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Dayton Divorce Law Blog

Determining spousal support in Ohio

Current estimates suggest that nearly half of all marriages in the United States are likely to end in divorce. In Ohio and elsewhere, it is not uncommon, during marriage, for one spouse to depend on the other spouse's income for his or her temporal provisions of food, clothing and shelter. Especially with regard to divorces that occur after long-term marriages, the court sometimes determines that spousal support is appropriate toward the future care and well-being of one of the former spouses.

In Ohio, judges use family law statutes as a guide for determining whether an individual situation warrants spousal support and, if so, in what amount it should be paid. Several factors are carefully considered when the court is making such decisions. Among those are the length of a marriage, the acceptable standard of living by which the spouses lived while married and the age, level of education and physical/mental health of each spouse.

Financially passive spouse must step up during and after divorce

When a divorce occurs, studies indicate that women nationwide, including in Ohio, are less confident to assume full control of their financial affairs. That is because the male is the person who is in contact with the couple's financial adviser in the majority of cases and is in charge of overseeing the couple's affairs. However, in some divorce situations, the shoe may be on the other foot. Whether it is the husband or the wife that wears the financial aprons in the family, here are some general guidelines for managing one's affairs in the wake of a life-changing divorce.

According to one financial planner who specializes in divorce situations, the first thing to do is to take account of one's liabilities and expenses. Finding out what is owed is an essential aspect of being in control of one's finances. It is necessary to make sure that the accounts are separated and that one is not paying for the debts of the other. There may be some installment payments in both names that really belong to only one of the spouses. They should be identified and separated.

Detained children "reunified" with father who gets child custody

A child custody story that garnered widespread attention, including in Ohio, has ended, at least for now, with a final custody order placing three children in the sole custody of their father. That is surprising because the child custody case gained notoriety a few months back due to the fact that the kids were refusing to visit with their father despite a court order. The judge had them incarcerated in a juvenile facility but amended the order to place them in a summer camp after receiving intensive criticism.

Clearly, the court adopted the father's assertions that the mother had brainwashed the children and that they were afflicted with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). That means that one parent has used manipulation to convince the children that they have to fear or hate the other parent. The theory, however, has its own drawback, which is that it can be manipulated by an accused parent to cover up actual abuse.

Parental love can overcome the emotional tragedy of divorce.

Studies pertinent to Ohio and nationwide show that divorce is a necessary evil in many cases, but the emotional roller coaster some people suffer is a formidable obstacle to overcome. Fortunately, some experts predict that the divorce of the future will be more peaceful and cordial for all concerned. Of course, no one knows when that point in the future will arrive. Right now, many people still struggle mightily to stay composed and focused in the face of intense emotional turmoil. However, there are some couples who are initiating movement toward that imagined new paradigm of peacefulness, including some prominent Hollywood celebrities.

Thus, instead of the stinging denials and counter charges that fill the gossip columns and publications, today there are also announcements of divorces where celebrity couples will continue to relate together for the sake of their children. One case in point is the divorce of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, in which the parents have publicly committed to retaining in their schedules various family activities that the children became accustomed to during the marriage. Paltrow frankly admits that this is not easy to do and that they have both struggled to find the peace of mind to make it work.

Divorce experience can be tempered by laughter and humor

Medical studies have proved that laughter and humor are a good thing for the mind and the body. It is difficult, however, to get to a point of having a humorous and laughter-filled day when one is laboring through an excruciating divorce experience. According to one author and divorce adviser, there are some ways to begin looking at the situation more lightly. For those in Ohio who are in divorce or contemplating one, here are some nourishing tidbits to help ease the emotional pain of the situation.

Most Americans need to lose weight. Obesity is a national medical problem. Divorce is a magical pill that guarantees weight loss. Just start the proceedings and see how natural it is to lose the appetite for food.

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.