What do you need to know about post-divorce estate planning?

The most important thing to know about estate planning after a divorce in Ohio is to take care of it as soon as possible. This is especially important if you already have an estate plan in place that needs revision to reflect the current circumstances. You never know what could happen: you could die suddenly or become incapacitated, and your outdated estate plan could grant privileges, powers or property to your ex-spouse that you do not want him or her to have.

According to Forbes, there are a number of decisions you will need to make during post-divorce estate planning. If you have minor children, some of the most important decisions you will make pertain to them. There are two specific areas you need to address in regard to minor children: guardianship and finances.

Do children have any say in custody matters?

One of the biggest issues in many divorce cases in Ohio is child custody. As you prepare for your hearing on the custody of your children, you may wonder what will happen. Many parents and children want to know if the children will have any say in who they live with and the other custody arrangements. According to the Ohio Revised Code, the court has the right to allow or deny children to express their wishes about custody in court.

Judges generally like to hear everyone in a case. It allows the to understand the situation and get to know the children involved. It gives them a better ability to make the right decision. However, judges know that not every child is able to make decisions for themselves of this nature. So, the court will typically assess a child first to determine if he or she has the reasoning capabilities to express his or her wishes concerning custody matters.

Will you have to worry about your ex's debt in an Ohio divorce?

The process of divorce helps people separate their lives from that of their spouse. For couples without children, the main concerns of divorce are usually financial. Even for couples with children, it is common for both of the spouses to worry about the implications of dividing up their assets and their debts.

While most people have a firm understanding of the fact that courts divide the assets acquired by a couple in an Ohio divorce, fewer people understand the way that the Ohio courts will approach debt in a divorce. If you are trying to plan for a fresh start and a better future, educating yourself about how much debt from your ex you will have to repay can help you determine a more accurate budget and plan.

The difference between divorce and dissolution of marriage

For any number of reasons, couples in Ohio and elsewhere may make the difficult decisions to end their marriages. Although the terms divorce and dissolution of marriage are often used interchangeably for terminating a union, they are two different legal actions. Therefore, it may be helpful for those who are planning to split from their spouses to understand the pointed differences between these actions.

According to state law, the court hears the petitioners’ causes for divorce when determining whether to release them from their marital obligations. The causes for which the court may see fit to grant a divorce includes the following: adultery, either spouse having a living husband or wife at the time of the marriage, gross neglect of duty, living separately for at least one-year, habitual alcohol intoxication, extreme cruelty, fraud or incompatibility. Where they cannot reach agreements on their own, state law grants the court jurisdiction over all related domestic relations issues in divorce proceedings.

Credit card debt can complicate your divorce

When you're married, it's common to take on all types of debt with your spouse. This can include but is not limited to credit card debt, mortgage, car loans, personal loans and lines of credit.

Any type of joint debt must be dealt with accordingly during the divorce process. Credit card debt, in particular, can complicate your split.

Custody disputes and your child’s education

Many legal hurdles can arise when a couple moves forward with a divorce, from financial issues over alimony or property division to stress and other emotional concerns. If you have kids, divorce can be particularly tough, especially if a dispute centered around the custody of your child comes up. It is critical for you to take many factors into consideration during a custody dispute, not only from your perspective as a parent but from your child’s point of view also. For example, you should prioritize their best interests and focus on what is best for them, with respect to key issues such as their education.

Whether you have a young child or a teen who will be entering college in the near future, there are many ways in which a custody dispute can affect your child’s education. Divorce-related issues and uncertainty over custody can make your child feel stressed out and uncertain about their future, which could affect their grades and their ability to study, so you should try to minimize some of the negative aspects of divorce and do what you can to help them through this time.

How can you eliminate conflict with your ex?

Despite the fact that your divorce is in the works in Ohio, you still see your ex more than you would like to as the two of you have arranged a shared custody agreement of your children. While you are satisfied with the agreement that has been made, you are actively looking for ways to reduce the tension and conflict between you and your ex as you openly acknowledge that participating in heated verbal exchanges will only worsen the situation for your children. 

Fortunately, you can approach this situation with confidence and civility when you are educated about how to act around your ex. Being committed to maintaining respect for your ex regarding his or her parenting will have long-lasting effects on the way your children view your relationship with their other parent which may ultimately affect their relationship with both you and your ex. 

How can I protect my retirement in a gray divorce?

Gray divorces are happening more often than the used to in Ohio. Older couples are deciding after decades of marriage that they wish to end their relationships, which leads to issues that younger couples do not really have to deal with. One of the biggest is managing retirement funds. Generally, the law says an equal split of assets and retirement is an asset, so it could mean trouble for you if you end up losing your retirement money at an older age.

This is why you have to find ways to safeguard your retirement funds during the divorce settlement process, according to Money. There are some thing you can do beginning with coming to an agreement with your spouse outside of the courtroom. When you can reach a settlement, it often means you can keep more of your retirement. If you let the court decide, you usually will lose at least half of it.

Is joint custody right for you?

As a parent in Ohio, you will have to decide how you are going to handle matters of child custody when getting a divorce. There are two main options: sole custody, and joint custody. Which is best for you? That depends on your own unique situation. Today, we'll take a look at joint custody.

FindLaw states that joint custody is a situation in which both parents share equal responsibility in raising the child. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean the child spends their time split perfectly evenly between both parents. In some cases, it might, but this may cause too much of a disruption to their life and may thus be determined not in the best interest of the child.

What can I do if I am unhappy about my divorce decree?

After the process of getting a divorce in Ohio, you may be left with a divorce decree that you are less than happy with. There are a number of reasons why this may happen. In any case, though, you do have the right to try to get it changed if you so desire. You must follow a formal process to have any changes made to a divorce decree, according to the Ohio State Bar Association. However, what you must do depends on who handled your case. You must go through different methods depending on whether your case went through a judge or a magistrate.

If a judge handled your case, then you must go through the appeals process. You must follow the appellate court rules. If you fail to follow these rules, you will end up having your case dismissed. Do note this process can be lengthy. It also requires quite a bit of paperwork. You have to make sure to include all requested documents. You can file an appeal within 30 days of the finalization of your divorce decree. Your ex-spouse will then have 20 days to respond to your appeal.

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