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9th District overturns spousal support award

A Medina County Domestic Relations Court erred by ruling a couple’s lifestyle during their marriage rendered their prenuptial agreement unconscionable at the time of the divorce, the 9th District Court of Appeals recently ruled.
Case summary indicates Barbara and Shane Vanderbilt married in 1999 after dating for years. The ... (full story)


Ohio adds 2 charter schools to misconduct inquiry

COLUMBUS (AP) — The state said Tuesday its inquiry into alleged misconduct inside an embattled charter school chain has expanded to two additional Ohio cities, even as hundreds of parents and alumni descended on the state capital to share their positive experiences at the schools.
The Ohio Department of Education was alrea ... (full story)



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                            [headline] => 9th District overturns spousal support award
                            [body] => A Medina County Domestic Relations Court erred by ruling a couple’s lifestyle during their marriage rendered their prenuptial agreement unconscionable at the time of the divorce, the 9th District Court of Appeals recently ruled.
Case summary indicates Barbara and Shane Vanderbilt married in 1999 after dating for years. The couple’s prenuptial agreement included a mutual waiver of spousal support in case of divorce.
In 2009, Barbara filed for divorce. The trial court awarded spousal support to her of $3,500 a month for 49 months, noting a return to her prior living standard would be a hardship.
Shane argued the trial court did not consider that the couple’s circumstances did not change enough during the marriage to relieve Barbara of her spousal support waiver.
Throughout their relationship, Barbara worked full-time for a county agency with no-cost health benefits and owned a modest home that she shared with Shane. She continued to work there throughout the marriage and after.
She later sold her premarital home for $60,000, using that money to help pay for her children’s college education, an extra car and some living expenses.
In a 3-0 opinion, the 9th District agreed that Barbara’s employment and earning capacity has not changed enough to warrant deviating from the prenuptial agreement.
“Wife did not invest her own financial resources or sacrifice her career to benefit Husband’s business interests, and she has no barriers to continued employment in the same capacity that she enjoyed before and during the marriage,” 9th District Judge Jennifer Hensal wrote. “Although Wife maintained in the course of the previous appeal that she made significant indirect contributions to Husband’s success, this Court rejected that position in light of the prenuptial agreement.”
The appellate court also noted that the wife’s standard of living changed over the course of the couple’s long relationship – not just during the marriage.
“Due in part to Husband’s higher income, the couple enjoyed a higher standard of living than Wife did on her own, but the record indicates that the higher standard of living was established before the marriage,” Hensal wrote. “In other words, Wife enjoyed a higher standard of living as a result of her relationship with Husband at the time that she executed the prenuptial agreement. It was neither drastic nor unanticipated, but was, instead, part and parcel of the couple’s lengthy pre-marital relationship.”
The judgment awarding spousal support was reversed. Appellate judges Beth Whitmore and Carla Moore concurred.
Vanderbilt v. Vanderbilt is cited 2014-Ohio-3652.

[teaser] => [byline] => TRACEY BLAIR
Legal News Reporter [section] => Local [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-22 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-22 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-22 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => Y [export_date] => 2014-09-19 [created_at] => 2014-09-19 07:30:30 ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 11199 [headline] => Ohio adds 2 charter schools to misconduct inquiry [body] => COLUMBUS (AP) — The state said Tuesday its inquiry into alleged misconduct inside an embattled charter school chain has expanded to two additional Ohio cities, even as hundreds of parents and alumni descended on the state capital to share their positive experiences at the schools.
The Ohio Department of Education was already investigating a Dayton-area Horizon Academy after teachers there shared accounts in July of sex games, test tampering and other potentially criminal misdeeds.
Spokesman John Charlton told The Associated Press on Tuesday that after that meeting the state received additional complaints about schools in Columbus and Cincinnati run by the same operator, Chicago-based Concept Schools. Both the complaints were against Horizon Science academies, he said. One was unsolicited and the other resulted from a department request that any issues at the schools be brought to the state's attention.
Salim Ucan, a Concept Schools vice president in Columbus for a rally of advocates, said the company was unaware until Tuesday that additional complaints had been added to the state's review.
"We will definitely look into them and take it seriously, as we have in the past with all of these other allegations," Ucan said. "Some of them were really easy to dispute, but we still took them seriously."
Officials at a Cleveland school have also been questioned.
Charlton said the complaints have been referred to the appropriate regions for further review.
"What we did with those complaints or allegations was we matched them up with the appropriate office at their Department of Education, where they've contacted teachers and others for more specific information," he said.
Charlton said those referrals would not be described as part of a formal investigation. He said the department cannot always divulge the launch of such a probe, such as in cases involving test-tampering.
News of the expanded review came as an estimated 400 supporters of Horizon and Noble academies were in Columbus to rally at the Statehouse and deliver public testimony at the state school board's monthly meeting.
Blue Ribbon Friends, the coalition of parents, teachers and other supporters of the academies, organized the events. A spokesman said the group believes issues at Concept Schools are being used by charter school opponents, including teachers' unions, to turn back school choice in the state.
Democratic state Reps. Mike Foley and Robert Hagan also testified before the state school board, questioning who was paying Blue Ribbon Friends and whether Tuesday's events involved any public money.
Ucan said the company has always worked with public relations firms, and gave this particular contract to an Ohio company.
"Our parents are here to let their voice be heard, that there may be a few former teachers complaining and bringing up the allegations and accusations, but there are hundreds more — if not thousands more — who could share the opposite of what's been presented and portrayed over the last few months," he said.
Among them was Olivia Reine, whose grandson attends the Horizon Academy in Dayton. Reine said she couldn't be happier with the school, its teachers, administration and curriculum.
"I'm engaged, I'm watching and I like what I see," she said.
The FBI is investigating charter schools in several states, including four Concept Schools locations in Ohio, which critics allege are associated with the influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric and Turkish scholar Fethullah Gulen. Among allegations are sexual misconduct, test tampering and misuse of public funds. Gulen lives a reclusive life in Pennsylvania.
Concept Schools, which operates 17 public charter schools in Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Lorain, Springfield and Youngstown under the names Horizon Academy and Noble Academy, claims it has no affiliation with Gulen and his religious and social movement, often called Hizmet.
Ucan objected to Concept Schools being characterized as "Gulen schools." He said they're public charter schools.
"The only connection to Gulen is that some of the founders of Concept Schools, including myself, at a personal level had been and have been inspired by his ideas, which are not much different than Horace Mann's ideas about education," he said. Gulen teaches that education brings out the good in people so everyone should be educated and that education can serve as an antidote to violence, he said.
Ucan said Gulen's philosophies aren't promoted at any of the schools.
[teaser] => [byline] => JULIE CARR SMYTH
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