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Lebanon Family Law Blog

Post-divorce modifications to your agreement

Child custody and support orders are carefully worked out to meet the best needs of the children. But the court understands that life changes all the time. You may have lost your high-paying job or may be considering a relocation. These are only two common reasons why you may need a modification to your agreement.

If both parties agree to a change in custody arrangements it may be very simple. As far as the courts are concerned, however, the process is the same as the one which brought the original agreement to bear. It is not a process which should be done casually. That is why an experienced family law attorney is vital to making sure that the new agreement works for everyone.

Studies look at common reasons for divorce

There may be a few common reasons that many couples in Ohio get a divorce. For example, financial problems may lead to the end of a marriage. If one person has the burden of supporting the couple for a long period, this could lead to stress and divorce.

Another common reason for divorce is substance abuse. The marriage might end when one person issues an ultimatum about drug or alcohol abuse, and the other person does not follow it. Infidelity may end marriages as well although experts say that in some cases, couples may be closer after an infidelity.

Divorced spouses might get additional retirement benefits

Leaving a marriage often means making financial sacrifices, especially for spouses who didn't earn a lot of money prior to their divorce. The social security system has a safeguard in place to help divorced retirees avoid poverty. Ohio divorcees who meet the criteria may be able to increase the amount of their monthly social security entitlement when they retire.

In order to qualify, retirees must meet certain qualifications. First, they must have been married at least 10 years and not married at the time that they apply for benefits. It may be possible to receive these benefits even if the divorced spouse remarried as long as the latter marriage ended in divorce, annulment or death of the spouse prior to retirement. Before getting divorced, older people should contact the Social Security Administration to learn how much they might receive when they are ready to collect benefits.

Identifying the signs of parental alienation

Ohio residents who are contemplating divorce or going through the process of divorce may be interested in learning about the signs of parental alienation. Parental alienation is a term used to describe parents who try to turn their child against their ex-spouse. Contrary to what some may believe, a parent does not need to be the primary caregiver to be involved in parental alienation. Their pathological personality might stonewall their ex-spouse, thereby limiting the amount of time their children get to spend with them.

Divorced parents should be on the lookout for some of the signs that their ex-spouse is trying to alienate their child from them. Many of these signs include changes in the way their child interacts with them. For example, the child may start to request that one parent no longer comes to their sports or music activities. Alternatively, the child may start to have a disobedient and defiant attitude toward one parent that they did not have before. The child could go as far as becoming argumentative or combative to the point of reacting with explosive rage toward the parent.

Retirement accounts and divorce

Some Ohio couples that get a divorce might need to divide a retirement account. There are regulations that govern how these accounts are taxed and penalized during withdrawal that must be observed.

Retirement accounts that are known as "qualified plans," including 401(k)s, will incur a tax and a penalty if a person takes a portion out of the retirement account to give to a spouse as part of a divorce settlement. The tax and penalty can add up to a significant part of the withdrawal. This can be prevented if the couple gets a document known as a qualified domestic relations order.

Divorce after retirement carries unique challenges

As people in Ohio and across the United States lead longer, healthier lives for years past retirement age, the divorce rate for older couples has grown dramatically. While the divorce rate for American couples has actually declined overall, the rate of divorce for couples over the age of 50 has escalated continually since 1987, growing by over 50 percent. One in four couples decides to divorce after the age of 50, particularly with the approach of retirement age and the "empty nest" after children leave the home.

Divorce can have a different impact on people who have stopped working or are very near to their age of retirement. One of the areas in which this has the strongest impact is in division of property and assets. Older couples often have complex assets, including those on which they will depend after retiring from the workplace. These can include pensions, real estate, investments and stocks, retirement savings and 401(k) plans. Other financial assets, including long-term care insurance, life insurance and Social Security, can also be deeply linked, especially between long-term couples.

Protecting business assets during a divorce

Ohio residents who are getting divorced will need to negotiate a divorce settlement. A major asset they might find themselves negotiating over is a business if either they or their former spouse own or co-own a business. Because not being properly informed about the true value of a business can have deep financial repercussions later on, it is best for divorcing residents to educate themselves about this as early as possible in the divorce process.

The first thing experts recommend doing is finding out the true worth of the business. This is more complicated than it might seem, even when the ex-spouse seems forthcoming and cooperative about the information. For this, they might enlist the help of an expert such as a forensic account, who can research the business and determine the true worth. Determining this might involve knowing both the current profit and future earnings projections, how well-known the business is, as well as any debt the business has. Particularly when businesses are private, family-owned enterprises, the books might not be as clear as they would be for private enterprises, and determining the true worth might require even more research.

When a divorce is the right decision

When an Ohio couple gets a divorce, it could have an impact on any children they may have. In fact, it could result in that child having emotional problems as well as an increased likelihood of not going to college. Children who have parents that got divorced are also more likely to get a divorce themselves. However, it may be best to end a relationship if there is abuse or if the children can see that the relationship is fatally flawed.

It may also be best to get a divorce if an individual is simply happier away from a spouse. Of course, staying in a marriage may be a good idea if it provides necessary resources such as health insurance. It may also be a good idea to continue in the marriage if there is a possibility of determining why it is not working out.

First come the holidays, then comes divorce

The holidays are a busy time of year for everyone, with all of the travel, planning for guests and shopping. Unfortunately, it’s also a precursor to increased activity in divorce courts.

Associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini conducted a study last year that shows a consistent peak in divorce filings in March and August in Washington State.

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