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Newark OH Divorce Law Blog

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.

Relocating with a child after an Ohio divorce

If a custodial parent wishes to relocate with his or her child, the other parent may need to agree to the move. In the event that the other parent doesn't agree to the move, the case may need to be settled in court. Should a relocation dispute go to court, the judge will take several factors into account before deciding if the relocation can take place.

For instance, the judge must decide if the child is being moved too far from the other parent. A long move could wreak havoc on the current visitation rights of the other parent. Even if another visitation schedule can be worked out, it would need to be viewed as something that is in the best interest of the child. However, a relocation may be allowed over the objection of the other parent if express consent was already given.

Property division issues

Because Ohio follows the principle of equitable distribution to govern property division in a divorce situation, you may not necessarily emerge from your marriage with an equal share of marital assets. Additionally, it is important to understand that only property acquired during your marriage, from the date of the marriage to the final hearing for the divorce, is subject to this precept. The court may choose to use other dates to address property division if the dates of the marriage are deemed to be inequitable.

The property division phase of divorce proceedings involves three important elements, including identification of assets and debts, categorization of these as marital or non-marital, and assignment of value. These issues can be important if you have non-marital assets that you wish to protect from the property division process. These might include properties held prior to the marriage, but they could also include assets such as inheritances or gifts that were received during the marriage. A prenuptial agreement may come into play as certain assets are considered as well.

Child custody and restraining orders in Ohio

A parent who has gotten a restraining order against a spouse or partner due to domestic violence may be able to get custody of their children as well. If state law allows for temporary custody with a restraining order, the judge who hears the case may grant the request. In the event that custody is granted, another court may grant custody to the other parent, which may invalidate the temporary custody order.

Another type of ruling that a judge may may is an ex-parte ruling. What this means is that custody will be granted without telling the other parent. In fact, the other parent will not even be in the room when the ruling is made. However, this ruling may be limited to the state where the order was granted, which could create new legal issues if the parent wants to travel with the child out of the state.

Financial issues in an Ohio military divorce

Ohio military families may be interested in some information about the special issues that they face with regard to divorce. Due to the particular situation that they are in, some of the problems that non-military families encounter when splitting up can be more pronounced.

Many military personnel change locations quite often, which means that their non-military spouses have trouble getting or staying employed. Because of this, when the couple divorces, the service member will often be responsible for spousal support for the non-working spouse. Additionally, since many military members have younger children, support is often necessary for them as well. Frequent deployments also mean that the enlisted spouse will not be able to retain custody of children after a divorce. When a judge examines the family situation and determines what custody arrangement will be in the best interests of the child, granting full custody to a service member who is often away is not common.

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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.