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How to explain a shared custody arrangement to your kids

Now that the divorce is finalized, it's time to focus on your children. Where will they live? Who will have custody of them? How will the holidays be handled? These are all important questions that must be answered as soon as possible by you and the other parent. One solution is to come to an agreement on shared custody, especially if the two of you are civil enough to make it work.

Schedule time to inform your children all about how custody is going to be handled. This should be a family meeting that involves all of the children and both of the parents. Make sure there is enough time set aside so that you do not rush through this conversation.

You're never too old to establish an estate plan

Contrary to popular belief, you are never too old to establish an estate plan. It doesn't matter if you are 18 or 81, 25 or 95, 30 or 100; age does not matter one bit when creating an estate plan. In fact, if you have the opportunity to create your first estate plan at the age of 90, do so. Protecting yourself, your assets and your loved ones is important no matter your age.

One thing to keep in mind is your ability to make decisions. This ability might diminish as you get older because of various medical conditions. In order to create an estate plan, you need to be of sound mind, which means you must be coherent enough to make decisions on your own. This is why most estate plans are created at younger ages.

Your job offer would necessitate child custody modification

The good news is that you have been offered a promotion with more responsibility and a higher salary.

The not-so-good news is that the job means moving from Toledo to Cincinnati, requiring modification to your existing child custody agreement. What will the court say?

Don't forget some important post-divorce tasks

Divorce can be overwhelming, from the day of filing through the day an Ohio judge approves the dissolution. And once that final decree is issued, you might just want to take some time to yourself and begin the emotional process of moving on.

There still are some very important details to take care of, however.

  1. Name change. If you are a woman who has told the court she wants to return to her maiden name, you will need a certified copy of the divorce judgment. That will be required to change your driver's license, Social Security records, credit cards and any official documents.
  2. Retitling of property. If you were awarded the house, cars or other property that has a deed or title, you will need to have that document changed. For your house, that could require a "quit claim" deed, and your mortgage could have to be refinanced. Cars, boats and motorcycles can be retitled at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Don't forget to remove your ex from your vehicle insurance policies.
  3. Medical insurance. If your spouse is on your medical insurance, be sure to take them off the policy by notifying your carrier. If your spouse carried you on their insurance, then you must secure your own through your employer or your state or the federal marketplace. A divorce is a qualifying event that will allow you to enroll outside of open enrollment.
  4. Open individual bank accounts if you haven't done so already. Make sure all joint accounts are closed, including credit cards. You don't want your ex to pile up debts in your name.
  5. Change your beneficiaries and update your estate plan. If you don't do so, your ex-spouse could gain the proceeds of your retirement accounts, life insurance and other accounts, and also could be the person who holds your power of attorney and medical directive. Also, be sure to appoint a new executor if that was your spouse.
  6. Change your passwords, and don't reuse those your ex-spouse might now. Come up with something creative for your email, social media and such. Have fun with it and reflect your current mood. How about "freshstart2019"?

Getting ready to write a will

Writing a will can seem like a daunting task. Not only does it force you to think about death, but it also makes you consider how you want to leave your assets to your loved ones. It is essentially your last statement to your family and friends. 

While you can (and should) update your will during your lifetime, it is a good idea to make it as accurate as possible the first time around. Follow these guidelines to better ensure you create a will that is accurate and enforceable in court.

Ohio official wants changes to safety law for amusement rides

Ohio's director of agriculture is proposing new rules for amusement rides operators and manufacturers, nearly two years after a deadly accident at the Ohio State Fair.

In July 2017, the Fire Ball ride broke apart on the first day of the annual fair. An 18-year-old man was killed after his seat unhooked from the ride, and he was sent plummeting to the ground. A 19-year-old woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being thrown from the ride died a year after the accident of an illness she contracted in the facility where she lived.

Can passengers in my car drink alcohol while I drive?

Shouldn't passengers in your car be able to drink alcoholic beverages? Unfortunately, even though they are not directly operating your car, because of Ohio's open container laws, passengers in vehicles cannot consume alcoholic beverages. Open container laws prohibit the transportation within your vehicle of any open containers of alcohol.

There are only a couple of exceptions to this rule. If the alcohol is a bottle of wine, you can carry it in the trunk if you have recorked or or replaced the cap on the bottle. Also, in some cases, people who hire limosene drivers and chauffers may drink in the backseat of vehicles, if they have signed a contract on the matter in advance.

Crash at motocross event injures 7 near Akron

Seven people suffered injuries recently during a motocross event at the Summit County Fairgrounds near Akron.

Two people were reported to have serious injuries they suffered when a motorbike went airborne and wound up in the stands at the fairground, police said.

Young parents, new baby: The perfect time for estate planning

Someone close to you has just had a baby. Congratulations! Maybe you're now Ohio's newest grandparent or an uncle, trying to find the perfect gift to welcome the baby to the world.

Instead of a stroller or a stuffed animal, how about helping the new parents create an estate plan?

Ohio bankruptcy laws: What you should know

Filing bankruptcy is not a decision to take lightly. It means your debt is insurmountable and will not go away in continuing circumstances.

When you decide you need to stop the collection calls and certified letters, bankruptcy may become the answer. The laws in Ohio classify bankruptcy in different categories. Do you know which one is right for you?

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