Hartley Law Office, LLC

Dayton, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Is co-parenting the right decision for your family?

When it comes to deciding child custody in Ohio, you have many options on how to handle it. Commonly, couples will decide one parent will take the responsibilities of keeping the children the majority of the time with the other parent only getting visitation rights. However, this is not the standard anymore. Courts like to see both parents take an active role in their children's lives, which means co-parenting is becoming more common.

According to Psychology Today, co-parenting is a collective effort to parent children after the end of a marriage. It may be called joint custody or shared parenting by courts, but it all means the same thing. Both parents are actively involved in the child's life. You and your child's other parent must work together to provide for the child. This requires teamwork and open communication. It is not always easy, but it can be really good for the child.

Are dogs considered property in a divorce?

While your dog may be considered a part of the family, when it comes to the law in Ohio, it technical is considered property. However, this does not mean a judge will treat it as such. Courts know dogs are living beings who must be cared for, so they are not as casual when determining ownership as they may be with a car or a piece of art.

According to Mercola, courts understand the emotional connection you have with your family dog and the importance of not treating it like other property in a divorce settlement, which has led to many judges considering dogs as they would a child. They may look at factors, such as who bought the dog, who cares for it the majority of the time and who is in the best place financially to care for it. As with a child, the court may consider the best interest of the animal when deciding on who gets custody.

Retirement pay as a marital asset in military divorce

Marriage with a member of the U.S. Armed Forces is seldom easy. You have likely endured months apart while your spouse deployed, moves to unfamiliar places and silence following especially harrowing assignments. Perhaps your spouse's methods for coping with the stress of his or her military service became a wedge between you, and your marriage is beginning to deteriorate.

Whatever the reasons, if divorce is in your future, you are probably concerned and confused about your rights as a civilian spouse. This may be especially true in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning military retirement and divorce settlements.

Child custody laws in Ohio

When a couple with children separates or divorces, becoming familiar with the details of parental legal rights can be challenging. In Ohio, there are specific guidelines each parent must follow when going through child custody procedures. Various aspects, including court orders, parental responsibilities and visitation time are all part of determining child custody arrangements.

According to the Ohio State Bar Association, the state of Ohio offers two different custodial preparations for those going through a separation with children. A sole custody arrangement allows one parent to make decisions regarding general care of the child, such as medical care, choice of school and obtaining health insurance. Lfestyle choices such as extracurricular activities and religion are also determined by a single parent in a sole custody arrangement. In a shared parenting arrangement, both parents have the same legal right to make life decisions for the children. Other factors are also considered in child custody procedures:

  • "Parenting time," or visitation hours
  • "Best interests of the children"
  • Communication between both parents
  • Mental and physical health of the parents and children   

Why should I consider using a forensic accountant in my divorce?

When you are getting a divorce in Ohio, it is important to have a clear understanding of your financial situation. If you have not been handling the money or if you are not aware of every account you and your spouse have, then you may need some assistance. Financial experts, called forensic accountants, can suss out financial information you may not have been aware of. According to Forbes, the use of forensic accountants is very common in high asset divorce situations.

These accountants are well-versed at finding hidden assets or following trails to see where money is going. In addition, the accountant can help you to determine the value of assets, especially difficult to assess assets, such as retirement accounts and life insurance plans. The accountant also will be able to determine your spouse's income, uncovering anything he or she may be trying to hide or revealing sources you may not have known about.

What is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act?

If you are involved in a military divorce in Ohio, then you should know and understand the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act. The USFSPA, according to Defense Finance and Accounting Services, gives you the right as a spouse of a military personnel the chance to be awarded a portion of your spouse's military retired pay in your divorce settlement.

Do note, though, the court is given the right to do this but not required to do it. A court can refuse to divide the military retired pay as part of your marital property. In addition, a court only has the ability to adhere to the USFSPA if your spouse lives in the state or has given his or her consent. Residency is not achieved due to military stationing, though.

How should long-distance child visitation be handled?

If you have to move out of state and are a non-custodial parent, then you may have concerns about seeing your children. The state of Ohio has no set rules on relocation and visitation because each case is unique and treated that way. The court will generally not get involved unless you and the other parent cannot agree to the move and the terms of visitation, according to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

It is advantageous for you and your family to come to an agreement outside of a courtroom. When developing a plan for parenting time, certain considerations need to be made. Above all, how this move will impact your children must be kept in mind at all times. You must think about how your relationship with your children will be impacted. Also, consider relationships with extended family and half or step siblings that may be moving with you. Think about the distance, too. Usually, the further away you are moving, the more complications it creates to maintaining a solid relationship with your children.

Protect your visitation rights while serving in the military

Much gratitude is owed to those who serve in our nation's military. Truly, these people often make great personal sacrifices to carry out their duties. If you are currently serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, you likely understand that military service members often face everyday family problems, just like everyone else. In fact, many military members in Ohio have faced serious child custody and visitation problems during deployments and/or transfers causing much worry and anxiety on top of their regular (often stressful) military missions.

If you're divorced or are planning to be in the near future and you also happen to be a parent in the military, you may want to do some research regarding parenting plans and visitation ahead of time to avoid negative surprises and know where to turn for help if obstacles arise.

Working through stressful custody issues

As the parent of a child, any number of concerns may arise, from paying or receiving child support to taking your child to school. However, custody can be an incredibly overwhelming issue to work through, especially for parents who already have anxiety due to divorce. Hartley Law Office understands how upsetting these matters can be for parents in Dayton, and in cities across the entire state of Ohio. However, it is essential for you to remain focused.

While working through a custody dispute, you should carefully review any options that can help you increase the chances of a favorable outcome. Also, you should always keep the best interests of your child in mind during these times. After all, their well-being should remain a top priority for you at all times. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be able to discuss these issues with your spouse or former spouse. However, this is not always possible and it is vital to fully devote yourself to working towards an end result that is healthy for your child.

Should I open a separate bank account during a divorce?

Going through a divorce in Ohio is often a financial strain on one or both people involved. Going from one household to two with the same amount of money can lead to issues and disagreements. You may run into a situation where your spouse takes money out of a joint account, leaving you with nothing. Before you get to such a state, you should plan ahead.

If you are the one filing for divorce, it is usually advisable for you to consider opening a bank account of your own before you file, according to Forbes. You may be able to take funds from a joint account and move them to your new account. In general, you will be entitled to half of the funds in a joint account, so you can probably safely take that amount. If you have direct deposit of your pay into the account, you should get that changed to go into your new account, too.

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