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Newark OH Divorce Law Blog

Dealing with frozen embryos in a divorce

When some Ohio couples decide that it is time to have children, they may turn to alternative forms of fertilization. This may mean creating embryos that can then be implanted so that the couple can have children if they are naturally unable to conceive. What many people do not think about, however, is what may happen to these frozen embryos should the couple divorce.

One of these couples, for example, created five embryos after the wife was diagnosed with cancer. The couple feared that any cancer treatments could leave her unable to have children. When they divorced, the ex-wife decided that she still wanted to use the embryos. The ex-husband, however, wanted to have the embryos destroyed. While both signed a clinic consent agreement stating that the embryos would be destroyed if they divorced, the courts have ruled differently for different cases.

Ohio and child support orders

During a divorce, an individual may be ordered by the court to pay child support to the custodial parent of their child. This is to help ensure that the person with custody has the means to raise a child. How much someone is obligated to pay is often determined based on the financial situation of both parents.

Since people's situation may change dramatically following a divorce, it may be necessary for a parent to seek a child support modification. This could either be to request additional payments from the paying spouse or to seek a reduction in someone's support obligations. These requests are normally filed with the court that made the original order, but which court has jurisdiction may be in question if one or both of the parents moved out of state.

Gambling proceeds may be withheld to pay child support

A new law in the state of Ohio has helped track down parents who owe back child support. The law requires casinos and racinos to look for those who owe back child support depending on how much they win. If an individual wins more than $1,200 in a slot game or $1,500 in a keno game, the winner is required to fill out a tax form.

Those who win more than $5,000 in a poker tournament must also fill out a tax form. Depending on how much the parent owes, the entire check may be withheld to fulfill past child support obligations. Since September 2014, there have been 1,188 cases in which winnings have been withheld. This has translated into $2 million in support given to Ohio children.

Working ex-spouses may still claim Social Security benefits

Divorced individuals in Ohio may be entitled to receive Social Security benefits based on the contributions of their ex-spouses. Indeed, spousal benefits may be available even if the person is still working, as long as his or her ex-spouse can claim retirement benefits from Social Security and the other requirements are met.

Generally speaking, an ex-spouse can claim spousal benefits if the marriage lasted 10 years or more and he or she is unmarried and at least 62 years of age. If he or she is still working, the Social Security Administration may withhold a portion of the benefits based on the earnings test.

Court has no jurisdiction in Kelly Rutherford's custody case

Ohio parents whose marriages are coming to an end may be interested to learn that, on July 23, a California judge ruled that the state did not have jurisdiction over actress Kelly Rutherford's international custody battle. The mother of two has been fighting to regain custody of her children since their father moved them to Monaco.

The custody battle began in 2012 after Rutherford's ex-husband lost his U.S. visa. A judge in California ruled that the kids should live in Europe with the father until the matter was resolved. In April 2015, Rutherford's request to bring her children back to the United States was denied, though she appealed this ruling. In the most recent court hearing, the California judge stated that the children no longer had ties to California and thus the state had no jurisdiction over the matter.

Military benefit division and divorcing Ohio couples.

Ohio residents may know that a military pension is a valuable asset. This is because of the substantial benefits the military provides to service members, including health and retirement benefits. However, military pensions are different from standard pensions. For example, they are not subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The laws and issues concerning the division of military pensions can be confusing, so it is important that divorcing spouses are well-informed by their respective lawyers.

Before a military pension can be divided, it is important to determine what retirement benefits are available. There are several documents that can be used for this, including the Leave and Earnings Statement, Retirement Points Statement, SBP election forms, and discharge papers. Each state might treat the division of military benefits differently. In order for a former spouse to receive military pension payments directly following a divorce, there must be 10 years of marriage that overlap 10 years of military service.

Divorce and the family pet

As Ohio residents may be aware, pet custody is a part of some divorce proceedings, and courts are starting to consider what is best for the family and for the pet when it comes to custody and visitation. Learning what parameters are involved in deciding the placement of the family pet may help make the transition smoother.

Negotiating prior to the the divorce might be preferable. Deciding who is better suited to care for the pet after divorce and how placement of the pet might affect both the pet and the family are big considerations..

Substance abuse not an automatic disqualifier for child custody

Judges in Ohio and across the country are faced with deciding child custody cases on a regular basis. Although many people think a history of substance abuse by one parent will automatically result in custody being awarded to the other parent, family law experts say that is not the case.

In a recent high-profile case, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick confirmed that they are splitting up. Some observers assumed that custody of the couple's three young children would automatically go to Kardashian due to Disick's publicly reported stay in a rehab facility. However, many experts agree that Disick's history of substance abuse does not mean an automatic custody advantage for Kardashian. While a custody decision is determined by many factors, ultimately the judge is driven by what is considered to be in the best interests of the children.

Same-sex marrige legal for military couples nationwide

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states do not have the legal authority to prohibit or refuse to recognize a same-sex marriage. This means that civilian and military same-sex couples now have the right to marry in Ohio and nationwide.

The case of a same-sex military couple was among those the Supreme Court reviewed before making its decision. An Army Reservist married a man in New York, but the marriage was not recognized in Tennessee, where the couple lives. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted that the couple's marriage rights were "stripped from them whenever they reside in Tennessee, returning and disappearing as they travel across state lines." The high court's ruling now allows that couple and all married same-sex couples to retain their marriage rights nationwide.

Deadbeat dads do contribute to their kids

A new study found that fathers in Ohio and the rest of the country are actually contributing more to the financial support of their children than the reports from the child support system show. While only 61 percent of the total amount of child support owed to custodial mothers was paid in 2011, more than half of the men in the study gave either cash or goods directly to the mother of their children.

Of the 367 fathers in the study, only 23 percent of them were paying child support through the court system. However, 46 percent did contribute, on average, approximately $60 per month in in-kind support. Although these gifts didn't count toward official child support, the diapers, school clothes and food they provided helped foster a connection between them and their children that is often absent when money is simply paid to the Child Support Enforcement Agency.

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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.