Greg R. Lewis, Esq. - Harry Lewis Co., LPA


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Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Blog

Divorcing business owners must understand their business's worth

When business owners face divorce, it can significantly complicate the property division process and pose serious threats to the wellbeing of the business itself. Depending on factors such as the spouse's level of involvement in the business, when the owner founded or acquired the business or terms established in a prenuptial agreement, it may be an asset that faces division like the rest of the couple's marital property.

The divorce process is rarely simple and may turn into a protracted and frustrating battle without a common understanding both parties share. Businesses are not simple assets like savings accounts or material possessions. They also include significant liabilities and interdependent relationships with other owners, employees, other businesses and customers. It is very important for both parties to truly understand exactly what the business is worth.

Is financial security possible after divorce?

You might have heard a horror story or two about someone who divorced and lost nearly everything. From the contents of the family home to the property itself to the retirement funds, everything went to the other spouse in the divorce.

Further questioning, though, leads to more information about how this might have happened and why. Perhaps the person decided to pursue his or her best interests in court without an attorney. Maybe all he or she wanted at the time was sole custody of the couple's children. In many cases where one spouse ended up with more in a divorce that contained a lot of complex property matters, there is a good reason why that happened.

Questions you and your ex should ask when making a parenting plan

A parenting plan is a bit different than a custody agreement. If you're both going to have custody rights, the parenting plan helps you make joint decisions about how you're going to raise the child, streamlining the process.

As you and your soon-to-be-ex work out the details, here are some questions you may want to ask. Decisions can be included in the parenting plan so that neither one of you does or allows something that the other would have forbade.

  • Are you going to get the children all of their vaccines? This can be a highly controversial topic if you don't agree.
  • What type of pick-up and drop-off schedule should you use?
  • How far in advance does a parent have to plan a vacation? Does the other parent always have to know if the kids are going on a trip?
  • What are you going to do during school vacation periods? The kids may be off for three months in the summer, but that doesn't mean your work schedule changes.
  • What types of other childcare options can be used? For instance, do you want to have a list of approved babysitters?
  • What rules to you want to lay down for future relationships? When can the kids meet someone new that you're dating?
  • What types of discipline are you going to use, and what types are you strictly against?
  • What types of rules do you want to have for things like cellphones, internet use, tattoos, hair styles, video games and more?

If you've done this, it's time to file for divorce

If you have made the decision to divorce, you have already made a huge step toward a new future. But, now that you have decided, there are a few things you need to do before you actually file for divorce. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as signing a few papers and going on your way. Divorce requires planning and preparation so that you can walk out of the final divorce proceedings ready to start your new life.

While your specific circumstances will dictate exactly what you need to do, it is always beneficial to have a guide to start with. Use the following tips to make the proper preparations before you file for divorce.

New debt and intentional waste of marital assets impacts divorce

Divorce has a tendency to create huge amounts of stress and lead to emotional, irrational behavior. Otherwise decent people can behave in downright inexplicable ways. The greater the overall assets from your marriage, the more likely that your divorce could end up dragging on for some time. You and your spouse may simply be unable to agree to terms for asset division regarding the divorce.

In that scenario, the courts will step in and handle the asset division process. Knowing that the courts will review financial information and divide all marital assets can spur some people to make questionable decisions. Some people may attempt to hide assets, like savings accounts or valuable possessions, from their spouse or the courts. Other people may decide to spend as much as they can before heading to court.

The difference between legal and physical custody

Child custody comes has two primary aspects, physical and legal custody. It's critical to know the difference between the two when considering a divorce involving minor children.

As the name suggests, physical custody involves where the child lives and who is physically with the child. Often, this is what people think of when considering custody issues for the first time. Physical custody arrangements can be sole custody, with the child only living with one parent, or joint custody, with the child splitting time between both homes.

When ending your marriage, update your estate plan

You and your spouse worked hard to get an estate plan in place well before you needed it. You knew how important it was.

However, now you're getting divorced. Don't forget to update that estate plan as soon as possible.

Do those in the spotlight fail to be honest about relationships?

Many high asset divorce cases involve those who are, to one degree or another, in the public eyes. They're in the spotlight, so to speak.

The most obvious example would be celebrity couples, but this goes far beyond movies stars and pop singers. It includes politicians and business owners. They're involved with the upper crust and they have famous friends. They're in the public eye due to their wealth and influence, whether they're local business owners, investors or something else entirely.

You should review and amend your will after a divorce

If you're facing a divorce or recently survived one, then it is time to review your will and make sure that you've addressed any issues that the divorce may raise. If you do not choose to make this a priority, your wishes may get misinterpreted when it is time to honor your will's terms.

Divorce often restructures your family dramatically, on both personal and legal levels. Suddenly, the spouse you planned to build a life with, or perhaps did build a life with for many years, is no longer legally family. This may greatly change how you wish to distribute your assets and establish your legacy, which means it is very important to make any necessary changes in writing as soon as possible.

How Do We Divide Our Debt In Divorce?

During a divorce, most couples focus on the assets and forget about marital debts. Debt is such a contentious topic, and it triggers all kinds of emotions and misunderstandings.

In Ohio, all the debts belong to both parties, and the separating couple usually splits them equally. However, there are other approaches to the division of debts to consider as well.

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