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Lebanon Family Law Blog

How a gray divorce can affect a couple's retirement plan

Ohio residents may be interested to learn that the rate of gray divorce cases, or divorce after 20 or more years of marriage for people 50 and older, has doubled since the 1990s. Although various studies have tried to explain the trend, the reality is that both individuals may be very different people from who they were when they tied the knot.

Most gray divorces share commonalities with divorces among younger people. For example, people may no longer believe that their emotional or physical needs are being met after the kids move out. Both individuals may still have to divide up marital property. The main difference, however, is that couples will also have to divide up retirement accounts, meaning each person may be living on half the income they had previously expected to have.

For higher-earning wives, the complexities of divorce

Ohio couples who are seeking a divorce will often need to negotiate the division of property. This is a delicate matter in all cases, but it can become increasingly complex when it is a high-asset divorce and particularly in cases where the wife earns more than the husband.

Though still a rarity, since generally women still earn only 78 percent of what their husbands make, women are getting closer to financial equality, and in some cases, their net worth and earnings are actually significantly higher than their husbands. Divorce in these cases means that women have certain things they need to consider. First, financial experts recommend that women keep an open and honest communication about finances with their spouses, since doing the opposite can actually lead to resentment and misunderstandings. They should also keep some of their money separate, perhaps in an individual account that the husband has no access to. Additionally, they should keep up their credit rating. One way to do this is by having an individual credit card that is active.

Divorce and a husband's employment

The most significant factor in a divorce for couples in Ohio and the rest of the nation is whether the husband is gainfully employed. This is according to a study conducted by a sociology professor at Harvard University. The professor examined 46 years' worth of data on over 6,300 married couples in the United States. She discovered that there was a rise in the number of divorces in the mid-1970s and determined that housework was not a significant contributing divorce factor after 1975, most likely because a larger number of women were becoming part of the workforce. She also found that a wife's economic independence was not linked to a higher chance of divorce.

While it hardly affected the likelihood of a divorce before, the husband's employment status has begun to matter since 1975. Although women began expecting more from their professions, there was no change in the career expectations for men. In fact, even while women pursued their careers, the role of the family breadwinner still belonged to men.

Protecting children's well-being during divorce

The divorce process is a difficult period for all involved, but especially for children. Ohio parents who are ending their marriage can do certain things to help their children weather it and watch out for their emotional well-being.

The first thing parents can do is be honest with their children about the situation, without going into negative details and keeping in mind their age and maturity. For this, parents should show a united front, assuring their children that no matter what happens, they are still their parents and offering their kids the emotional support they will need to deal with the changes. Parents should encourage their children to speak freely about their feelings. The divorce process is a grieving one for both the adults and their children, and the kids need to be allowed to feel sad about what they are losing.

How to dissolve a marriage in Ohio

If an Ohio couple wishes to end their marriage, each party must sign a dissolution of marriage petition. The petition must have a separation agreement attached to it that has been agreed to by both spouses. A separation agreement should determine how property is to be divided, if there will be spousal support given to either party and how parental rights are divided if a couple has minor children.

This agreement may also allow the court to modify the terms of a spousal support or property division agreement. If authorization is granted to the court to alter a property division arrangement, it will be done with the written or otherwise express consent of both spouses. Either spouse may file an amended agreement at any time prior to a hearing regarding the petition to dissolve the marriage.

Politics trumps love for some couples

Research and opinions from divorce attorneys seem to show that couples in Ohio and elsewhere are ending their relationships because of the election of Donald Trump. According to one divorce attorney, this is partially attributable to narcissism or obsessive compulsive disorder. Essentially, individuals want partners who fully agree with their worldview for a relationship to work out. A study conducted by Wakefield Research found that 22 percent of respondents knew of a marriage or romantic relationship that was in trouble because of Trump's election.

The survey had 1,000 participants and took place between April 12-18. Among its other findings were that 22 percent of millennials ended their relationships because of political disagreements. Among all respondents, 10 percent said that they ended a relationship because of differing political views. Furthermore, 24 percent said that they had argued more than ever about politics since Donald Trump became president.

When children want to live with their noncustodial parent

After a divorce of parents who have young children, there will likely be a parent who the child physically spends the majority of their time with. However, the child may express a desire to live with the noncustodial parent. Depending on the maturity and age of a child, in Ohio, the child's wishes may be taken into account. If there is no legal child custody agreement in place, children may live wherever they like as long as the parents are in agreement.

However, the court makes its decision based on the child's best interests, and it may determine that what is in the best interests of the child may not be the same as what the child wants. Some children may simply want to live with the parent they see as more lenient.

What to do in a child custody hearing

Ohio parents who are involved in a child custody dispute may be tempted to try to convince the court that they are more fit to be the custodial parent. However, this can backfire. If a parent appears to be bitter toward the other parent, the judge may conclude that parent is less fit because of an unwillingness to compromise. The parent should also avoid speaking on behalf of the child because this could also create a negative impression on the judge. Most older children will have the opportunity to state a preference about which parent they would like to live with.

Well-meaning family and friends may push a parent to demand more child support or time with the child. While it can be easy to get swept up in these emotions, parents should not deviate from the strategy they have worked out with their attorney. Furthermore, pressing on some of these issues could turn the divorce more contentious than it needs to be.

Actor Jesse Williamsfiles for divorce

Ohio fans of "Grey's Anatomy" may be interested to learn that Jesse Williams, one of the show's stars, has filed for divorce from his wife. The couple married in 2012 and have two kids.

The actor and his estranged wife reportedly dated for five years before tying the knot in June 2012. Williams said in an interview in 2010 that he met his wife while he was working as a teacher in New York. They relocated to Los Angeles and had their 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. Although they were last photographed together in December 2015, they launched an app called "Ebroji" together in 2016. The app is a platform that allows users to curate GIFs. Neither Williams or his wife have commented on their impending divorce.

5 ways to help kids cope with divorce

Divorce can be difficult for everyone involved. The spouses themselves, of course, will struggle to adapt to single life after their marriage ends, but the transition is often much harder for the children. Knowing that things will be difficult, there are some actions that you can take, as a parent, to help your kids get through your divorce in the healthiest way possible.

1. Don't put the kids in the middle: Your children shouldn't be forced to choose sides, shouldn't be used to ferry messages between you and your spouse, shouldn't be subjected to name-calling or ranting about their other parent, and shouldn't have to listen to intimate details about the proceedings or the circumstances that led to the split. Instead, treat them with respect - and treat their other parent with respect while you are in their presence.

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