Monday, August 3, 2015

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Naming Your Child When You Aren’t Married

In Ohio, unmarried mothers are automatically granted full custody of a child born out of wedlock under Revised Code Section 3109.0942 until the father of that child files an action in Juvenile Court and actually obtains an Order from the Court granting him parenting time.  
This means that as an unmarried, pregnant woman you have sole legal authority and decision making power over your unborn child.   One of the first major decisions you will make for your child happens before you even leave the hospital-- the name.   Naming your baby goes beyond your favorite names in the baby book, you need to choose a last name for your baby as well.  
When faced with the question of whether to give your baby your own last name or the father’s surname, you should ask yourself one simple question:  Why give your child the father’s last name when he hasn’t given you his?
That’s right.  Don’t do it.  
It is tempting to give your child the father’s last name for all types of reasons.  You’re emotional.  You feel that it is the “right thing to do”.  It’s tradition.  Maybe you will end up together and there are wedding bells in your future.  I sincerely hope that is the case.  But if the man hasn’t married you, don’t name your baby for him.  
It is much more difficult to change your child’s last name later on with a father who protests the change than it is to change your child’s last name from yours to his once you marry.

To find out how the experience attorneys at Stafford Law Co. can help you make the best decisions for your baby both before and after the birth, and to discuss birth costs and child support, please contact us as 216.241.1074 to schedule an appointment.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Divorce Over 50


If you thought that divorce was most popular among young couples, think again.  Americans over age 50 are now more likely to be divorced than to be widowed.  More than 1 in 4 of all divorcees are over age 50.  While divorce rates overall have remained constant, the divorce rate among those 50 and older has doubled since 1990.  

Why is this happening?
1. Children 
Raising children can be one of the most rewarding (and difficult) tasks in a marriage and is sometimes the tie that binds the marriage together.  However, once children leave home, many couples are left to confront their life together, facing issues that may have gone unaddressed.  With the children out of the home, many couples can feel as if they too have grown up and grown apart. 

2. Increasing social acceptance of divorce
Most of us today know many people who have gone through a divorce.  Divorce has become more acceptable in part because more people have gone through it and experienced an enjoyable life as a divorcee.  Even protestant Christians now have the same rate of divorce as the national average, perhaps due to increased social acceptance.  

3. Extension of life
With advances in health care and medical technology, Americans overall are living longer and enjoying more active lifestyles during what used to be called the “twilight years.”  Whether an increase in the number of years ahead means more time to golf, plan for retirement, focus on the career, or something else, more people are willing to get out of a bad relationship later in life. 

What problems can arise during mid-life divorces?

Divorce can be a difficult process at any age.  However, mid-life divorces can be especially difficult personally as well as legally complex.  A late divorce can mean more marital assets and complex investments.  A couple will likely have to confront how they will divide their retirement assets.  Take on any debt to help put the kids through college?  Which spouse will assume that debt?  The most important key to a successful mid-life divorce is having an experienced attorney who can help plan for the many years to come. 

To find out how the experienced attorneys at Stafford Law Co. can help you through a mid-life divorce or to schedule an appointment, please contact Joseph G. Stafford at 216.241.1074, or visit