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Law Offices of Amy R. Turos.

With Declining Divorce Rates, Are There Other Estate Planning Tools For Unmarried Or About To Be Married Parents?

  • Published: March 2, 2021

In February of 2020 the U.S. Censes Bureau released information that most all states saw a decrease in marriage in divorce rates in 2018.. In Ohio, marriage rates decreased slightly from 16.5 in 2008, while divorce rates decreased from 9.9.

The U.S. Censes Bureau determined these rates nationally and by state, the Bureau looked at the number of women who were married and divorced in the past year per 1,000 people, and compared rates to 2008.

According to Stepfamily.org, Over 50% of US families are remarried or re-coupled and 75% remarry.

As the statistics show, more family members are coming from blending families. Blended families usually have children from a previous relationship or marriage. There are many estate planning tools to accommodate blended families needs.

If the parents are looking to entering into a marriage, they can use a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage to discuss their allocation and estate planning goals. In Ohio, surviving spouses have certain inheritance rights that unmarried or co-habiting parents do not. Remarrying parents needs to understand the extend of the surviving spouses rights and laws to comprehend that a surviving spouses right, might interfere with their children’s inheritance. Ohio laws vary as to which children belong to which parent. Its important to discuss all their children and the family dynamic with their Attorney so their Attorney can explain how inheritance laws are allocated in Ohio, children from a prior marriage or relationships have different rights or no rights at all. It is important to take note that both parties need to make a complete and full disclosure of all their assets in order to correctly draft a prenuptial agreement.

Another issue that gets asked at our office is about real estate. Unmarried parents and parents looking to get married need to discuss and know the extend of their real estate. Married couples have certain specific rights to the marital home that unmarried parents do not. Parents need to discuss their goals on how they want the real estate to be allocated if they are not long able to do so. Parents can address in their prenuptial agreement. In which they can layout the terms and conditions of any property or real estate prior to getting married. Children that are not born from the relationship can be protected with a prenuptial agreement unlike with the Estate Planning. With Estate Planning, the surviving spouse has certain inheritance rights and can take their elective share and non-spouses do not regardless if the parties had children or not. In the event of a divorce, the prenuptial agreement will come into play. If the prenuptial agreement is drafted correctly, it will protect your assets so that they can pass to your children.

There are community property states, Ohio is not a community property state. Clients and parents need to discuss with their lawyers what rights their children have before or after the marriage. This is also important for parents who do not wish to marry. If the parents do not wish to marry, there are estate planning tools that they can discuss with their lawyer.

The number one goal in any estate planning and/or prenuptial agreements is to protect assets. Once we figure out how we are going to protect those assets, we ask our clients how do you want your assets allocated. We also ask our clients how they want their assets allocated if their children were to pass away before them.

One of the biggest misconceptions that clients seem to have this that they feel the need to have significant assets in order to have a prenuptial agreement or an estate plan. This is simply a misconception. There are numerous estate planning and prenuptial tools that can be used with any amount and most any kind of assets.

In closing, it always best to seek legal advice before parents decide to remarry or to discuss their estate plan. There are many tools and tips that we can offer our clients to ensure that their children will be protected in the event of unfortunate event.

Amy Turos, Esq.

Attorney Amy Turos represents clients in Ohio family law,
estate planning, and motor vehicle accidents throughout Portage County,
Trumbull County, Geauga County, and Summit County Ohio.