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Cincinnati Legal Blog

Protecting your finances in a divorce

Many marriages in Ohio end because of money troubles, and these financial burdens often carry on through divorces. One of the many reasons for this is that couples do not discuss their financial objectives before getting married. Preventing financial catastrophe when going through a divorce requires careful planning and discussion. Obtaining financial counsel from an expert or nonpartial third party can often produce better results.

Prenuptial agreements are a useful tool for protecting finances in the case of a divorce, yet a very small minority of American couples decide to use this resource. In addition to protecting each person's assets, these agreements can give each spouse the opportunity to hash out all financial disagreements before forming a legally binding partnership. By bringing all financial issues to the surface before tying the knot, problem areas can be resolved.

Did you know Ohio's child custody formulas are changing soon?

Acting as your child's primary caregiver is difficult enough after a divorce, but doing so without sufficient support can be even harder. However, things are set to change soon. Starting in April 2019, a new law will make it easier for custodial parents to not only receive an adequate amount of child support, but to also receive it in a timely, consistent manner.

Financial stability after a divorce is often the key to success for divorcees and their children alike. However, you already understand that ending a marriage can negatively affect virtually anyone's money situation. This is why post-divorce payments -- such as child support and alimony -- are so important. However, since only 30 percent of Ohio families who are supposed to receive $75 or less in child support every month ever get anything, a change was certainly in order.

Facing the holidays after divorce

Ohio readers know that the holidays can be stressful during the best of times. However, they are especially difficult for families who are dealing with separation or divorce. Not only can this time of year make the feelings of loss associated with divorce more acute, but those intense emotions can make it even harder for parents to decide when and where their children should celebrate the holidays.

According to family experts, parents should try to focus on what's best for their children at all times. They should do all they can to put aside any negative feelings toward their ex and make decisions that will help their kids feel safe, loved and supported. For instance, a parent should never deny his or her ex the opportunity to see the kids over the holidays just to get back at them. This sort of behavior is counterproductive and ends up hurting the children. It is also important for parents to talk to their ex about the holidays and develop a clear plan that they both can follow. This plan should then be communicated to the children.

Documentation is key to getting custody of a child

When a couple in Ohio gets a divorce, state law will likely play a role in determining who gets custody of the children. If there are reasons to believe that a child is in danger while spending time with a parent, the other may be given emergency custody. Parents who are seeking any type of custody of their children are encouraged to take notes and have other forms of documentation ready.

For instance, a statement from a child's teacher or a neighbor may be useful in a custody proceeding. It could show that a parent has a drinking problem or is physically abusive toward a person's son or daughter. Such information could be especially useful if a parent doesn't have a criminal record. Absent a conviction, authorities may be limited in what they can do unless there is other evidence of abuse or neglect.

The duties of an estate executor

An Ohio resident who is creating an estate plan might wonder what kind of tasks the executor will have. Duties of an executor include locating assets, arranging to pay estate taxes and distributing property to beneficiaries. To make the job easier, an estate owner may want to work with the executor to ensure that all paperwork is in place.

Being an executor can mean having significant responsibilities. Executors should know where important documents are located. This includes not just the will and other legal documents but also paperwork such as income tax returns, insurance records, birth certificates, marriage certificates and more. If documents are digitized, executors need to know how to get access to them. They may also need contact information for various people associated with the estate, including attorneys and financial planners. If the estate owner is healthy and anticipates living for many more years, there should be an ongoing conversation with the executor about any changes made to the plan.

Pros and cons of birdnesting after divorce

Some parents in Ohio who are getting a divorce may have heard about an arrangement known as "nesting" or "birdnesting." This is when children continue living in the family home while their parents take turns staying there.

Most experts advise that nesting is generally beneficial only if the parents are amicable, and the arrangement lasts for just a short period of time, such as three to six months. Birdnesting can offer children a stable adjustment period in which they do not have to make too many changes at once. However, experts caution that relying on this schedule for a longer period of time can lead children to believe that their parents are working on reconciliation. It can also create a strain for parents who are still forced to share living spaces, even if it is not at the same time, leading to additional conflict.

How can your estate plan reduce conflict among your kids?

Estate planning is a process every Ohio adult should consider. You may have put it off for some time, but now that your children are grown and you are getting older, you think that the time has come to organize and legalize your end-of-life wishes. Getting started is often the most difficult part, so you should feel proud of yourself for choosing to move forward with planning.

Though you love your children a great deal and are proud of the adults they have become, you may still worry that they will fight over your estate. Creating a plan in and of itself can help reduce the chances of conflict, but you may want to consider including specific details in your will and other documents.

The complex web that is Stan Lee's estate

Fans of many iconic fictional superheroes in Ohio and around the world are mourning the recent passing of writer, editor and publisher Stan Lee at the age of 95. When it comes to Lee's estate, there appears to be a tangled web of complexities that would even present some challenges for Spider-Man. While often a spouse would handle estate matters, Lee's wife passed in 2017. Also, the former Marvel chairman was accused of sexual harassment by nurses and home aides, and he made claims about money being missing from his bank accounts.

It's not known what the extent of Lee's estate planning efforts were or if he had a will or any trusts set up. The complex part of what's going on with the prolific writer's assets centers around the fact that he worked with and severed ties with several business managers and lawyers over the years. Lee himself had commented about mistakenly letting some people manage his money who weren't trustworthy.

Divorce and hidden assets

People in Ohio who are getting a divorce may be concerned that their soon-to-be ex-spouses are hiding assets. Individuals who are already divorced may share the same concerns about their ex-spouses. However, a thorough examination of the schedules that were filed with their joint federal tax returns can provide clues about any assets that may not have been reported.

On the Schedule B form, the names of brokerage companies, banks, mutual funds and any other sources of interest and dividends have to be provided. Foreign trusts or financial accounts also have to be accounted for at the bottom of the form.

The benefits of a silent trust

Ohio residents with large estates may consider using silent trusts if they want to keep their amount of wealth private. A silent trust differs from a traditional trust because the trustee does not regularly keep beneficiaries informed of the assets until authorized by the document.

The beneficiaries of a silent trust are named in the documents just as they are in a traditional trust. However, the amount of information distributed to beneficiaries by the trustee may vary.

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Kroener, Hale & Penick Law Firm
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Batavia, OH 45103

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