.

If you're looking for a succinct definition as to what makes a parent unfit parent, however, that's hard to come by.

There are many factors to consider during a gray divorce

While recent studies have shown that divorce rates among millennials are decreasing, the number of Americans 50 or older seeking dissolutions of their marriages has doubled in recent years. Many senior couples who are seeking divorces in Westerville have been married as long as 20 years.

The reasons why the divorce rates among this population have increased over the past few years are multifold.

What constitutes custody interference in Ohio?

If your ex takes proactive measures to disrupt your right to custody or otherwise fails to adhere to the established visitation schedule, then they may be deemed to have engaged in custodial interference. Any parent who tries to undermine a court order may put their right to visitation in jeopardy. They could be held criminally liable for their actions as well.

Parents may take a number of actions that can be considered custodial interference. These include failing to return or releasing their child as outlined in a visitation schedule.

Don't let a hidden asset problem take you down in divorce

If you have friends or family members who have navigated the civil justice system in order to settle a divorce, you've likely heard more than a few stories about how stressful and contentious such proceedings can get, especially if one of the spouses involved refuses to follow the rules or to be fair. One of the most common types of proceeding problems often arises when it's time for the court to divide marital property.

Ohio is an equitable division state, which means you may not walk away from divorce with an exact 50/50 split of your assets, but you can be confident that the judge overseeing your case will determine a fair division. That can be a tremendous challenge, however, if your spouse is acting behind the scenes to try to hide assets so that you don't get all that you are entitled to at settlement.

The risk of losing your pets when you divorce is high

A New York Times report from 2016 showed that millennial couples are having fewer children and are taking up the responsibility of caring for more pets. Their reporters found that 51 percent of those in their thirties had cats and 75 percent had dogs. Since an overwhelming number of Westerville couples have them, it may leave you wondering what happens with the pets when they divorce.

Up until the past few years, family court judges treated family pets as nothing more than property when couples would get divorced. During the many decades this was the case, the judge would tend to award the "companion animal" to whichever spouse contributed the largest amount of money to caring for the family pet.

More Ohio divorced parents are requesting 50-50 custody

Most family law judges in Westerville and throughout other parts of Ohio try to get couples who come in front of them to work out a parenting-time agreement that works for them. When they're unable to do so, the judge will often default to a standard plan that either Franklin or Delaware counties have adopted.

Researchers with the National Parents Organization (NPO) recently published a study in which they noted that 60 of the 88 Ohio counties' standard plans are outdated. They note that they give preference to the primary custodial parent, often leaving the nonresidential one with 20 percent parenting time.

Your divorce isn't possible by year's end: What now?

Many American households use at least one-half of their income to cover their bills. When couples divorce, it puts a significant strain on a family's finances as that same income must cover two households' bills. Once the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, though, those families that have traditionally been supported by a single breadwinner may find that even more demands are being placed on their finances.

As things currently stand, any couple that divorces prior to Dec. 31, 2018, will be subject to old Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax laws.

Should you talk to your child's teacher about your custody plan?

You and your spouse split up, and you create a child custody plan that works around your schedules. While you understand the importance of working this out, it's not the type of thing you discuss with anyone other than family members and close friends. It's personal.

However, you need to break out of your comfort zone a bit for the good of your child. This may include telling your child's teacher.

Gear up for a low-stress, post-divorce holiday season

It's no secret that divorce usually means that there were unresolved differences of some type between spouses. Your situation is unique to your own set of circumstances. It's also no secret that some divorce situations are highly contentious while others are more amicable. You may even find that cross through both categories at some point as you move forward in life.

If this is going to be your first holiday season since you settled your divorce, you may be a bit worried about your children and how everyone will get along or whether some legal issue might impede your holiday joy. You can take several actions ahead of time to make your post-divorce holiday time as non-stressful as possible.

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Brian S. Piper Co., LPA

Brian S. Piper Co., LPA
555 West Schrock Road Suite E
Westerville, OH 43081

Phone: 614-426-8704
Fax: 614-895-5650
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