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Columbus Legal Blog

Can I recover parental rights terminated by the state?

The law grants biological parents a great deal of preference when it comes to matters of child custody. Unless egregious conditions exist that put the welfare of a child at risk, the rights of biological parents to retain custody are significant. This is especially true in cases where the mother is the parent in question.

Such rights are not absolute, however. Children's Services agencies around the state of Ohio bear a responsibility of ensuring the well-being of children and can act to terminate parental rights if the courts agree the situation calls for it. In some cases, the state can seek to place the child in an adoptive home. But what if adoption efforts fail? At some point, can a natural parent seek to recover custody? The answer is not clear cut, as one recent case shows. 

Figuring out asset division when going through a divorce

You and your spouse have worked hard to get where you are. Your financial picture may not be perfect, but you have a home, savings and retirement funds. On the flip side, you also have some debt in the form of a mortgage, a car payment and some credit card debt. You've decided to get a divorce and are wondering what property you'll get to keep. In Ohio, any shared property -- whether it is a positive or negative asset -- is marital property and subject to division.  

What property is separate? How exactly does property distribution work? Do I have a say in the matter?

Can you modify your divorce ruling after the fact?

When the divorce judgment is handed down, it's binding. You must adhere to the court order. For instance, even if you wanted sole custody of your child, if the order specifies that custody should be shared between you and your ex, you have to honor that. This can be hard for some parents to accept, feeling that they know the situation better than the judge, but violating a court order is illegal.

The good news is that changing circumstances may warrant a modification. While the order is legally binding, do not assume it lasts forever.

Maybe 6 R's can help children navigate divorce

Life is complicated. It always has been, but it seems more so now than in the past. Still, as the old saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Getting down to the fundamentals is a strong driving force. As an example, consider the common abbreviation, the three R's. It refers to what many consider educational basics - reading, writing and arithmetic. Never mind that the words don't all start with R. The gist is that these are fundamental.

Over the generations, many have developed similar references to other facets of everyday live. For example, a couple of years ago we offered up a post that suggested a possible three R's that parents might want to rely upon to make divorce easier for children. They included establishing solid routines, creating new rituals and offering consistent reassurance that the children are loved amid the upheaval of divorce.

4 things that can end a marriage

No matter how robust your marriage feels on your wedding day, it may end in divorce. A high percentage of relationships do.

While divorce happens for many reasons, experts can identify trends and find common reasons that show up again and again. Four examples are:

  1. Tragedy or catastrophe: Not all couples can weather something as devastating as the loss of a child. An extreme tragedy can make it harder to stay together. It's just emotionally trying, and, rather than helping each other through it, some couples drift apart.
  2. Lack of appreciation: People want to feel valued. When one spouse feels like the other doesn't care and ignores all that he or she adds to the relationship, it can lead to resentment.
  3. A different religious background: People may feel like religion, while important to each individual, does not have to be the same for a successful relationship. This can and does work, but some couples see religion come between them eventually. This is especially true if the couple has kids. Differences may have been easier to ignore on their own, but marital conflicts arise when they both want to raise the kids within their own religion.
  4. Different attitudes regarding money: One spouse never had much growing up and always wants to save. The other grew up wealthy and doesn't ever think about money as something that can run out, thus leading to rampant spending. Both may grow to resent each other for these differing attitudes.

Later-in-life divorce: What you don't know can hurt you

Long-married couples are divorcing at a higher rate than in the past. By many counts, the rate among adults aged 50 and older is about double what it was in the 1990s. The consensus among experts for why this is happening seems to be that people are living longer. If the love is gone and you have decades left to live, it becomes easier to understand there might be a desire to make the final years happier.

Financial planners observe that this trend has one potential drawback. Divorce can leave both parties less secure in retirement. This might be especially true if the couple followed the once-traditional family model in which one spouse worked and the other stayed home to care for children. The prospect of divorce in that situation can make for a stark picture of the future and make division of assets a significant challenge. 

How does the IRS define alimony?

As personal an event as divorce is, it is not something anyone goes through alone. At the very least, the hand of the government weighs in and will seek to be sure that tax obligations continue to be met one way or another.

The scope of tax implications stemming from divorce can be complicated, but ignorance or confusion about compliance are not defenses if the IRS or Ohio tax authorities raise questions. Alimony payments or spousal support, as it is now referred to, can be the source of some of the greatest confusion. This is because the IRS makes distinctions about what constitutes alimony and what does not.

Family law disputes can spread onto the gridiron

We have written before about the broad scope of issues family law can deal with. We offered a rundown of a few of them in one recent post. Since then, a story has made headlines that serves to reinforce the point we sought to make. And so, we are taking this post to dig into that a little.

The backdrop of the story is football - a significant pastime in Ohio. Football is big whether at the professional, college or high school level. And it is that extracurricular activity that is the source of contention in this child custody dispute. While it's playing out in Pennsylvania, it's reasonable to believe similar cases are active in other states, including Ohio.

The complexities of relocating with children after divorce

Life continues to change, even after a divorce is final. The terms of your divorce order, including your custody and visitation arrangement, may not always be applicable to what is happening in your life. Some Ohio parents may even find that they need to move after divorce, but relocating could be complicated, especially if the custody order is already final.

Child relocation is more than just moving to a different house that is relatively close to where you live now. If you are the custodial parent, you may assume that you can do what you want regarding where your child will live and go to school, but that is not the case. If your move will put significant distance between your child and the other parent or will relocate your child to a different state, you will have to seek permission for relocation.

'Most wanted' deadbeat parent arrested after 20 years

Child support is an obligation the state places on parents of children when the adults end their relationship. The action might be prompted by divorce. In some cases, the parents aren't married, but parenthood has been established and the assignment of child support becomes possible. The rationale, of course, is that support is in the best interest of the children and it's the obligation of parents to provide.

Most of the time, parents fulfill this obligation without complaint because they care and know it's for the good of the children. Sometimes, though, an obligor parent comes up short and it becomes necessary to seek help to enforce compliance with support orders

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