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Dublin Family Law Blog

Inheritance advances

A grandson borrows money from his grandmother. A daughter accepts a family heirloom necklace from her parents. A son receives his father's 1967 Mustang for his 16th birthday. All of them are advised, jokingly or otherwise, "This is coming out of your inheritance." Is this statement true? Can it, in fact, be held by a Probate Court that an heir has already received a portion of his or her inheritance?

Section 2105.051 of the State of Ohio Probate Code declares that this can be accomplished in one of two ways. First, any property given during a person's lifetime may only be considered an inheritance advancement if declared in contemporaneous writing. This means that the intent should be in writing from the time frame of the exchange. For instance, the son in the above example cannot accept the Mustang on his 16th birthday, then present the Probate Court with a document of intent dated 20 years later.

How are child custody determinations made?

What is the best interests of the child? It may be a term you have heard related to child custody and child custody determinations. The bests interests of the child standard is used to determine what child custody arrangement is best for a child and is worth parents taking the time to understand. The best interests of the child is the guiding focus whenever child custody decisions are made and involves the consideration of a number of different factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child.

There are many factors that may be evaluated to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Considerations include the physical and mental health of the parents; if the child has any special needs and if the parent is able to address those special needs; the need for a stable home environment and continuity in the child's life; religious and cultural considerations; the adjustment to school and community; the age and sex of the child; and, in some circumstances, the wishes of the child.

Divorce vs. dissolution: Which is better?

When contemplating the end of your marriage in Ohio, you have two options to choose from: file for the courts to either dissolve your marriage or grant you a divorce. It is important for you to understand the pros and cons of each choice before you pick one. 

Ending a relationship, especially a marriage, is never easy. Before you make any decisions, take some time to review the following information about divorce and dissolution

November is National Adoption Month, with a focus on teens

When prospective parents in Ohio envision adopting a child, they may be envisioning bringing home a newborn infant. However, there are many older children who are in need of a permanent home and parents, especially teenagers. In fact, currently in the United States, nearly 12,500 children in need of adoptive parents are between the ages of 15 and 17.

Unfortunately, many of these teens are not adopted, and at age 18 or 21, exit the foster care system during a point in their lives where they really need adult role models, as well as people who can provide for their emotional and legal needs. Therefore, the Children's Bureau has announced that the November 2017 National Adoption Month will focus on the adoption of teens. The theme is "Teens Need Families, No Matter What."

Family law: what are some benefits to postnuptial agreements?

While they certainly aren't romantic, prenuptial agreements are practical. They address the realistic possibility that one's marriage might not last and, should the couple divorce, they can make the divorce process run smoother as many important issues have already been agreed upon.

Of course, for a variety of reasons some couples in Ohio do not execute a prenup prior to walking down the aisle. At first this may seem to be no big deal, but if their marriage hits the rocks years down the road, they may wonder if there is any way to protect their rights. This is when they may want to execute a postnuptial agreement. Like prenups, a postnup addresses each party's financial rights and responsibilities should they divorce. There are many benefits to creating a postnup.

Estate planning is an ever-evolving process

Some people in Ohio may have a will or a trust, or may even have a more comprehensive estate plan including a power of attorney and health care directive in place. While that is all well and good, these documents may not be of much use unless they are reviewed periodically. Unfortunately, many people -- even successful business people -- execute an estate plan, and then fail to review it, which may lead to problems down the road

In fact, according to one survey, while nine out of 10 of those surveyed had at least a will, the estate plans for around 85 percent of those surveyed were over five years old. Since the law is ever-changing, particularly tax law, it is important to review one's estate plan, to ensure that any tax advantages are being taken into account.

How a pour-over will works in Ohio

Thoughtful estate planning now can save your loved ones hassle and expense down the road. If you have arrived at the stage of making arrangements, you may be considering various options.

valid will is one way to convey your wishes concerning your estate. Some Ohio residents may also want to use a living trust, which can cut down on probate procedures and afford tax benefits.

Child custody: what is 'reasonable' versus 'fixed' visitation?

It goes without saying that most parents in Ohio want to raise their child in a healthy, loving and nurturing environment. So, if a parent is going through a divorce they may fear that it will threaten the stability in their child's life. Moreover, they may want to ensure that they are able to spend enough time with their child post-divorce so that they can maintain a close relationship with their child.

However, it is not always the case that following a divorce a child will spend exactly half of his or her time with each parent. Oftentimes one parent is awarded physical custody of the child, and the other parent is awarded visitation with the child. This visitation may either be reasonable visitation or fixed visitation.

Family law encompasses a wide variety of issues

Some people in Ohio may think that attorneys who practice in family law only deal with divorces. They may be surprised to hear then that family law actually encompasses a wide variety of issues. Establishing paternity, establishing child custody and child support for unmarried parents, adoptions, legal separation and obtaining protection in instances of domestic abuse all fall under the umbrella of family law.

At our firm, attorney Ross Gillespie has dedicated his career to the practice of family law. We have represented clients not only in the divorce process, but in the dissolution process when fault is not required. We also understand that, as a person's life goes on, circumstances will change. A divorce decree that worked initially may no longer reflect a party's needs later on, necessitating a post-decree modification.

Don't rush through the financial aspects of divorce

Sometimes when a couple in Dublin decides to end their marriage, both parties want to get the matter over with as quickly as possible. However, it is important to take the time to carefully address all divorce legal issues, particularly financial issues. This is because the outcome of the property division process and any award of spousal support can last for the rest of a person's life. Therefore, it is in one's best interests to make sure they understand the decisions they are making when it comes to spousal support the division of assets and debts in a divorce.

First of all, when it comes to the family home many people may be tempted to fight for it, in part due to its sentimental value. However, this doesn't always make sense financially. Once you are the sole owner of the home, you are responsible for the mortgage, upkeep and taxes, all on one income instead of two.

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