Hartley Law Office, LLC

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Dayton Family Law Blog

Alternatives to alimony, child support in a high-asset divorce

Alimony and child support have the potential to be among the more contentious matters when a Dayton couple decides to go their separate ways after the end of a marriage. However, particularly in a high-asset divorce, there may be other options on the table that can take the place of alimony and child support - options which one spouse or the other (or perhaps even both) might find more attractive.

For a recent example, we can look at the case of Matt Lauer, the former NBC news anchor who is reportedly waiting to finalize his divorce from Dutch model Annette Roque. The two have been married for approximately 10 years and have two boys and one girl together. Earlier this year, Lauer was fired by NBC in the midst of sexual harassment allegations, with divorce negotiations moving forward following the episode.

Protecting grandparent-grandchild relationships after a divorce

When parents divorce, custody of the children will be among the most important legal issues to settle. However, the professionals at Hartley Law Office, LLC, understand that parents are not the only adults who matter in a child's life. Grandparents can be vital caregivers and role models for their grandchildren, and sometimes, grandparents' rights to be part of their grandchildren's lives need to be asserted through the legal system.

Take a scenario in which grandparents are actively involved in after-school care for their grandchildren a few nights a week, perhaps one or two weekend days or even more during summer vacations. They provide transportation, plan and provide meals and often purchase day-to-day necessities like clothes and school supplies. And, of course, they are present for their grandchildren during these times as friends and people who care about them, whether playing, talking, or working on projects together.

Property division and debt in Ohio family law

After our recent post on this Dayton family law blog concerning the $10 million in debt that Mary J. Blige allegedly incurred during her marriage, some readers may have questions about what happens to debt at the end of a marriage. Just what does our state say about debt and divorce?

Generally, Ohio divorce courts divide assets and liabilities equitably. We discussed previously the principle that assets acquired during the course of a marriage are considered by the court "marital property," i.e., jointly owned -- not the sole property of one spouse. The law is clear on this point, but when it comes to the division of debt, it is not as clear. Judges have considerable leeway in how they handle the division of debt.

Singer Blige took on $10 million in debt before seeking divorce

Dayton residents will likely be familiar with the name, Mary J. Blige, the Grammy-winning singer. What they may not know is that for years, Blige claims, she and her husband, Kendu Isaacs, struggled through a bitter high-asset divorce.

The couple has been together since 2003, and while they have no children together, Isaacs has three children from a prior marriage to whom Blige became a stepmother. The singer claimed that she took on more than $10 million in debt as the lone financial provider in the marriage. She also noted in her divorce filing that her husband spent over $400,000 of their money on an affair with another woman. While the terms of their recently-finalized contentious divorce are confidential, upon Blige's filing for divorce in 2016, the court awarded Isaacs temporary spousal support of $30,000 a month.

How parental alienation negatively affects children

If you are currently navigating your way through a divorce, you may be working through custody matters and adjusting to spending some time without your child. Learning to live without your son or daughter at least part of the time can prove difficult, but it can be even more troublesome if the relationship between you and your former partner has become especially bitter.

Regrettably, sometimes, when couples divorce, one parent begins to make efforts to turn the child against the other parent. This happens frequently enough that there is a term for this type of behavior: parental alienation. While your former partner may behave in this manner in an attempt to turn your child against you and hurt you, often, it is the children involved who suffer the most.

What is a distributive award of marital property?

When an Ohio couple decides to divorce, one of the issues that is often up for dispute is the marital property and which party will receive what. There are certain aspects of the case to remember based on the law. One is how a distributive award works. A distributive award is any payment that is made whether it is real or personal property, is paid over time or in a lump sum, is in a fixed amount, is made via income or separate property, has not be made via marital property, and is not considered child support.

With distributive property, the court can use it as a supplement, to effectuate or facilitate how marital property is divided with the right to have the award secured via lien on the marital property or separate property owned by the paying spouse. Rather than dividing marital property to have equity in the divorce, the court can choose to make a distributive award if it is decided that division of these properties is not practical or poses too much of a burden on the paying spouse.

Child visitation plans for divorced service members

For divorced parents in the Dayton who serve in the military, child custody arrangements can be tricky to navigate. What, for other ex-spouses, may be a straightforward matter of a physical custody and visitation schedule can raise a number of difficult questions for couples in a military divorce. We will take a look at some of those questions this week, with the understanding that the information is intended not as specific legal advice, but also as a general background on military divorce only.

Challenges arise when attempting to implement a military child visitation plan when one parent, for example, is called to serve in a different state. When shorter, weekly visits are not feasible, they may need to be made up with longer, weekend-long visits or extended visits over holidays and summer vacations. Virtual visitation is also an option today, with readily available video chat apps, and can often help avoid disrupting a court-approved visitation schedule when one parent is out of state.

Supporting parents with child custody modification requests

At Hartley Law Office, PLLC, our professionals know that the only thing in life that remains constant is change. Sometimes, it's pervasive changes that lead Dayton couples to end their marriage and get a divorce.

At the moment a court grants a divorce, many arrangements are locked in by the court, including child custody. Perhaps the arrangements are something both partners agree with, or can at least live with. One or both may be unhappy with the child support arrangements, but a court will only modify a child custody arrangement if a parent can present a convincing argument as to why such a modification is in the best interests of the child.

3 divorce myths you should discard

Embarking on a divorce can be a big decision. Before taking the decisive step of seeing an attorney, many people first discuss this issue with their friends and relatives.

While talking it out can give you much-needed emotional support at this stressful time, be wary of any legal-adjacent advice you get. Many people harbor erroneous conceptions about the divorce process, and taking them seriously can harm your case.

Keeping retirement in mind during a gray divorce

When couples in Ohio go through a divorce later in life -- after the age of 50 or so -- the divorce may be less complicated in some ways than it typically would be at an earlier age. The main reason is that a couple's children are likely fully-grown adults, and so there are no issues of child custody or child support to resolve. But a gray divorce is not necessarily without its own challenges.

Perhaps the most significant challenge will be determining how the divorce will affect each partner's retirement. Any funds saved up in retirement accounts, 401(k) accounts, pensions and other sources of retirement income will presumably be divided between the spouses. This means there will be substantially less money than either partner was likely prepared to live off of in retirement. In addition, any transfers not managed properly through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order could incur tax liabilities or early withdrawal penalties.

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