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Dayton Divorce Law Blog

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.

Child custody in Ohio is governed by several factors

In Ohio, a number of factors are statutorily required to be considered in the determination of a child custody case. As in other states, there are two broad categories of child custody arrangements. One is sole custody, which gives physical and legal custody to one parent, usually with limited visitation rights to the other. The second category is shared custody, in which the parents share the parental decisions together.

Ohio law provides mandatory guidelines for the determination of custody matters. Some of the factors considered important are the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the children, the quality of communication between parents and the children's history of relating to each parent. Things like the distance between the parents homes may also be significant in determining what is best for the particular situation.

It is best to shut down social media during divorce case

The technological revolution has changed lives in ways that were hardly imaginable just a decade or two ago. Regarding domestic relations and divorce law, attorneys in Ohio and the rest of the country have had their hands full dealing with the social media entries that appear in their clients' Facebook pages and through their mobile phone texts and photos. The interesting thing is that many people seem to lose their inhibitions and throw all caution to the winds when reporting their personal, private lives to the rest of the world.

That has opened the field of divorce, support and custody to a wealth of evidentiary material that may be germane to a particular dispute. Although the concept of no-fault divorce makes people generally think that fault is no longer a factor in a divorce case, the truth is that it still plays a part in custody battles, determination of alimony and also support matters. That fact has not generally stopped some people from announcing personal details of their social life, new dates, boyfriends and a variety of 'slips-of-the-tongue' that ultimately end up being adverse evidence in court.

A business interest can be protected from a future divorce

A business owner who is contemplating marriage may be concerned about the status of the business in the event of a later acrimonious divorce. In Ohio and all other jurisdictions, the best protection for the business in that situation is a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Such agreements can define how the business will be valued and distributed in the event of divorce.

Prenuptial agreements are negotiated and usually signed shortly before the marriage occurs. Depending on the particular circumstances, it may not be possible to obtain the new spouse's consent. If the consent is given and the agreement signed, the document will be treated as an enforceable contract in the future.

Some proven principles will serve well the children of divorce

Parents in Ohio and elsewhere are always concerned about the emotional well-being of their children both during and after their divorce proceeding. There are some tried and true practices to follow in such situations to assure the maximum good health of the children. Following these basic principles of psychology and common sense is an excellent way to assure the stability anid mental health of the children throughout the divorce and thereafter.

First of all, a parent must be honest with the children. Using rose-colored glasses would seem preferable but that is a bad policy for the long-term. Explain honestly the permanency of divorce and the reality that will follow, including sacrifices that may have to be made.

Requesting divorce requires sensitivity, planning and knowledge

In Ohio and elsewhere, it is sometimes necessary for a spouse to approach his or her mate to discuss, for the first time, the topic of a divorce. When the discussion of divorce can be handled in a civil and communicative way, it sometimes can turn out to be a hassle-free process. On the other hand, stimulating a confrontation with a spouse that is put on the defensive may create the foundation for a scorched-earth battle ahead.  

In order to do it effectively, one must spend some time first in analyzing the overall circumstances, along with the frame of mind and concerns of the other mate. Going in half-cocked and saying the things that pulls the trigger of the other spouse will likely cause an unwanted skirmish, if not a major battle. It is recommended that one be cognizant of the perspective of the other party, how prepared he or she is and what the expected reaction may be.

Does making divorce more difficult slow divorce?

Or does it simply prolong the unhappiness and worse? Politicians throughout the nation feel it is there business to prevent divorce. They see divorce as problematic and believe by creating more obstacles to obtaining a divorce, there will be fewer divorces and many problems resulting from them will be prevented.

But is this really true? The underlying assumption seems to be that many people who file for divorce, do it on a whim. The politicians impose waiting periods and requirements that parents attend "parenting education" classes. Could these programs really make people reconsider their need or desire for a divorce? As if property settlements, child support and custody and other issue do not already make it sufficiently painful.