Monday, September 24, 2012

The impact of divorce on an Ohio small business

Divorce is a hard enough process for anyone to go through and there are lots of complicated financial decisions that must be made. The money worries can multiply for small business owners who have the added worry of how the divorce will affect their livelihood.

First things first, your business will likely need to be valued in connection with the distribution of marital assets. This will mean a financial expert may need to go over the records of the company and ask questions about expenses and revenue streams. You’ll need to produce extensive documents to verify the numbers in this process. Sometimes valuations, especially complicated ones, can be expensive. Many times each party insists on having their own expert look at the books. The process can be time consuming and can serve as a distraction for employees who must spend time gathering documents.

Though the worst-case scenario in many business owners’ minds is that the company will have to be sold to pay the spouse his or her share of the marital assets, there are ways to minimize the impact of divorce on a small business.

First, hire a good attorney. An experienced Ohio family law attorney will know what to do to reduce the impact of the messy divorce process on the continued operations of your business.

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that could come in very handy. Such agreements can predetermine the amount of assets that will be distributed in a divorce and can thus protect a business from being broken up.

If you have partners, take a look at your partnership agreement and see if it addresses a way of buying out or valuing a share of the company if divorce is filed against one of the owners. While this may not control what a family court judge does, it can show that there was an intent to minimize business disruption which the court will likely respect.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have either of the two above agreements, consider hiring a joint financial expert to value the business which will save both time and money. The process will move more quickly if the two of you can agree on one neutral party to conduct the examination.

All involved parties, including attorneys and experts, can sign a confidentiality agreement to protect any sensitive information that is uncovered while examining the business’ books such as trade secrets or other proprietary information.

Finally, to minimize the risk of a sale of the company, you can attempt to structure the settlement with periodic payments to your spouse rather than a lump sum.

If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce, contact an experienced Ohio family law attorney who can help guide you through the difficult process. Count on the expertise of Twinsburg family law attorney Carol L. Gasper.

Source:How to Minimize the Impact of Divorce on Your Small Business,” by Jennifer Brandt, published at

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Benefits of Lump Sum Alimony

The family law practice area has seen the current economic climate lead to a huge increase in the number of modifications for existing child support and alimony awards. People are losing jobs, losing homes, taking pay cuts, losing bonuses and other compensation that was previously used to determine such financial support awards. This can be an especially big problem in cases where one party has received an alimony award and relies on those monthly payments to meet their basic living expenses.

If someone retires, gets injured, loses their job or is otherwise unable to make alimony payments, and your alimony is not designated as “non-modifiable” you may very well receive a discounted alimony payment on an ongoing basis or it may be eliminated all together. Even if the alimony award is non-modifiable, if the person responsible for making alimony payments loses a job and has no assets or means to pay, your chances of being able to hold someone in contempt for non-payment of alimony are slim. Given those potential concerns and the current state of our economy, those who are entitled to any form of alimony really should consider the idea of “lump sum” upfront payments so that they can avoid the issue of an alimony award being terminated or reduced based upon unfortunate circumstances arising in the future.

If there are assets, especially cash assets, available during the initial divorce proceeding it makes sense to at least consider how much of those assets could be distributed to you in a settlement in exchange for a reduced alimony payment. No one knows what the future holds and getting your money up front is a way to reduce potential risk down the road. Lump sum alimony does come with the responsibility of being smart with the money you get up front and making sure the lump sum lasts. This requires you being savvy and meeting with a financial planner or other adviser to manage your money properly.

While we’ve discussed the advantages to the supported spouse, what are the advantages to the paying spouse? First, you will have no continuing obligations to your former spouse, something many going through a divorce would welcome. Another good thing about lump sum payments are that they should reflect a reduction to account for the time-value of money. This means that the total paid would be less given that it is upfront. Another, albeit smaller benefit, is that by paying a lump sum you are then freed from the requirement of having to maintain life insurance to safeguard the alimony in the event of your death.

Though it’s not right for everyone, the old adage of a bird in hand being worth two in the bush can be true in the context of divorce settlements. If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce, contact an experienced Ohio family law attorney who can help guide you through the difficult process. Count on the expertise of Twinsburg family law attorney Carol L. Gasper.

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Treasury Department Decision May Leave Those Behind on Child Support Penniless

Monday, September 10, 2012

Child Support Amnesty Programs Offer Hope to Families Across Ohio

Thousands of Ohio families are suffering because they are not receiving the child support they are owed. These parents struggle to pay medical bills, buy school supplies and even put food on the table. On the other side of the spectrum are the people who owe thousands of dollars in back support. These delinquent parents frequently come under fire from their former spouses, debt collectors and even law enforcement agencies. Overdue child support can cause debtors to land in jail, experience wage garnishments and face other legal sanctions.

A recent article discussed a new movement in the state of Ohio called child support amnesty which is aimed at allowing these people to develop payment plans. The goal is to help both the families who rely on child support money and those behind on their payments. According to Ohio authorities, creating a payment plan prevents the issuance of arrest warrants. Obviously this benefits those behind on their support, but it also helps out those who need the money, as a parent in jail is even less likely to come up with a way to pay their arrears.

Amnesty events have begun sprouting up across Ohio and throughout the country, with some lasting for multiple days. These events allow non-custodial parents to find ways to overcome payment barriers, preventing possible legal sanctions. These events allow people to reinstate their driver's licenses so they can get to work. People can also use the events to determine paternity, apply for child support waivers and develop payment plans to clear their warrants.

The good news is that these events appear to be working. Fewer people are going to jail because of overdue child support and more children are receiving the funds their parents owe. Experts say the amnesty events will allow the state of Ohio to recover at least $2 billion in child support each year, much of which would not be collected if these events did not exist.

If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce, contact an experienced Ohio family law attorney who can help guide you through the difficult process. Count on the expertise of Twinsburg family law attorney Carol L. Gasper.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School Advice for Divorced Parents in Ohio

It’s hard to believe that school is about to begin in Ohio. The start of school also means the start of after school and weekend activities. This time of year can be particularly stressful for parents who are going through, or have recently gone through, a divorce, as the family adjusts to visitation with the kids’ new, and likely busier, schedules.

Getting a child back to school is hard enough, but if you are co-parenting with your ex for the first time it can be even harder.  Here are some tips from the Huffington Post for how to make navigating back to school more comfortable for both parents and, more importantly, the child.

The all-important backpack - If it is the first year the child is going through a co-parenting situation they may feel like they don’t have their own space. Moving from one house to another can leave them feeling insecure. Their backpack can be the one place that is theirs. Help them customize it, and assure them no matter where they go they can have it with them and whatever they chose to keep inside. This will offer some security and consistency in a changed setting.

Encourage your kids to keep it simple - Your child may not know how to explain their new situation to their friends. They may not feel it’s “normal” and they may have some degree of anxiety when families are brought up. Sit down and talk to your child, encourage them to keep it simple when explaining things to their friends and that it’s okay that they live with mom some days and dad others.

Be involved with homework - Helping your children with homework is a great opportunity for a parent. It can help you bond, and give you an opportunity to teach lessons beyond spelling. Even if you are the non-custodial parent try to see if there’s a way to stay involved in your children’s schoolwork and ask them if there is anything you can help them with when you are able.

Communicate directly with your ex – Do not use your child as a messenger to your former spouse. Not only can kids forget important details that may not be of interest to them, but it also puts them in an odd situation. E-mail can be a great medium for this, it avoids awkward phone calls, gives you time to edit yourself and provides a written record that no one can later claim that they didn’t know.

Don’t turn your child’s world into a battleground - Don’t have hand-offs at school if you know you are prone to get into a fight with your ex. Avoid making school functions stressful and uncomfortable for the child if they want both parents there. Reassuring your child that they can still have both parents involved and sticking to your word by not creating an uncomfortable atmosphere will go a long way to easing your child’s worries.

If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce, contact an experienced Ohio family law attorney who can help guide you through the difficult process. Count on the expertise of Twinsburg family law attorney Carol L. Gasper.

See Our Related Blog Posts: