Monday, October 29, 2012

Divorce and the Trouble With Dual Citizenship in Ohio

What’s something that’s worse than divorce? The prospect of two divorces in two different countries. Red tape, bureaucracy, money, cultural differences, travel are some of the many problems faced by Americans facing a divorce in a second country.

While this may seem like a problem that affects only a small group, the fact is many may one day encounter such a predicament. If you’re a dual citizen, you or your spouse has been living abroad, you married a citizen of another country or your spouse fled the country with the kids, you too might have to go through the legal system of another country to obtain a divorce.

Given the increasing interconnectedness of the world, this is a problem that is affecting more and more people. Parental kidnappings make the headlines regularly and more and more parents are willing to fight to get the kids back in the U.S.

If you are facing a possible foreign divorce the first question to content with is where will it be easiest for you to get a divorce? Just because you or your spouse is American, that does not mean that you can file in the U.S., especially if you live abroad. The issue is not where you were born, but where you are currently living that determines which court has jurisdiction.

Though exceptions abound, a good rule of thumb is that divorce is easier to manage in the U.S. and Europe as laws tend to value fairness and equality between the parties. Laws in the Middle East and parts of Africa can be especially hard on women, making it almost impossible for mother’s to gain custody of the kids. Even this conversation about where you will divorce relies on the assumption that you and your spouse agree about where to file. If you don’t, the process becomes a race as whoever files first determines where the divorce will take place.

Property division can be another tricky issue when divorcing from different countries as property is often spread across the globe. The way it works is similar to children, the court with jurisdiction has the authority to given property to whichever party it desires, no matter what country the property is located in. If a spouse is overseas with the property and refuses to give it up, you are left with two choices: hoping that the spouse hands over the goods or showing up in their country and trying to use their native court system to force them to release the property.

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:Divorce in two countries is double the trouble,” by Geoff Williams, published at

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Father Uses Beauty Pageant As Ammunition in Custody battle

Many people in Ohio may have strong opinions about child beauty pageants. The activity has recently been prominently featured in two shows including “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” The shows often depict girls dressed up to appear more mature, singing and dancing in the hopes of nabbing a crown. The pageant world has seen a lot of bad publicity related to such shows and appears set for even more as the parents of one of the children featured on the show “Toddlers and Tiaras” are divorcing and using the pageants as part of their custody dispute.

The father of the pageant girl is basing his child custody case on his claim that the mother is harming the child by allowing her to participate in the pageant circuit. His argument has received support from a report issued by the court-ordered child psychologist in the case. The report cites findings from the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, which states that the sexualization of young girls has multiple negative impacts on the kids including mental health and cognitive development.

The suit goes on to say that several of the costumes worn by the little girl have the effect of sexualizing her. One costume in particular, that of a ‘sexy police officer’ featured the six-year-old flaunting a fake tan, an exposed midriff, dark eye makeup and lip gloss. The husband’s court filings say that the costume is meant to reflect adult sexuality and is not appropriate for a girl so young.

This case has gotten the attention of many other parents on the pageant circuit. The parents are worried that if the mother loses solely based on pageant participation that similar suits are bound to follow. The suit and the ultimate resolution could be important in raising questions about the right of parents to choose activities for their children.

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.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The special challenge of a “gray divorce” in Ohio

According to new data the trend known as “gray divorce” appears to be picking up steam. The numbers of late in life divorces in the country continues to grow and with the baby boomers aging the amount is set to rise even faster.

Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin at Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family & Marriage Research Center conducted research that indicated the divorce rate among those over 50 years old had doubled between 1990 and 2009. This shocking figure was true even for those over the age of 65, proving that it is not a phenomenon limited to divorce-prone boomers.

These same researches are predicting that the trend will only continue to escalate. The reason they cite is that those who have already been through one marriage and are now remarried are more than 2.5 times more likely to divorce again than those who are still on their first marriage.

The reasons for the increase are hard to nail down and include everything from the larger number of older people, increased life expectancy, a greater acceptance of divorce, rising female empowerment and an increased emphasis on living a happy life. Many seniors who stayed together because divorce wasn’t socially acceptable can now divorce without feeling as though they’ll scandalize their family.

For seniors, the children have almost surely left the nest, and there are no custody or support matters to grapple with. And while divorce is typically a serious and stressful experience, many seniors are discovering that divorce can be a simpler process due to the lack of contentious children’s issues.

The gray divorce phenomenon isn’t without costs, particular financial ones. The first thing to understand is that single life can be expensive. It’s not a simple matter of splitting all the bills in half. Separate households are much more expensive to run than half of a marital household. Many seniors are on fixed incomes, and it’s harder for them to recover from financial shocks. As such, divorcing seniors need to know what standard of life they can expect after divorce; and, if necessary, make financial adjustments to minimize their risks.

Beyond living expenses are the legal expenses associated with divorce. New legal documents will need to be drafted, often more than if you had divorced at a younger age. Wills will need to be redone, health directives, insurance polices, etc. Many husbands and wives name their spouse as the beneficiary of their estate, but after divorce, this will need to change. Make sure you have a skilled
Ohio divorce attorney on your side; you want someone experienced and capable of handling things amicably.

It’s also important to take stock of where you’re at financially. Who owns what? Get your name off credit cards and other debt obligations if possible. You don’t want any more ties than necessary to someone you will no longer be spending your life with. Make copies of all the financial statements you can find in the house and get comfortable with what the numbers look like. Sometimes one spouse is unaware of the real financial state of affairs and this is a good time to quickly get up to speed.

Finally, a special concern for those facing a late in life divorce involves future payments. If one party is entitled to future payments as part of the settlement (alimony, for instance), make sure that there is life and disability insurance in place to make sure that spouse responsible has the means to finish paying the obligation.

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:Financial Safeguards Needed as Senior Divorces Soar,” by Philip Moeller, published at

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Asset division can be tricky in an Ohio divorce

When it comes to separating assets, especially emotional ones, reaching an agreement that works for everyone can be tricky. For liquid items, such as bank accounts and retirement accounts, the division can be far less difficult due to a cash value already being attached to them. However, for many Ohio residents, figuring out a fair asset division when it comes to personal property can be far more frustrating.

In many cases, a couple will have acquired some unique items throughout the course of their marriage. These items can be difficult to split unless an agreement is reached. However, if both parties wish to remain in possession of the unique item and find themselves at an impasse, there are several ways in which a division can be achieved.

The easiest of all methods is to force a sale of the item and to split the proceeds. This allows each party to receive a fair share of the value of the item. However, for those who wish to keep the item, a common way to do so would be to offer to buy out the other spouse of their share. If things are extremely contentious, however, and both parties refuse to compromise on who gets the item, a judge may have to step in and determine what should happen.

Finding a fair compromise for asset division in an Ohio divorce can be difficult if the assets involved hold personal attachments to the parties. However, by seeking the proper advice and by working through the jointly held property one piece at a time, an agreement may be able to be reached. This agreement can save a lot of stress and money in the long run and can send both parties on their way to a new life in the best financial shape possible.

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 Divvy Up The Goods In A Nasty Divorce,” by Michele Bowman, published at

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Does Your Child Need Therapy Following Your Divorce?

If you’re going through a divorce in Ohio or about to begin the process and have children, one of your top concerns will likely be the impact it will have on the kids. You may be worried about what signs to watch for and what behaviors signal that your child is experiencing problems that may require professional help. The following is a discussion from the Huffington Post regarding therapy for children and when it might be appropriate.

The first thing to understand is that your child, just like you, experiences a wide range of emotions. They will have to grapple with sadness, anxiety, confusion, fear, guilt and anger. Even if the marriage was troubled and there was lots of fighting, many children still mourn the loss of their parents’ marriage.

The following are some reactions that you can expect from your child depending on their age and level of development. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but contains a sample of behaviors that can serve as guidelines and alert you when there may be trouble. The list is based on information contained in Claudia M. Fetterman’s “Participant’s Guide Putting Children First - Skills for Parents in Transition” available from the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies.

  •   Children in preschool do not understand the concept of divorce yet and may mistakenly believe they are responsible for the situation. They may become clingy, not wanting to be apart from either parent, fearing you will not return. Children this age need reassurance that you will come back. You can look for age-appropriate books that deal with divorce and help them express their feelings and worries.
  •   Elementary school children will most likely feel torn between parents, fearing they have to take sides or that they can somehow engineer a reunion. Children are old enough to experience a range of emotions including loss, anger, guilt and sadness. Parents should allow the kids to express their feelings, but be careful not to offer false hopes. Routines and schedules are important to create a sense of stability.
  • In middle school, children often look to their friends for support. They worry how the split will affect their life and may become protective over one parent. It’s at this age that acting out behaviors can occur which is why it’s so important that children express their feelings openly. Channel your child’s energy into outlets such as sports or the arts.
  • Older children of high school age will likely be concerned about money and be worried about how the divorce will make them look to outsiders. While children of this age can act much beyond their years, it’s important that parents remain parents, giving permission to the children to love both parents and working hard not to put the kids in the middle of the dispute.

In the end, you know your child. Use your own intuition to recognize if there is a problem and try not to overreact. Should you decide to send your child for therapy, use the resources in your community for help, including: social service agencies, your child’s guidance counselor, pediatricians and churches.

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:Does My Child Need Therapy?,” by Marsha Temlock, published at

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