Beware of these potential co-parenting conflicts

Your divorce is in the past and it's now time to turn your attention to co-parenting. With the right approach, you and your ex are able to provide your children with a stable environment.

Even with a parenting agreement in place and the best of intentions, there are likely to be times when you don't agree with your ex.

Legal vs. physical custody: What you should know

When you file for divorce in Ohio, there are a host of terms that must be negotiated before the divorce settlement is finalized. One of the most difficult and important terms is that of child custody. Divorce can be extremely hard for children, who are often the unwilling participants of the separation. Yet, the right type of custody may help to minimize the effects of divorce on the children and help them maintain a solid relationship with both parents. 

Physical custody describes which parent the child resides with. Joint physical custody is when the child lives with one parent at certain times and then lives with the other parent at other times. This often occurs when the child is small or the parents live close enough to ensure the child is able to attend school from both residences. Sole physical custody is when the child resides with one parent primarily, and then has visitation with the other parent. Often times the child will see the non-custodial parent every other weekend, one night during the week, alternating holidays and for half of the summer. 

How is a business handled in property division?

You and other small business owners in Ohio are proud of the work and time you invested in making your business successful. You may also have employees who depend on you, who might now be worried about their livelihood if you are going through a divorce. How your business is divided depends on whether you started your business before or after you got married, as well as numerous other factors.

In an equitable property state like Ohio, the courts determine what is fair and equitable, but not necessarily exactly equal, in a divorce. As FindLaw explains, your business is likely to be considered marital property if you and your spouse jointly owned the company or operated it together. This is especially true, although not always the case, if you started the company after you were married, even if your intent was to be the sole owner and operator. For example, if your spouse took care of household responsibilities while you built the company, this may qualify the business as marital property, because it involved your spouse committing time and effort to the company’s success. This can be the case if you started the business before or after getting married.

Are there advantages to grandparent adoption?

American families come in all shapes and sizes. While some children are raised by their aunts and uncles, others live in single-parent households and still others are brought up by their grandparents. Not all parents are fit or able to properly care for their children and grandparents may need to step in to help. If you are a grandparent raising a grandchild, you may find it beneficial to go through the legal adoption process. 

Although it is not required to adopt your grandchild, doing so may grant you certain rights and legal advantages. Once you have adopted your grandchild, you will be able to determine who you wish to care for them if something should happen to you. It also gives the child stability, as they will not have to be sent back and forth between caregivers. Adoptive grandparents have the ability to make certain decisions regarding the child, such as what doctor they go to or what school they attend. Furthermore, adopted grandchildren will have better access and legal rights to their grandparents estate if and when their grandparents pass away. 

Getting divorced? Handle these estate planning matters ASAP

The process of going through a divorce can disrupt your life in ways you never imagined. While this is a stressful and heartbreaking time, at the law office of Gregg R. Lewis, Esq. - Harry Lewis Co., LPA, we know that there are certain legal matters that must be taken care of sooner, rather than later. For you and other Ohio residents, this means updating your will and handling other estate planning matters before your divorce is finalized.

Why do I need to do it now, instead of after my divorce is final, you may wonder? As you know, life can be unpredictable. You may pass away unexpectedly or suffer an incapacitating injury while you are still legally married, which can prove problematic at best if your spouse is still the executor of your will or can make financial and medical decisions on your behalf. Forbes recommends making the following updates to your estate planning while you are going through your divorce:

  • Revoke your old will and create a new one, changing the executor if necessary.
  • Change your life insurance beneficiary, as well as who is entitled to your retirement accounts when you die.
  • Decide if you want to leave non-marital property to your spouse or another person in your will.
  • Update the beneficiary on pay-on-death bank accounts and brokerage accounts.
  • Change your power of attorney and living will.

Discuss a postnuptial agreement with your spouse

After you tie the knot and settle into married life, it's important to review your financial situation every now and again. This may lead you toward learning more about a postnuptial agreement.

Just the same as a prenuptial agreement, it's designed to protect assets you bring into a marriage, to protect the inheritance rights of children from a past relationship and to safeguard your business, among other details.

Joint credit card debt, divorce and financial misconduct

Once you decide to divorce, you're forced to make a variety of key decisions regarding your finances. For example, create a list of your assets and debts to ensure that nothing goes unnoticed during the divorce process.

Joint credit card debt can complicate your divorce, especially if you don't pay attention to it early enough in the process.

Study: Joint-custody may be beneficial for children

When couples file for divorce, they are faced with a myriad of issues that must be negotiated in the final divorce settlement. Child custody arrangements are one of the most critical, as they impact the wellbeing of the child for years to come. Although every situation has different circumstances, which may impact the type of custody that is best for the child, studies show that children who spend a significant amount of time with both parents may have advantages when compared to children who are in sole-custody situations. 

The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at children in sole-custody, joint-custody and traditional family living arrangements. Researchers found that kids in joint-custody living arrangements faired better in school, had stronger family relationships, showed fewer behavioral problems and had an overall higher self-esteem in comparison to children who spent the majority of their time with one parent. 

Making sure you account for all marital property

When you file for divorce or legal separation, there are a myriad of issues that must be negotiated before creating the final settlement. Property division may be one of the most difficult topics to approach, as you may have developed a strong attachment toward some of the possessions you have accumulated during years of marriage. All property and assets that were amassed during the time you were married are considered marital property and are eligible for division in the divorce. It is critical that you understand what marital property is so you can be sure to get everything you are entitled to in your settlement. 

Marital property, also referred to as community property, is more than just the family car, home and bank account contents. There are some lesser known marital items that you should be aware of, including the following:

How mediation can help in child custody matters

Going through a divorce or legal separation can be emotionally overwhelming and challenging, especially if there are children involved. While splitting up marital property can be difficult, it is nothing in comparison to splitting up the children and determining what type of custody would be best. SInce every situation is unique, the type of custody that works in each situation is also unique depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Through traditional courtroom divorces, the judge presiding over the case looks at all of the information provided and makes a decision as to whether sole custody or joint custody is best. Mediation, on the other hand, allows couples to look at their own situation and create a custody arrangement that works best for them. 

During custody mediation, both couples will meet under the direction of a third-party mediator who will help guide the session. You can bring your attorney along for personal guidance. Before arriving at the mediation appointment, you should have a list of concerns and what you want to gain from the arrangement. Be prepared to back up your requests and understand that all decisions are made in the best interest of the children.

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