While most people associate the term ‘family law’ with divorce, this area of the law actually covers a wide range of matters, including everything from adoption and divorce to prenuptial agreements and alimony. Whatever the issue, family law matters tend to be complicated and emotional, making it especially important for those grappling with a child support, alimony, divorce, or custody matter, to retain experienced Canal Fulton family law attorneys who can ensure that their rights and interests are protected.
Prenuptial agreements have become one of the most popular ways for soon-to-be-married couples to ensure that they will be provided for in the event of divorce. If, for example, one person owns a business prior to marriage and wants to ensure that it would not be divided if the union came to an end, he or she could include a provision in a prenuptial agreement stating that the business would remain that individual’s separate property. Couples can also reach agreements on matters related to marital property, alimony, and coverage of expenses during the marriage. However, these agreements will only be enforced by a court if they are executed properly and are not the product of duress or fraud.
Although still permitted to file for a divorce, couples in Ohio also have the option to file for a dissolution of their marriage. Also known as a no-fault divorce, dissolutions do not require proof of fault to end a marriage, but only that they are not compatible and have lived separate and apart for at least a year. Dissolution petitions can only be filed once a couple has reached an agreement on divorce-related issues, including division of marital property and debts, spousal maintenance, and if applicable, child support and custody matters. Those who are unable to reach an agreement on these issues, on the other hand, will need to litigate those matters in court, ultimately leaving their resolution up to a judge.
In Ohio, child custody arrangements are not always part of divorce proceedings but can be initiated in their own right, a scenario that is particularly common amongst unmarried parents. Although in many cases, a child’s parents are able to reach an agreement in an out-of-court setting, in which they divide parental responsibilities and parenting time, this is not always possible. In these situations, a court would be required to step in and create an arrangement on the parties’ behalf after assessing a number of factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the distance between the parents’ residences, and the child’s attachment to his or her school or home.
Child support, on the other hand, is calculated using a specific formula that takes into account the number of children being supported, each parent’s income, and how much time the child spends with each parent. Generally, the parent who does not have primary custody of a child will be required to financially support that child. If, however, two parents share custody equally, the parent who earns the higher income may be asked by the court to submit payments that are equal to the difference in parental contributions.