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Columbus Divorce Law Blog

Divorce and property division: the financial impact

Statistics indicate that divorce rates for Americans age 50 and up have increased dramatically and continue to do so, bringing to light some of the sensitive financial issues that accompany a gray divorce. While it is no surprise to Ohio readers to learn that divorce will likely have an impact on finances, they may be surprised to know that divorce is particularly unfavorable to older women. Property division, including division of retirement assets, can be a complicated and stressful process for those nearing retirement age.

Divorce always has a financial impact, but it can be disproportionately bigger for people in the baby boomer generation. Later divorces are not favorable for people close to retirement, and it is particularly important for them to take steps to protect their financial interests at this time. For this reason, statistics have found that many retirement-age women are re-entering the workforce in order to offset the financial impact of their divorces.

Avoiding unnecessary child custody litigation

When facing divorce, Ohio parents may feel overwhelmed by the thought of a costly and stressful court battle. Fortunately, it is possible for some parents to avoid litigation by working through matters with the best interests of the children in mind and with the help of an experienced legal professional. During this process, it is important to make child custody decisions with a strong future in mind, instead of temporary emotions.

Parents are concerned with protecting their parental rights, and this concern can sometimes lead to disputes over parenting time and legal custody. Studies show that children benefit when they are allowed to maintain strong relationships with both parents, and joint or shared custody can be a practical way to do this. The details of a shared parenting plan can be outlined through negotiation and by working closely with a lawyer.

Older Americans and their life after divorce

Americans aged 50 and older are choosing to end their marriages at a higher rate than younger couples, many of them facing significant financial challenges after the process is final. Divorce will almost certainly impact lifestyle choices and other matters, such as retirement accounts and the ability pay for college. All of these matters must be carefully considered during what is known as a "gray divorce."

Ohio readers know that divorce is a difficult process, and it can be particularly complicated for people who have been married for decades. Property division and alimony can be tricky issues, and many people know that they must adjust their expectations for retirement. Savings accumulated during the marriage, including retirement accounts, must be divided between spouses.

Getting a divorce: are you sure you want the house?

One of the many painful aspects of a divorce is the division of mutual assets. Very likely the most valuable asset you and your spouse had in common is the house. Deciding who gets the house and what to do with it is something that has to be thought through with care, especially if you were a stay-at-home mother who is looking at getting back into the workforce after a long time out of it.

Reasons for keeping the house

The temptation, especially if you have custody of the children, is to try to retain the house as part of the settlement. The sentiment is understandable. Divorce is difficult enough for the kids without having to move out of their childhood home as a result. Keeping the house provides a center of stability during a time that is fraught with chaos and uncertainty. Moving to a new home and possibly having to go to a new school can be traumatic for the children.

Do you have a valid claim to alimony? We can explain your rights.

One of the most commonly cited concerns during divorce involves financial matters. From child support to alimony, people are worried about protecting their financial interests and their ability to maintain continuity of lifestyle after their divorce is final. For some spouses, alimony is a critical component to their post-divorce stability and financial well-being. 

Alimony is not granted in every divorce, and it is important to clearly establish one's rightful claim to this type of financial support. If a person did not work during his or her marriage or made less money than the other spouse, there may be valid grounds for spousal support. Spousal support is taxable income, but our Ohio lawyers calculate the potential tax consequences associated with alimony to ensure that our clients are informed of all options. 

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt set to divorce

Movies would often have viewers in Ohio and across the country believe that once a couple falls in love and makes the decision to get married, a lifetime of happiness follows. However, as evidenced by the often well-publicized love lives of many celebrities, marriage is often hard work. Illnesses, children and other major life events can often play a toll on a couple's relationship. As a result, many couples decide that their best option is to seek a divorce.

Such appears to be the case for famous couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. In papers filed by Jolie with the court, the couple separated in mid-September, approximately two years after they married and over 10 years after their relationship reportedly began. The couple have six children together -- three biological and three adopted.

The changing approach to child custody

During a divorce, Ohio parents are concerned with protecting the best interests of their children. One of the most effective ways to do this is to ensure that a child custody agreement is sustainable and benefits all minor children, no matter the emotions and issues that exist between the parents. For many families, this means maximizing time spent with both parents, not just the mom.

Studies have found that children adjust more easily and navigate their parents divorce better when they are allowed to have a strong relationship with both parents. Traditionally, the mother was granted primary custody, and the dad was allowed minimal time during the weekends. However, this arrangement is becoming less frequent as many families and even state laws are changing in order to provide both parents with significant parenting time.

Child custody: Intervention is possible for parental alienation

On occasion, some divorced parents in Ohio and elsewhere seek to alienate their children from the other parent. This can occur with teenage children who are easily influenced and susceptible to coaxing by a vindictive parent. These parents sometimes convince themselves that they are not violating child custody orders, but only allowing the children to choose whether they want to see the other parent.

A custody order cannot be ignored. In general, judges will not tolerate parental alienation. In one case in another state, a mother received a suspended jail sentence for intentionally abrogating her custodial obligations by placing the children in the middle of her fight with their father by allowing them to choose when to see their father. Another mother failed to comply with a court order to facilitate psychological counseling for the child, and she was also given a suspended sentence with certain opportunities to avoid the sentence.

The ins and outs of mediation for marriage dissolution

The Hollywood version of divorce is the couple falls in love, they get married, and then something happens and they get divorced. It then proceeds to get ugly, and the uglier it gets the more entertaining it gets (although The War of the Roses may have crossed the line to unlikeable characters that ultimately deserved each other).

But in real life, irreconcilable differences may simply mean that. Different life goals, different priorities in regards to family or you find you have nothing in common once the passion cools. You don't hate each other - you just don't need to be married to each other.

The intricacies of divorce later in life

The decision to end a marriage is a serious, life-changing step, no matter the age or financial standing of an Ohio couple. Many couples are now choosing to divorce later in life, which brings to light the complexities of this legal process for two people over the age of 50. Each divorce is different, but a grey divorce typically comes with unique financial challenges.

In a grey divorce, it is possible that the couple has been married for most of their adult lives. Decades of accumulated marital property and retirement savings can make property division particularly complex. With a limited amount of time left to rebuild financial security after divorce, it is critical that these matters be approached with a realistic view of the future in sight.

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