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Butler County Divorce Law Blog

How to determine your home’s value

Here at the Law Office of Kristen L. Campbell LLC in Ohio, one of the things we do on an almost daily basis is to help divorcing couples arrive at a fair and equitable property settlement agreement. Usually this includes assessing the value of the marital home, which often represents the couple’s largest asset.

Assessing your home’s true value can be tricky, especially if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have decided to sell it and split the proceeds. Many factors enter into a home’s sales value, but as U.S. News reports, the sentimental value you attach to your home is not one of them. When you decide to sell your home, you must put all sentiment aside and treat the sale as the business proposition it is.

How does Ohio define nonmarital property?

If you and your spouse are about to obtain an Ohio divorce, you need to know about the difference between marital and nonmarital property. As FindLaw explains, Ohio is one of the equitable distribution states in which all your marital property must be divided between you in a fair and equitable, but not necessarily equal, manner.

Your nonmarital property, a/k/a separate property, on the other hand, belongs to you and you alone. It forms no part of your fair and equitable property settlement agreement.

The biggest hurdle in stepparent adoptions

If your partner has developed a close bond with your kids, it is natural to view adoption as a logical next step. Although your newly formed family may be ready for this change, a biological parent may stand in your way if he or she is still in the picture. Stepparent adoption results in the termination of any previous parental rights, so your children’s natural mother or father may have strong objections.

In spite of any disagreement from your former partner, the courts can still grant your current spouse the right to adopt. However, you will need to demonstrate that the biological parent has failed in meeting parental expectations.

Do grandparents have rights to their grandchildren after divorce?

As couples divorce in Ohio, the repercussions reverberate throughout generations. It is not just the kids or mom and dad who are affected by a divorce. It may be harder for kids to see cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents of the parent they do not live with. According to FindLaw, grandparents in Ohio may be granted visitation rights if they can prove they have a sincere interest in the child’s welfare.

Divorce, separation, death and annulment are all situations that may change how often grandparents get to see their kids. If the parents were never married your relationship can also be affected. As you navigate this new situation, there are some ways you can improve your relationship with your grandkids, even if you do not see them as often as you would like.

What is a QDRO?

As you and your spouse contemplate obtaining a Ohio divorce, you should pay particular attention to your respective retirement accounts and pension plans. In all likelihood, these represent significant assets and need to be divided fairly and equitably between you.

However, as Reuters explains, many pension plans require a QDRO in order to distribute pension plan payments to someone other than the person whose pension plan it is. QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and refers to the legal document the pension plan administrator must receive in order to make distributions as called for in your divorce decree and property settlement agreement. QDROs often entail highly complex provisions and language requiring the expert advice of an attorney fully knowledgeable in their vagaries.

Judge rules in favor of man's custody of dogs

People in Hamilton may tend to imbue their pets with human-like properties, referring to them as their best friends or as members of their family. While dogs, cats and other pets certainly do offer a greater level of companionship and shared affection than a standard piece of property, that is how they are viewed during divorce proceedings. Rather than rule on the custody of pets as it would with children, courts tend to determine their ownership during property division proceedings. Yet that is a principle that many have expressed a desire to see changed. 

Among those is a Rhode Island woman trying to wrest joint ownership of her two dogs away from her ex-husband. The two share the dogs, dividing time with them between their two residences. Yet the woman recently attempted to end her ex-husband's contact with the dogs after she claimed that they were injured while with him and that he deliberately hid one from her when she came to pick them up. The ex-husband responded to her attempt to keep him from seeing the dogs by filing a motion with the family court to enforce the terms of their separation agreement (which gave both the right to custody of the animals). The judge hearing the case agreed with his claim and ordered that he be allowed to take the dogs again. 

When can Ohio grandparents seek visitation with grandchildren?

When it comes to visitation, Ohio state law extends limited rights to grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren. For example, if your child and his/her spouse have denied you access to your grandchildren because of a strained relationship between you, that is not sufficient grounds on which to petition the court for visitation with your grandchildren. 

According to the Legislative Service Commission, there are only three conditions under which Ohio law authorizes granting companionship or visitation rights to grandparents:

  • When an unmarried woman gives birth to a child
  • When married parents separate or dissolve the marriage
  • When one of the parents dies

How to adopt your spouse's children

Whether this is your first time handling children or you have experience with your own, being a stepparent is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Marrying the children's parent can bring stability into the home, especially if your partner went through a divorce.

You and the children may grow very close together, and you may want to establish the relationship legally through stepparent adoption. The process is not easy, however, so it is important to know what to expect to help make things go as smoothly as possible.

The wonderful benefits of stepparent adoption

Marrying someone who already has children means you are marrying the whole family. It takes a lot of courage and love to enter into this arrangement, and it is probably those same feelings causing you to consider making the children legally yours.

Perhaps you want to be more than just a stepparent to these kids, but you are not sure it is the right decision. Consider these benefits of going through with a stepparent adoption.

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