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Newark OH Divorce Law Blog

Social Security and back child support in Ohio

When courts order a parent to pay child support as part of a divorce decree, they do so because they believe that, as a matter of public policy, both parents share a responsibility to contribute to their child's upbringing. Sometimes, however, a parent who has been ordered to pay fails to do so, despite the court's order. In those cases, the other parent is often left wondering how they can go about getting the back amount owed to them.

When a parent is working and not paying the required child support, the other parent can seek a wage garnishment through the court and the nonpaying parent's employer. The issue is a little more problematic if the nonpaying parent is not employed but is receiving Social Security benefits. If those benefits are from Supplemental Security Insurance, they cannot be garnished, as SSI is deemed to be welfare. However, benefits that are derived from Social Security Disability Income or Social Security retirement benefits are treated as earned income and thus are eligible to be garnished.

Moms may be less likely to pay child support than dads

When Ohio parents go through a divorce, some custodial parents may fear that their ex-spouse may not live up to their end of their child support agreement. In the past, the stereotype has remained that a figuratively large percentage of men fail to pay their child support. However, an analysis of census data reveals that female non-custodial parents are less likely to meet their child support obligations than are male non-custodial parents.

According to statistics, in 2011 approximately 32 percent of fathers who had custody of their children did not receive any child support from the mothers, whereas 25.1 percent of custodial mothers did not receive child support. Custodial mothers who did receive some form of child support typically got about 52 percent of the money owed while custodial fathers received approximately 40 percent of what was due.

Artwork as marital property

Very few Ohio couples that walk down the aisle ever expects their marriage to end. However, it does happen. When any couple divorces, they are required to divide the property that was obtained during their marriage. For artists, this can be a unique issue, as artwork created by one spouse is considered to be marital property under some circumstances.

This may come as a surprise to many artists as they often view their unsold work as their separately-owned intellectual property. However, the courts do not hold this view. Any artwork that is created during the marriage is considered to be marital property, meaning that the other spouse has some rights to the artwork and revenue from work that has been sold. If the artist fails to disclose an inventory of the work that was completed during the marriage, they could potentially risk losing some or all of their rights to those assets.

How does bankruptcy affect child support payments?

When an Ohio parent loses their job or has a change in their financial situation, a court may allow that parent to reduce the amount they owe in child support payments. Some parents may believe that if they file for bankruptcy, any back child support that they owe could potentially be dismissed. However, this is almost always not the case.

Filing for bankruptcy does not absolve a parent from their responsibility to pay child support. Additionally, bankruptcy courts cannot stop actions put forth by the other parent to establish child support obligations or to establish paternity. If a parent owes a certain amount of child support when they file for bankruptcy, they will still be required to pay any child support money that is owed. Even if the parent files a motion to modify their child support payments, the full amount of owed back child support will still have to be paid.

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.

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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.