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Dayton Divorce Law Blog

Premarital agreement is usually enforceable during divorce

Ohio and most other states view premarital, or prenuptial, agreements as products of contract law, and as such, they are enforceable even if unfair in their basic content. Parties getting married should each closely assess the pros and cons of a premarital agreement and the nature of the consequences if a divorce arises in the future. The courts have generally held that a premarital agreement will be enforced if it was entered into voluntarily and if the wealthier party gives full disclosure of assets. Of course, it is the less wealthy party who typically gives up the right to claim equitable property division and other rights in the event of a divorce.

Historically, most of these agreements have involved a woman as the less wealthy spouse. She would sign an agreement prior to marriage to relinquish her equitable division rights to the other's property, including what would otherwise have become marital property due to being acquired during the marriage. Courts usually took a more mediating stance in looking at how unfair the agreement was to the female partner.

Grey divorce means greater financial challenges for some people

Divorces between couples in their 50s and 60s are rising dramatically, according to a study at  Bowling Green State University in Ohio. According to the study, the financial impact of divorce on the elderly is much more difficult than on those who divorce earlier in life. In order to increase one's chances to survive comfortably after a late-in-life divorce, the individual should reassess his or her financial plan to make sure that it reflects one's changes in life pursuits and other circumstances.

One of the obvious problems is that the older the person at the time of divorce, the less time there is available to set one's retirement planning straight. Some practical steps are highly recommended in that situation. One should review all beneficiary designations on life insurance, pensions and retirement accounts, and make appropriate changes.

Legal custody considerations are unique for a disabled child

Some of the most difficult custody cases in Ohio and elsewhere are those involving children with disabilities and special needs. A child who is disabled can need a myriad of specialized medical, rehabilitative and educational services. These typically carry additional expenses that can place a strain on the marriage. Unfortunately, parents of special needs children tend to divorce more often due to the added pressures and demands that the situation creates for them. Furthermore, the issue of legal custody often comes into play in child custody disputes between the parents.

A parent with legal custody will generally have the sole authority to make medical and educational decisions for the disabled child. This applies even where the child custody order or agreement refers to a joint custody agreement. These matters must be closely reviewed to determine how the wording of a custody order will affect the extra body of decision-making responsibility owed to a disabled child.

Madonna tweets child custody claims, supports working moms

Working out the details of child custody may in many instances be a lot easier for the average resident of Ohio than it is for an international celebrity. Even with all of the fame, power and riches possessed by a renowned celebrity like Madonna, that may not be enough when her 15-year-old son expresses a preference for staying with his father. In child custody disputes, the general rule is that children will have a greater say in their child custody status as they get closer to the age of 18.

That is not to say that the child will have a carte blanche ticket to set arrangements just the way he wants them. However, Madonna's son Rocco is reportedly giving his mother anxiety attacks with his recent refusal to come back here after visiting with his father, Guy Ritchie, in London. Madonna showed that she was getting frayed to the edges when she impulsively tweeted her custody worries by saying that "[W]e don't live in a society where many encourage strong independent working moms!," meaning apparently that she belongs in that category and that somehow that is why her son has not returned.

Transition to divorce can be handled in a non-threatening way

Ohio, like all states, will see the traditional increase in divorces this January. With the new year swinging into gear, it is a good time for those who are in the process of a divorce, or who may be just getting separated, to make some resolutions for maximizing the benefits available from this challenging life transition. It is a transition that most people in Ohio and elsewhere find difficult due to our natural aversion to change.

However, by committing to some or all of the following recommendations, many divorce counselors believe that a person can benefit from a transition that is enlightening rather than depressive and draining. The first suggestion is to commit to a speedy divorce; those who feel that they have to spend months proving little points about the marriage and its end, or who need to dwell on a war of revenge, will possibly have a very long new year and many longer years thereafter. Additionally, take some time to do some estate planning for the future. This is both a practical necessity and a good symbol of commitment to change.

Mother appeals loss of child custody due to her extreme poverty

Is excessive poverty in itself a justifiable reason for taking away a natural mother's custody rights to her child with special needs?  It is unknown how the question would be answered in the family courts of Ohio. However, the courts of another state are currently grappling with it. That state's highest court will decide whether the trial court acted properly in terminating the child custody and parental rights of an indigent mother to her 2-year-old daughter.

The trial court placed the child with a "financially advantaged" foster family. The highest appellate court has agreed to hear the mother's appeal, but it has also ordered the suspension of her visitation rights. The court also ordered a trial judge to take testimony on the potential psychological impact on the girl in visiting her mother after a near two-year hiatus.

Courts hear child custody cases concerning unmarried parents

The family law courts in Ohio have always provided a venue for married couples to obtain determinations of custody of their minor children. This often occurs during the divorce procedure. However, married couples who are separated may also seek child custody determinations in the courts prior to the institution of divorce proceedings.

The same holds true for unmarried couples living apart, who will obviously not be asking for a divorce. Nonetheless, they will have the same need in many instances for a court order defining custody and visitation rights. Additionally, irrespective of marital status, these couples will also appear in support court to resolve child support issues.

Mother returns after igniting international child custody case

A frantic woman who had taken off to Europe with her two minor daughters recently called a television station reporter to ask her to call the FBI and her lawyer. She claimed that she did what she did to protect her children and not hurt them, but she was running out of money and had to return home. In addition to possibly losing the child custody case filed by the father, she now faces the prospect of prison time on kidnapping and other charges. Whether in Ohio or another state, one thing that is not allowed is leaving the jurisdiction of the court with the children when a custody hearing is scheduled.

The mother had gotten into trouble with the alleged misuse or identity theft of another person's credit card. She was facing those charges when her husband filed for child custody. She apparently panicked and left the country. Over the six weeks since her departure, it appears that saner thoughts have interceded.

Domestic abuse could often be the result of a divorce bully

The strange and unwelcome phenomenon of a divorce bully is something that has been articulated by some divorce experts and sociologists in recent years. The divorce bully has been observed and discussed on a nationwide basis, including in Ohio. The concept pertains to an individual who is not normally guilty of domestic abuse but who may turn out to be an abuser during the divorce process.

When this type of behavior occurs during the marriage, it is often categorized as domestic violence. It is particularly aggravating to some people who are already struggling emotionally to stay centered during the trauma of dealing with a split family situation. The divorce bully may display symptoms of lying about past incidents and pinning wrongdoing and guilt on the other spouse. He or she may make threats regarding the minor children by indicating an attempt to take custody and prevent the other party from seeing them.

Avoiding the struggle to obtain child support after a divorce

When going through a divorce in Ohio or another state, the comforts of one's prior life are sometimes disrupted or stopped altogether. Finances may be tight immediately after the separation or the divorce filing, depending on the degree of mutual cooperation between the parties. If there is no initial cooperation, the poorer spouse may have to wait until child support and/or spousal support orders are obtained.

That potential financial crisis can make the beginning of the divorce process a frightening experience for the less wealthy spouse. This may be especially true for the spouse who has stayed at home for years to raise the children and to essentially function as a homemaker. This spouse may be left in the marital home alone, or with minor children, without assurances of payments by the other spouse for the mortgage and house expenses.