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Portage County Ohio Law Blog

Mediation can help divorcing spouses when negotiations stall

Negotiating divorce settlements in Ohio and around the country involves tackling some delicate and potentially contentious matters. Discussing issues like spousal support and property division can be difficult when spouses harbor animosity toward one another or the marital estate is complex, but leaving these matters for a judge to decide involves taking risks and airing grievances in public. Resolving civil matters in court can also be expensive, but there are alternative approaches to dispute resolution that could help spouses to reach amicable agreements even in situations where protracted litigation seems inevitable.

Divorcing spouses may agree to mediation voluntarily, or it may be ordered by a judge. Courts are more likely to order mediation when young children are involved and divorcing spouses are unable to reach an agreement concerning custody and visitation. Judges see mediation as being particularly useful in family law disputes because the parties involved will often continue to have a relationship after their legal issues have been resolved.

Three sisters and one man arrested on drug charges

Four people in Ohio were arrested on March 20 on a number of drug charges. Three sisters, all from Hartford, and a man from Hawkesville, Kentucky, were arrested together at a Hartford home by local police. The four were arrested after detectives in the area found the man, 40, who was wanted on the basis of two outstanding warrants. While tracking his location, they found that he was inside a home located on U.S. 231.

When police arrived at the residence, they say that the people who live there gave them permission to search the area. The Kentucky man was reportedly found in the crawl space of the house. In addition, police say that they found a large amount of methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a loaded handgun inside the house. The four people were arrested and taken to the Ohio County Detention Center; while county sheriffs led the operation, the Hartford Police Department and Kentucky State Police were also involved.

Key aspects of Ohio child support modifications

Proper parental arrangements are critical to maintaining a balance for a child after divorce or separation. As circumstances change, parents may seek modifications to the agreement.

In order for modification requests to be successful, it is important to follow the procedure correctly. There are a few key aspects to be aware of in regard to child support modifications in Ohio.

Dividing retirement accounts and pensions

According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, splitting retirement accounts is the second most contentious issue for divorcing couples. This is understandable as many retirement accounts can become major assets. When these funds are split, Ohio couples will need to follow certain regulations in order to avoid having to pay tax and penalties on the distribution.

For a 401(k) or pension plan, they will need a document known as a qualified domestic relations order. A lawyer should prepare this document. The plan's administrator must approve it, but the couple should also review it to ensure that everything is consistent with the divorce agreement. A spouse can receive the distribution directly or roll it into an IRA. While there will be a regular income tax on the direct distribution, no penalty will be accessed.

How to lower your chances of getting stopped by the police

Getting pulled over by the police isn’t completely unavoidable. However, a police officer can’t just pull you over on a whim. They need to have a reasonable reason—known as probable cause— to stop your car.

Regardless of whether you’re engaged in an illegal activity, there are certain behaviors that can make you appear more or less suspicious to the police. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re behind the wheel:

Are Ohio traffic tickets a big deal?

Traffic tickets are a nuisance for drivers. Many times, their issuance seems unfounded, with police officers nitpicking violations to justify the ticket or getting the facts wrong. Other times, drivers may very well deserve them. Either way, though, the easy way out is to just pay the ticket to make it go away.

However, that may not be the best choice. Traffic tickets, even the for the most minor of infractions, have unforeseen consequences. Understanding what they are can help you to determine, with the assistance of a lawyer, how you should respond to the ticket.

The holidays are over. Now, I want a divorce!

It can be especially difficult to say the words "I want a divorce" over the holidays. If you did, more power to you. If you didn't, now may be the time to put an end to your misery.

In either case, there are benefits and disadvantages to asking for divorce over the holiday season. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of seeking a divorce around the holiday season.

What happens if you get an OVI in Ohio?

Before you down too many drinks at all the holiday parties you attend this month, be aware of the consequences of getting behind the wheel afterward. In 2016, Christmas had the most alcohol-related fatalities of all holidays, reports the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the month of December had the most drunk-driving accidents leading to property damage. Furthermore, most alcohol-related crashes occurred between the hours of 8 PM and 4 AM.

Portage County alone had 187 crashes, leading to five deaths last year. With lives at stake, operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs is a serious offense. Do not underestimate the penalties you will face, whether or not you receive an OVI conviction.

Top 3 reasons you might want a postnuptial agreement

You might assume pre and postnuptial agreements are only for super wealthy celebrities, but this assumption can be harmful to your financial future. If you and your special someone ever separate, your property, debts and personal belongings, such as jewelry, might be at risk of property division. Perhaps you decided to forego a prenuptial agreement but are now worried about the outcome of a potential divorce.

This is exactly why post-marital contracts exist. A postnuptial agreement is essentially the same thing as a prenuptial agreement, except it is created and signed after you say "I do." But how can you be sure you need one? Here are some reasons you might consider a contract after marriage: 

Do you need to modify your divorce decree?

Circumstances in life change, sometimes dramatically, and a situation that existed when you divorced may no longer be true or viable. When a change becomes necessary, you can take steps to modify your divorce decree, and your attorney can help with the process.

A petition for modification to the terms of your divorce must go through the court system, and you will need evidence to back up your request.

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