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Dayton Divorce Law Blog

Wealthy, divorced women face additional complexity

As divorce become more common among the elderly, more women will have to take control of their finances. When you are on your own, advice from friends and family or financial advisors can be helpful, you need to become comfortable managing your money.

In addition to the higher prevalence of "gray divorce," more women within that cohort will have substantial marital property to divide during a divorce. This is a good thing, and for any woman from a family with significant investments, real estate holdings or business ownership, it is important to be aware of the scope of your net worth.

Do you understand how divorce will change your finances?

A divorce resets your world, in ways both great and small. From removing your wedding ring to how you spend time with your children and what your retirement may look like, a divorce can change a great deal in your world.

Your financial health could be very different after a divorce, and it is important to make certain that you understand the economic ramifications of the financial decisions you make during your property division process.

Alimony in Ohio

One of the reasons why a divorce is difficult and sometimes painful is that there is no template that works for all divorces. Each one is unique and different. Just as the dynamic of each couples' marriage is different, so too is the manner in which they divorce.

Even if you reviewed the final divorce settlements of a dozen other couples, their property division, spousal support, child custody and child support arrangements would probably look very different from what you may consider optimal.

An item like child support can vary tremendously from couple to couple, depending on the number of children, the custody agreement and the income of the parties. Similarly, spousal support is highly variable.

Divorce can improve your future

Divorce may not be an optimal outcome. But it may be much better than your current marriage. While divorce and the language of divorce is often focused on failure, think "failed marriage," if your marriage is not proving to be a positive part of your life, can a divorce really be that much worse?

Certainly, you need to be careful with your financial outcome from a divorce. If your spouse wants to damage your future, they can damage your economic future. However, if they are so minded, there are probably many other areas in your marriage where they may already be causing you harm.

Fairness and child support

Child support obligations are often controversial. No matter where they are set, it often seems as if they are incorrect, unrealistic or punishing. Across the U.S., there are three basic models of child support guidelines used by the states. There are the "income shares," the "percentage of income" and the "Melson Formula."

In Ohio, the child support guidelines are based on the "income shares" model. The model attempts determine the percentage of parental income the child would have received had the parents not divorced. 

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.