Hartley Law Office, LLC

Dayton, Ohio, Family Law Blog

What is the 20/20/20 military divorce rule?

So, you are a resident of Ohio and married to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, and a divorce is in your near future. Odds are, you have a lot of important decisions to make, from where you will live to what will happen to any children you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse may share. A common question asked by many military spouses heading for divorce is what will happen to military benefits once the divorce is officially final.

Per Military.com, to continue to receive military benefits such as Tricare, and to be able to continue to use military commissaries after your divorce, you must meet certain conditions dictated by what is known as the 20/20/20 rule. Essentially, this rule states that, to continue to receive military benefits post-divorce, your marriage must have lasted at least 20 years, your spouse must have served at least 20 years, and your marriage and the service term must have overlapped by 20 years.

Is joint custody best for children?

Children are often silent victims of divorce. The stress and anxiety of having a family separate and move to different homes can be extremely hard for a child of any age to deal with. Parents often get wrapped up in the legalities of the divorce process, and may overlook the needs of their children. In some cases, parents may become so emotional that they fail to see the damage that they are doing to their children by keeping them away from the either parent. As part of the settlement, the couple or judge presiding over the case must determine whether sole or joint custody is best for the children involved. A study shows, however, that in many cases, joint custody is the most beneficial to children of divorce.

A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology reported that children are often better adjusted when they are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents. When compared to children who lived primarily with one parent, children of joint custody showed less emotional and behavioral problems. In addition, these children had better family relationships, higher self-esteem and did better in school. Although children don’t necessarily need to have joint custody, they do better if they spend large amounts of time with each parent.

How are your assets divided in a divorce?

If you and your spouse are navigating the complicated road of divorce, you are certainly not alone. Each year, a number of Ohio couples rely on divorce as a solution to remedy marital strain. You may have already begun to work through the tricky parts like child custody and alimony, but what about dividing your assets and fairly determining who gets what?

According to the Huffington Post, there are several factors that weigh heavily on the outcome of asset division. Each is considered in regards to your circumstances and those of your spouse. Often, one of the first things a court will take into account is your financial situation. Other factors include the following:

  • Your age and overall health
  • Your earning potential and current income
  • Whether or not you will be the parent with primary custody, and the needs of your children
  • How long you have been married
  • Your standard of living
  • How much property is owned by you and your spouse

Not ready to divorce? Legal separation may be an option

Divorce is a complicated process, and many Ohio couples find themselves hesitant to take this step. If you do not want to continue with your current living arrangement, yet find that divorce is not currently an option for many reasons, you may find that a legal separation agreement is the appropriate choice for you and your spouse. 

There are many reasons why a couple may not be ready to move forward with divorce, but simply living apart is not necessarily the best choice. With a legal separation agreement, you can effectively address issues related to spousal support, child custody and even property division, all while technically keeping the marriage legally intact.

Divorcing couples: Keep in mind these tax considerations

One of the most difficult factors involved in the termination of a marriage is property division. Distributing marital property and assets that have been accumulated throughout years of marriage can often seem overwhelming, as people may develop emotional ties to their things. There are, however, some important factors to keep in mind when determining who gets what in the final divorce settlement. One of these issues involves taxes, and how division of property may affect a person’s taxes. If people do not plan properly, they may be surprised with unexpected tax consequences that could have a major impact on their finances.

Property should be distributed in such a way that minimizes the tax burden on both parties, and avoids gift tax liability or taxable gain. Any property transferred to a former spouse within one year after the marriage has ended will not cause gain or loss to either party.

Establishing a parenting plan

When families separate in an Ohio divorce, children are often left to the mercy of their parents and the court to determine where they should reside. Although emotional and financial support from both parents is ideal, primary custody may be awarded to one parent. This means that the child will legally reside with the custodial parent, but has visitation with the non-custodial parent. In some cases, couples share custody, and the child spends equal amounts of time with both parents. Whatever the case may be, a parenting plan is established distinguishing where the child goes and when. At Hartley Law Office, LLC, we understand that this process can be emotional, but a parenting plan must be created with the child’s best interests in mind.

There are several factors that should be considered when developing a parenting plan. When making these decisions, it is best to think of which parent provides the best situation for the child. For example, which parent has access to the best school or learning opportunity for the child, and which parent resides in the best neighborhood for kids.

How do Ohio courts divide assets?

When your marriage begins to dissolve and divorce is on the horizon, you may begin to wonder how the assets you and your spouse have accumulated throughout the years will be divided. Whether you have been married for one year or 20, things can get complicated when you begin separating property and assigning ownership. In order to prepare for your mediation or court case, it is a good idea to gain a better understanding of how Ohio courts divide assets.


Your spouse's military benefits don't all end with divorce

When you get a call from your commanding officer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, you can't refuse it. Those orders could take you away from your family in the middle of the night, they could send you out of the state and could leave your spouse and children (if any) on their own for days, weeks or months, and sometimes longer. Living under those conditions could cause your marriage to break down.

Married couples often experience conflict and stress in their relationships. That stress often compounds for military service members and their families who make sacrifices that civilians may never understand. However, serving your country also comes with unique benefits that help to make the experience worthwhile. During the marriage, your spouse may take full advantage of those "perks."

What are the legal requirements for paternity?

If you are the father of a child born out of wedlock in Ohio, establishing paternity is the only way to legally define your relationship with your son or daughter and is one of the most important steps for ensuring that you have parenting rights. Acknowledging that you are the child’s father opens the door to pursuing visitation, custody or other rights as a parent.

According to Ohio law, paternity is generally presumed for children born in wedlock or within 300 days of the termination of the marriage. Likewise, if you and the mother attempted to marry lawfully before the child was born, paternity is usually considered clear—even if the marriage is potentially invalid—as long as the child is born during or within 300 days of cohabitation.

What is the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act?

While determining the terms of divorce can be difficult for any family, the unique circumstances that are involved if you are part of a military couple in Ohio can make the situation even more confusing. Short- and long-term deployments, extra duties and other constraints can make it hard for you to create a stable, permanent parenting plan. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that lawmakers have passed the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act in an attempt to relieve some of the stress and pressure placed on a military parent.


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