Ohio Family Law Blog

Debt & Divorce: How the Two are Connected

Separating from your spouse is a complicated and taxing process, especially when you start to get into the financial aspect of it. Understanding that debt and divorce go hand in hand, and why they do, can help you do your best to avoid winding up in the same position. The team at O'Keefe Family Law wants to provide you with a few of the reasons that this happens so that you can do your best to keep it from happening to you.

You Can't Divorce Debt

For better, for worse, and for all of the debt that you've acquired at the moment of your vows - debt can't be divorced. Though you may leave your spouse and end the marriage because of money problems, they remain your problems as a unit even after a divorce.

Any debt that was built up during the time of the marriage is not the responsibility of one individual, but rather is something that both parties will have to take care of even after the divorce.

Now, these debts that you had acquired throughout the divorce may be divided up throughout the process of the divorce, but this agreement that is made at the point of the separation is one that is made by the two of you. In the case that the spouse responsible for the payments to a specific debt does not pay, that does not mean that you too could suffer the consequences.

How is Child Support Calculated

Divorcing with children is emotionally taxing, but figuring out all the legal aspects of it is no walk in the park either. Child support is just one of the many things that need to be figured out while finalizing a divorce that will affect children, and it can be very daunting and overwhelming if you're not entirely sure what it is that you're taking into consideration.

Child support is calculated by a few different things, but when those items aren't being communicated, it can seem like an insignificant number that often leads to feelings of unfairness. In an attempt to avoid this, we are going to provide you with a brief overview of what items are considered in the process of calculating child care.

Income of Both Parents

Given that child support is intended to provide children with the care and items that they need, it makes sense that income of both parents would be taken into consideration. More often than not, both incomes of the parents will be looked at to see how much of their income is supplementing the care for the child. On a percentage base, the judge will determine what is fair for the other parent to pay for the children to be entirely taken care of.

This is usually the part of the calculations that people are most nervous for because while they know what their income is and where it stands next to the other parents, it can be uneasy waiting to hear where you will land with the child support. Just know that the court will always take all of the areas into consideration and not only your financial status.

That being said, if financial status changes at any point after the child support is determined, you can bring the case back to the courts to have it re-evaluated and updated.

Preparing for a Divorce with Adult Children

Worrying about how children will handle a divorce goes beyond the younger ages that are often talked about. While preparing small children for a divorce is something that needs to be talked about often, it's just as serious to prepare for how divorce will affect children that are now adults.

While not widely known, a large percentage of divorces happen once the children have left home and are attending college. If you and your spouse are talking about divorce and are curious as to how it may affect your adult child, the following are some of the more common reactions that have been noted.

Loss of Security in the Home

Even though your children are now adults and have left, the idea and safe space of a home is one that they likely still hold dear. When the topic of divorce is brought up it is not uncommon for children to feel as if that home is now broken - and in some ways, it will be. The best thing that you can do here is have this conversation with your kids as a united front. By doing so, they are more likely to see the logic behind the decision rather than it being about one person wronging the other.

Divorce Needn't Be An All-Out War

Many Options Available To Couples Who Are Uncoupling

Ending a marriage is one of the most stressful and emotionally debilitating experiences anyone can have. Whether you are the person who left or the person being left, terminating a marriage or live-in relationship ranks almost as high as the death of a loved one when it comes to the damage caused to body and psyche.

Who Can Gain Custody During A Divorce?

For most parents, a key question when discussing divorce is whether or not it is the best decision for their children. Yes, having both parents take an active role in their children's lives is valuable, but if you and your spouse fight regularly, splitting up may be better for you and your children. Divorce is an option to carefully consider, as it can bring about a lot of changes that your children may struggle with. One of the most common questions from parents going through a divorce is the question of custody. Specifically, parents want to know how custody is decided and who can get custody.

How Custody Decisions Are Made

During divorce proceedings, efforts will be made on both sides to help you come to amicable agreements as much as possible before going to court. This includes everything from determining how to divvy up shared accounts to what you will do with a house you jointly own and even who will keep the couch. A divorce lawyer can mediate discussions and help you draw up an agreement if you can decide how to split everything amicably. If you disagree, you may both need the representation of a divorce lawyer to help you arbitrate the discussion.

You Can Still Get A Prenup After Marriage

Many people think there's no way to get a prenup after they're married, but postnuptial agreements in the U.S. actually started being more common and enforceable after the 1970s. Whether you simply didn't get around to your prenup before your wedding or you didn't think you needed one and want it now, O'Keefe Family Law can help you get your postnup today. Here's what you need to know.

For postnuptial agreements to be enforceable, it has to meet a few key requirements (which are similar to prenups):

  • Written. Postnuptial agreements have to be in writing to be considered valid, and oral agreements won't be considered.
  • Voluntary. Both you and your partner must voluntarily and intentionally sign the agreement. If there's evidence of coercion, the postnup will be null.
  • Full disclosure. If you or your partner don't disclose all information necessary, the postnup would later be null as well. It can't be enforced later if the original agreements were made with different terms and information in mind.
  • Balanced and fair. If the postnuptial agreement is clearly one-sided and obviously helps one party more than the other, it won't be enforced.
  • Meet state requirements. Just as with prenuptial agreements, the postnup must meet the law's requirements in the state of residence. Bobbie is experienced in divorce law in Columbus and knows all requirements well.

When And If You Should Get A Prenup

Getting a prenuptial agreement - commonly called a prenup - isn't entirely void of romance and love like many people think. While it can be awkward to bring up during your engagement, it's wise to do so. Nobody goes into marriage planning on divorce, and yet 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. You can save yourself some headaches, anxiety, and money down the road if you go ahead and get your prenuptial agreement taken care of. It'll also help you and your significant other start effectively having hard conversations about finances and other topics. Ultimately, it's up to you and your partner if a prenup is right for you.

However, there are certain situations when we at O'Keefe Family Law would highly recommend getting a prenup to protect your assets.

  • It's not your first marriage. Divorce rates are significantly higher among people who have been married before. Don't set yourself up for failure, but make sure to prepare.
  • You have children from a previous relationship. Your prenup can help provide protection regarding child custody.
  • You are bringing significant assets into the marriage. This is especially important when one partner is marrying someone who doesn't.
  • You are a business owner. A prenup can ensure the your business stays your responsibility after divorce.

3 Reasons To Consider Mediation Before Starting Divorce Proceedings

We've all seen the movies or read the articles of nasty divorces that seem to leave the divorcee with empty bank accounts and lots of anxiety and stress. As you move forward with your divorce, you've probably heard of "mediation" and wondered if it was the route for you. To start, let's discuss what mediation is and what it isn't.

Mediation is not meeting with a therapist in a last-ditch effort to save your marriage, which many people think. In mediation, you and your partner meet with an experienced, neutral third-party to come to mutually-acceptable agreements on things like finances, child support, or even the family dog. O'Keefe Family Law is dedicated to pursuing the best option for you, and Bobbie O'Keefe strongly encourages the use of mediation for many of her clients. Here are three reasons why you should consider it for yourself instead of a traditional divorce procedure.

You'll Save Time

When you have mediation, you schedule the meetings, set the pace yourself, and avoid delays in court. All of this can help you save months of time. How long and how often your sessions with your mediator are - which is completely up to you - will greatly determine the length of your divorce process. Complexity of the issues and willingness of both parties to agree are big factors that can make the process either faster or slower. By having open communication between you, your divorcing spouse, and your mediator, you'll reach agreements and compromises much quicker than in a traditional divorce.

5 Ways To Help Your Children Through Your Divorce

Divorce isn't easy on anyone, and you've likely debated whether or not to even get divorced because you have children. Whatever it is that brought you to this point, we're here to help you at O'Keefe Family Law. Divorce is a hard decision and the effects are long lasting - on both you and your children. Here are five tips to assist you in helping your children cope with the changes your divorce will bring.

1. Encourage communication.

Pre- and post-divorce is the time to really open up with your children and encourage them to open up to you. You can offer support by legitimizing their feelings. To do this, tell them how they are feeling is normal and offer ways to help them cope with the changes. You can also help them identify exactly what they're feeling - even if it's hard for you to hear. Be sure to recognize signs of stress and seek professional help if necessary. Honest communication will help them know they can come to you when they are struggling.

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Family Law Representation on Your Side

Going through a divorce, separation, or dealing with the fallout of a child custody dispute isn't easy for either party involved. Moreover, it can be a maddening process if your spouse is being unreasonable, difficult to work with, or is completely absent from the process. Yet for many, these are just the tip of their family law concerns; third-party custody rights, paternity and fathers' rights, as well as spousal support conflicts can bring about intense stress, confusion, and frustration.

In her 25-plus years as a family law attorney, Bobbie O'Keefe has helped seemingly countless families and individuals wade through the often tumultuous waters of family law. Bobbie understands the burdens that are attached to a marriage dissolution, divorce, and all manner of family law issues. This has allowed Bobbie to provide compassionate representation for families that are going through a painful situation. Bobbie takes pride in the services she provides, and has always striven to provide quality services that seek the best possible outcome for her clients. For more on the quality family law services Bobbie provides, please continue reading below.

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