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Newark OH Divorce Law Blog

How physical custody works in Ohio

It is important for divorcing parents to understand certain legal terms when they are determining matters that involve their children. When it comes to custodial arrangements, some parents might not realize the meaning of physical custody. This generally refers to where a child will live, and the parent awarded physical custody must provide daily care for the child. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the ability to make major decisions regarding a child.

Most custodial arrangements give primary physical custody to a single parent to avoid disrupting the children's routines. The other parent, or non-custodial parent, is then awarded visitation rights. This usually gives non-custodial parents private time with their children for certain weekends, holidays and vacation times. The non-custodial parents may also be awarded shared legal custody.

When child support is no longer required

In Ohio and elsewhere in the U.S., many families are relying on child support in order to get by and maintain an acceptable standard of living. Unfortunately, some of these individuals are unaware of when these payments are scheduled to end and may run into some problems as a result. By knowing what factors determine when child support payments end, both parents and children can be prepared for when that day comes.

In many states, child support generally ends once a child reaches the age of 18, gets emancipated, or stops attending high school full-time. However, there are exceptions. In Ohio, a child can continue to receive child support payments past the age of 18, even if he or she is not enrolled in high school full-time, if a court determines that this should be a requirement. If a child has special needs, he or she will likely continue to receive payments past the age of 18.

Representing Ohio residents in domestic abuse matters

Many Ohio divorce and child custody cases are marked by domestic violence. You or your children may have suffered abuse at the hands of your ex-spouse for years during your marriage. In other cases, a judge may have ordered you to comply with a protective order that takes away your ability to have a meaningful relationship with your children.

Seeking a protective order is an important part of healing after the end of an abusive relationship. These orders are meant to protect people who are at their most vulnerable. However, you may be afraid to speak in court or otherwise assert your need for a protective order without the help of experienced legal representation.

Understanding how divorce affects credit

Couples from Ohio might be wondering how divorce affects credit. In some cases, the court may assign certain debts to an ex-spouse, who is responsible for paying off the debts. If they fail to do so, creditors might contact the other party in an attempt to collect the debt. If that party informs the creditors that a divorce decree mandates that the ex-spouse is liable for the debts, in some cases, the creditors might inform the individual that they are not involved in the decree and that the person is still responsible for paying the bills.

Whenever an individual applies for a loan, whether it is a credit card or mortgage type, the agreement is defined as either joint or individual credit. In a joint-credit scenario, both parties are authorized to use the account, and both parties are responsible for the debt even if they get divorced. A divorce decree that designates that the debt goes to only one party does not negate that both are liable for the balance in contracts with the lender.

Orders for reasonable visitation

Some Ohio child custody cases will include a court order for the non-custodial parent to have reasonable visitation. This unspecific decision will usually only be ordered when the two parents are still on amicable terms and able to communicate with each other. In these kinds of cases, reasonable visitation is preferred over a specific visitation order because it allows both parents to work around their schedules.

When a judge orders reasonable visitation, the custodial parent will have no legal obligation to agree on a visitation schedule with the non-custodial parent. Therefore, the custodial parent will often have more say over the schedule that is created. If a custodial parent harbors ill feelings towards the non-custodial parent, there is the potential that the parent could be maliciously inflexible after reasonable visitation is ordered.

Technology-based child custody arrangement

Ohio divorced parents may be surprised to hear about new custody laws that may change the way parents and their children communicate. Virtual visitation is a method in which technology is used to keep in touch with the child. This may include email, video chatting and instant messaging. While many parents may already use these methods to contact their child, what makes virtual visitation unique is that it may be part of a legal child custody order.

Many states have already begun to implement laws allowing this custody arrangement, though the phenomenon is unusual. A common example of why a non-custodial parent might file for virtual visitation custody is if the custodial parent relocates with the child. This modification would change the original child custody arrangement while guaranteeing that the non-custodial parent would still be able to be engaged in the child's life.

How can a visitation agreement be modified?

When a custody and visitation agreement is created in Ohio, it is not set in stone. A broad variety of factors are taken into consideration, and when those factors change dramatically, a modification of the agreement may be necessary. Any modification to visitation is meant to serve the best interests of the child in some way and help ensure that they have appropriate and positive contact with both parents whenever possible.

A request for modification may be initiated at any time by one or both parents or the court itself. The modification can change any part of the agreement, but it will most often only affect visitation. This can include the amount of visitation time allowed to the non-custodial parent and when that visitation can occur or change a visitation plan that is not a shared parenting plan to one that is.

Who is eligible to file for a protective order in Ohio?

Protective orders are civil orders that protect the victims of violence from those who threaten to harm or actually harm them. In domestic violence cases, these orders protect the victims from the violent acts or threats of violence of family or household members.

Ohio law defines a family or household member as someone with whom the victim has a child, whether the victim lives with that person or not. The family or household member can be the victim's spouse, former spouse or common-law spouse; parent, stepparent or foster parent; child or stepchild; or any other blood relative who lives or previously lived with the victim. Any blood or married relative of a common-law spouse of the violent individual who lives with or previously lived with the victim is also considered a family or household member.

When is a distributive award used in divorce?

The complex nature of property division sometimes demands that certain rules be bent in order to ease the process or facilitate a quicker agreement. A distributive award is one such way to bend the rules. It is used in order to create an equitable financial outcome for each spouse even when property is not technically divided equally.

Under Ohio law, assets are to be divided evenly between each spouse. This can sometimes require that certain assets, like real estate, be sold before their value can be divided. An agreement may also be reached that one spouse gets to keep the entirety of the asset, but this can create an unequal balance between the two. A distributive award is one way to keep the distribution values equal in such cases. For example, a husband might agree to give his wife the house that is considered marital property. Since the wife is not surrendering an equal marital asset in return, the court determines that she is getting a greater share of assets than the husband is. To balance this out, she agrees to pay the husband a lump sum of money equal his share of the house upon the finalization of the divorce.

Proper uses of child support

In Ohio and other states, the law provides guidelines that in general set the amount of child support that will be ordered by the court and paid by the non-custodial parent. The parent receiving the child support has the responsibility to use the funds appropriately, for the health and welfare of the child. However, the details of budgets and spending are up to the custodial parent, and normally the court won't demand an itemized accounting.

Among these proper uses are food and clothing for the child, in addition to educational expenses such as transportation, school fees, and payment for textbooks, extracurricular activities, lunches, supplies and uniforms. If the child is not yet in school, and the custodial parent is working, the guidelines may allow the use of child support for child care services such as a day care center, a nanny or a babysitter.

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The office of Carl McCoy, Attorney at Law, in Newark, Ohio, serves residents throughout central Ohio, including residents of Alexandria, Pataskala, Etna Township, Buckeye Lake, Johnstown, St. Louisville, Coshocton, Granville, Heath, Hebron, Kirkersville, Hanover, New Albany, Reynoldsburg and Zanesville. We assist residents of all cities and towns in Licking County, Coshocton County, Knox County, Perry County and Muskingum County.