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Dayton Divorce Law Blog

In high asset divorce, the fight may be over the prenuptial

In family court, all things are relative. If the couple has limited assets, the property division is likely to be rather straightforward and easy to ascertain. There may be a family home, a couple of cars, a bank account or two and if they are lucky, some retirement plans or a pension.

But if one or both parties to the marriage had significant income and high net worth, the complexity of the property division may escalate rapidly. If one member of the marriage is a hedge fund manager purported to be worth billions, the difficulty of the property division may be off the charts.

Aircraft turns around--international child custody case averted

Child custody issues between divorced or divorcing parents can escalate quickly and become complex, and few child custody cases can become as complex as those involving jurisdictional change. When a parent moves from the original court's jurisdiction, an extra element is introduced to any question.

If that jurisdiction is a foreign country, the complexity of the child custody issues increase tremendously. A man in Virginia avoided that type of escalation last week when he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and indicated that his former wife had taken their child, and had left on a flight for China. 

Best interest factors in Ohio child custody proceedings (cont.)

The eighth factor looks at the risk to the children based on criminal activity, neglect or abuse by the parents or members of their household. If any of these elements are present, they can severely impact the custody arrangements. The court will expect very detailed explanations of these elements.

The ninth factor examines if a parent has withheld the children for visitation or parenting time of the other parent or otherwise willfully violated the terms of the parenting time order. As with violating other order of the court, these violations, absent a valid showing that the children were in immediate danger, will be viewed negatively by the court.

More on the "best interests" of the child in Ohio

Last week, we were looking at the statutory factors that Ohio courts consider when determine the best interests of a child in a child custody hearing or for purposes of a modification of an existing child custody order.

As we noted, these factors are not all inclusive, and judges can consider other factors. However, in any proceeding, if one of these factors was ignored or not appropriately considered, it could provide a potentially compelling argument to appeal a child custody order.

What do you mean by "best interests" of a child?

In Ohio, as most states, during and after a divorce involving parents, matters of child custody are to be decided in light of the "best interests of the child" standard. Sounds simple enough.

The Ohio statute section dealing with this issue is rather lengthy, and the part that lists the factors that are used to help the court determine the best interests for child custody questions is broken up in to ten subsections. The statute notes that the court should consider all "relevant" factors, and the ten subsections listed are not the only relevant factors.

Goodwill hunting during a divorce: is it personal or enterprise?

One of the more complex elements of a property division during a divorce in Ohio comes when one of the assets is a business owned by one or both of the parties. While ownership of bank accounts or stocks are comparatively easy to value, determinations of value of entities which may not have any publically traded stock, may not be subject to public company reporting requirements and may have a limited market for their stock, is much more difficult.

Nonetheless, it essential to arrive at an accurate valuation, as the business may contain the majority of the marital assets for the couple and appraising the value of the entity is necessary to obtain an equitable property division.

Divorce found high on the list of adverse childhood experiences

Yet another study has connected divorce with poor outcomes for children as they grow and become adults. It tracked "adverse childhood experiences" (ACE), which included everything from poverty and divorce to living with a parent who is a drug addict. It found that these children have more problems in school and are more likely to engage in violent or anti social behavior.

The report examined exposure to eight ACEs, which included "divorce; economic hardship; lived with anyone who was an alcoholic or drug addict; lived with a parent who died; lived with a parent who spent time in jail; lived with anyone who was mentally ill; been the victim of or witness to violence in the neighborhood; or witnessed domestic violence."

Perspective during a divorce

Perspective. An important, but difficult concept during a divorce. When you are involved in the emotional turmoil of a divorce, seeing the world through any other eyes than those of a stressed and emotionally upset individual is difficult. After all, if you were getting along with your spouse, you would not be looking for a divorce.

Divorce will change everything about your life, and it is important during the divorce to attempt to step into the shoes you will be wearing in a year or two, and not those from five years ago. Your property division, child support and spousal support will forever alter your finances, so assumptions that were valid in the past may no longer hold.

Tips for parents when breaking divorce news to children

Whether a marriage ends after years or months of therapy or suddenly after the discovery of a spouse's affair, when a shared child is involved, both spouses must pledge to be mature and put the best interests of a child first and foremost. One of the first necessary, yet painful, steps in this process is breaking news of a divorce to a child.

When discussing plans to divorce with a child, it's best when both parents are present. Being able to sit down together to explain plans and answer questions about anticipated changes helps ensure both parents are on the same page and aware of the challenges that may lay ahead. While conversations can be tailored to a child's age, it's best to provide a simple explanation for the divorce.

Divorce and finances: How debt can cause problems

Couples going through divorce are dealing with a wide array of issues. From child support and custody determinations to dividing property, these issues can seem overwhelming during an already difficult period in your life. However, it is important that those going through this process take a step back from the emotional turmoil and recognize that careful planning is required. A divorce could lead to financial havoc if the right steps are not taken to divide property wisely.

One area that may be overlooked is the role that debts play in the property division determination. In most cases, how debts are split does not matter to creditors since creditors are generally not legally obligated to follow the guidelines set out in divorce paperwork. Essentially, this means that if you and an ex spouse are joint account holders of a credit card or mortgage, the creditor could go after either of you for payment - regardless of what the divorce paperwork says.