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Dayton Divorce Law Blog

Divorce papers against public official opens the public eye

When elected public officials in Ohio or any other state get divorced, special issues may emerge that are beyond the scope of most divorces. For one thing, the public eye is placed squarely on the couple and their every move will be publicly analyzed during the progression of the divorce. This can be particularly difficult for a couple that has seemingly been happily married for a period of many years. The office holder may become deluged with questions of personal morality that may threaten that individual's career and reputation.

An announcement of the filing of a divorce case in a state southwest of Ohio has captured the public eye. It is remarkable for the fact that the 72-year-old governor of that state has been married to his wife for over 50 years. That tends to stretch the imagination when the divorce papers filed by the wife reveal that she alleges a "complete incompatibility of temperament."

Divorce of narcissist spouse is a difficult but necessary choice

A narcissist is someone who is egocentric to an exceptional degree. It is more than a minor personality quirk: the narcissist cannot make a basic human connection with a spouse or children. There is no empathy with others because he or she cannot get out of a consuming, self-centered mind set. Divorce attorneys in Ohio and elsewhere become accustomed to recognizing the narcissist's obstructionism in a small number of divorce cases.

Statistics establish that about 8 percent of men and about 5 percent of women are narcissists. The individual, being selfish and uncommunicative normally, tends to intensify his or her manipulative personality during the divorce proceedings. One divorce counselor and book author became motivated to write a book about her own past divorce tribulations with her spouse, a confirmed narcissist.

Pet custody battles almost as prevalent as child custody battles

More and more married couples nationwide, including in Ohio, are deciding not to have children for some time -- or not at all. It may be the natural human instinct to want to care for something that encourages couples to adopt pets instead. Family law attorneys and divorce mediators report a significant increase in couples fighting over pet custody as passionately as over child custody.

In a survey carried out by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, it was found that more than a quarter of surveyed attorneys reported noticing an increase in pet custody issues. Further, a significant percentage of those issues became contentious. Some couples spend years in battles over pets, such as one couple who reached an agreement after a long legal battle -- their dog will now spend six months per year with each ex-spouse.

News of a couple's divorce may follow a social media pathway

Sometimes celebrities provide the press with joint announcements of their separation and impending divorce. For readers in Ohio and other parts of the country, the amicable sound of these statements are impressive, even if not always quite accurate or true. For example, the recent social media divorce announcement by Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner seems to reflect an ongoing friendly relationship with a commitment to co-parenting.

Whether there may be elements of rancor and emotional pain behind the public announcement, however, is not made public. The cool façade of a public relations announcement is a masterful way of maintaining a veneer of control for the sake of the stars' fans and followers. Most people who are not celebrities usually keep  divorce and separation details to their families and closest friends. These days, there is some risk of losing focus and revealing emotional problems and other questionable personal matters on Facebook or other social media.

Child custody laws may see more preferences for shared custody

In states throughout the country, including Ohio, a debate is engaging state legislatures regarding what principles should frame the direction of statutory child custody laws. The effort is being pushed by groups that are asking for greater equality in child custody rights between fathers and mothers. In general terms, the movement wants there to be a presumption of joint or shared custody in each case with some discretion to mold that presumption according to necessary circumstances.

Adopting this new child custody paradigm would, to some extent, bridle the discretion of family law judges who have traditionally had wide authority to mold custody orders. That system has predominantly resulted in a typical custody order to the mother as primary custodian with visitation rights to the father. Opponents of the joint custody movement warn that one size doesn't fit all situations and that the discretionary powers of the court should be preserved. That would entail maintaining the current standard of allowing the judge to decide what is in the best interest of the child.

Avoiding common divorce mistakes helps achieve one's goals

There are several common ways that people can mess up their divorce experience with harmful actions or decisions. A recent article was published that contains recitals of some common divorce mistakes remembered by numerous professionals and divorce veterans. It doesn't matter whether one lives in Ohio or elsewhere, these divorce mistakes are universally known and are to be avoided whenever possible.

It's quite common in the heat of things to see someone bad-mouthing the other spouse. This is a handicap based on loss of emotional control. One should work on controlling the temptation whenever it raises its ugly head. With the children present, it will carry lifelong harm for some children and should never be allowed to surface.

Divorce strategy must remain level-headed and focused

This past week a group of hackers claim to have stolen the personal information of some 37 million users of a web site that purports to connect married people for the purpose of having extramarital affairs. It has been reported that 2,500 member records were posted online before the company got a court order having them removed under copyright law. Some observers believe that a mass release of this information could create an influx of divorce filings throughout the nation, including here in Ohio.

One bit of good news was that the hackers don't seem to be upset with the members but rather with the company itself. In any event, some divorce financial planners and family law attorneys analogized the incident to explain some general principles of divorce strategy. In general, when a party lets hurt feelings influence the decisions in a divorce proceeding, this can lead to highly emotional decisions. It can instill an adversarial approach that is ultimately damaging to the individual's future financial well-being.

Sherri Shepherd ordered to pay child support in ongoing fight

In this age of surrogate birthing, many new legal issues are emerging, both in Ohio and nationwide, for determination by the courts with respect to child custody and child support. One well-publicized issue involves a celebrity parent who finds herself embroiled in a child support case that she likely never imagined would occur. The celebrity is Sherri Shepherd, the former co-host of The View, who was in the process of divorcing Lamar Sally when the surrogate they had chosen became pregnant.

Shepherd disavowed an interest in having the baby and in raising it. Sally, however, petitioned the courts and won the right to have the pregnancy completed and to obtain full custody of the son that was born. Sally later asked the court to award child support against Shepherd, which was recently granted.

What are the remedies for unpaid child support?

When an Ohio family court issues a non-custodial parent with a child support order, that parent is legally obligated to comply with it. If he or she fails to pay the court-ordered child support, the custodial parent has recourse for having it enforced. The methods of enforcement are varied, and can even take place if the non-custodial parent moves to another state.

Enforcement action can include garnishing orders on wages, unemployment, or workers' compensation benefits. Also, driving, recreational, professional licenses can be suspended, and liens can be placed on personal property. If payment is withheld for a considerable amount of time, criminal charges may be filed.

Joint custody may be trending as the future paradigm

The debate regarding child custody resolutions rages on, both in Ohio and nationwide. If there may be an emerging trend, it appears that the joint custody model, and/or variations of it, will prevail as the gold standard at some not-too-distant point in the future. That is because the weight of social sciences and psychological studies continue to point to the relative strength of children living in joint custody arrangements. The benefits from both parents seem to engender a healthy mental attitude, as opposed to the emotional weaknesses and poor coping mechanisms shown by one-parent children.

Growing evidence indicates that children in one-parent situations have significantly more problems than those with a healthy two-parent custody arrangement. It is also asserted that children with only one parent actively in the picture have a more difficult struggle to economic and social success. Thus, each parent is a reservoir of a certain amount of social capital, consisting of the many resources and contacts that each provides; but with only one parent's resources, the foundation for future success is weakened.