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Family Law FAQ

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The information below is general and based upon current Ohio law. If you wish to learn how the laws apply to your situation and what will happen in your case contact our Warren County family law attorney for a free case evaluation.

1. My child is X years old so they can decide where to live?

No matter what the age of a child if they are a minor they are never allowed to “choose” which parent to live with, however, the older the child the more weight a court may give to the child’s desires.

2. If I quit my job I won't have to pay child or spousal support?

The basis for modifying support levels can be found here, but suffice to say that a person who intentionally manipulates their income is going to end up paying the same levels as if they have the income.

3. If I have shared parenting I will pay/receive less child support?

The fact that the parties enter into a shared parenting agreement in and of itself does not relieve the court from calculating child support on the basis of the state mandatory guidelines. The actual time with the child as set forth in the shared parenting, however, may lend itself to having a modified amount based upon the reduced and/or shared expenses of the parties.

4. We have only been married 1 year therefore I do not have to pay or can not receive spousal support?

While the duration of the marriage plays a part in the award of spousal support it is not the determining factor. Shorter term marriages are less likely to receive orders of support because the people involved in the marriage have not relied on one another’s income for very long.

5. I have only been married a month, I want an annulment.

The grounds for annulment do not include the length of the marriage. It makes no difference how long you’ve been married. Even if you were married one day, if you do not qualify for an annulment the court cannot grant one.

6. We just divide in half, right?

Wrong, while a fifty-fifty division of the marital estate is a starting point for the court, the court is directed to divide the marital estate in fairness, which may or may not lead to an equal division of the marital estate.

7. Throughout the marriage we maintained everything separate, separate accounts, separate credit cards, etc.

A discussion of the division of marital property can be found here. The fact that the parties maintained “separate accounts” and/or debts does not necessarily mean they are not part of the marital estate and if they are the court may divide them any way it sees fit. The easiest way to think about this is if the item in question is part of the marital estate then the terms “his” or “hers” have no legal significance.

8. Courts favor the woman in custody disputes.

Historically this may have been the case, but it reflected more on the reality that mothers were the primary caretakers of the children. Today that is not always the case and the law is very clear that the determination of custody must be gender neutral. A full discussion of factors involved in custody decisions can be found here.

9. My spouse behaved badly (committed adultery, abandoned us, etc.) I can get more for that, right?

Generally, this is wrong, while there are grounds for divorce based upon the bad behavior of one party, the reality is that poor behavior in the marriage will take a back seat to other principles surrounding the division of the assets, debts, and custody.

If the bad behavior somehow impacted on these decisions such as, spending a portion of the marital estate on a girlfriend/boyfriend or exposing the children inappropriately to the extra marital relationship or abandoning in whole all financial responsibility for the family. These factors may have some bearing, but the mere fact that someone behaved badly generally will not make a difference in the distribution of assets and/or custody of the children.

10. I paid for everything during the marriage he/she is entitled to nothing.

The manner a court divides the marital estate can be found here. Suffice to say while some people still believe this statement, it is far from the truth.

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