Family Law

Termination of Marriage
The primary ways to terminate a marriage in Ohio are dissolution and divorce.  While both options terminate the marriage, the method that's right for you will depend on what you and your spouse can agree on.

Dissolution
A dissolution is the most time and cost effective avenue to terminate a marriage.  Typically, a dissolution will only take a few months and will require minimal court appearances.  Although this approach may seem more convenient, there is a catch:  you and your spouse must be able to agree on all the issues.  The most obvious issue that must be agreed upon is the decision to terminate the marriage.  If you or your spouse does not want the marriage to end, then a dissolution is not an option.  Other key issues that must be resolved include: spousal support/alimony, child support, division of assets, and child custody.  If you cannot agree on any of these issues, then a dissolution is not the appropriate avenue to terminate the marriage.

Divorce
If a dissolution is not an option, then you must file for divorce.  The courts will try to have a divorce concluded within a year. But due to scheduling, evidence gathering, and other critical issues, a divorce can last long past a year.  

Throughout the course of a divorce, issues may arise that are contested and will require hearings to resolve.  Ultimately, by the end of the proceedings, the Court will make a final determination as to division of assets, custody, child support, spousal support/alimony, and any other matters at issue.  Each case is unique.  Accordingly, the time and cost required to conclude the marriage will vary depending on the complexity of the case.

Whichever method meets your needs, terminating a marriage can be one of the most emotionally difficult decisions that you make.  But once the decision is made, it's time to begin looking towards your future.  Our knowledgeable attorneys will navigate you through the process and put the pieces in place to protect you and your family.

Custody
Your children are the most important thing in your life, and you want them to live in a place where there are in the best position to have a successful and fulfilling life.  But many times, parents can't agree where that place is and it becomes the duty of the court to make that determination.
The standard that the court will use to determine the custody will vary depending on whether it is the parents who are seeking custody or a third party.  If one of the parents is seeking custody the court will makes its determination based on the best interest of the children.  The court will look to the statutory best interest factors as well as any other evidence that it feels is relevant.  If a third party is seeking custody of the children, it will be their burden to first show that the parents are unfit. Unfitness can be shown through an abuse, dependency, or neglect adjudication in juvenile court, or by showing it through independent evidence that the parents are unfit.

In addition to determining custody, the court will also establish child support and visitation.  Although custody issues can be complex, it is important to address them head on.  Your children deserve to live where they are in the best position to succeed and you deserve to have a skilled advocate by your side to help make sure that happens.

Visitation
Just because you don't have custody of your children doesn't mean you don't deserve quality companionship with them.  There are various ways that your visitation schedule can be set up depending on the circumstances of your case.  A few of these variations include: standard visitation schedule, shared parenting, and a custom schedule.

The standard order of visitation is the traditional schedule that many people think of when it comes to visitation for the non-custodial parent.  Typically, this schedule consists of the non-custodial parent having the children every other weekend, and one night per week.  Shared parenting is more flexible and more equally divides the time between the parents and is indented for parents who can co-parent the children despite their differences.  A custom schedule is usually put in place where parents can agree to a schedule that suites the child's best interest.

The other patent may not agree with the visitation structure you believe is best.  But that doesn't mean you should simply give in, and disregard what you believe is best for your children. Our attorneys will aggressively pursue your position and fight for the visitation you deserve.

Child Support
If you have children there almost certainly will be child support involved.

Spousal Support/Alimony
In many marriages the issue of spousal support becomes a major issue that needs to be resolved.  There are several reasons to award spousal support to one party, but it’s primarily to limit negative economic consequences to one party as a result of the divorce.  Courts are concerned about this impact because often times one party will stay at home with the family during the marriage and will not have the job skills and training to obtain a job to sustain them after the divorce.  The courts will look at many factors to determine the amount and duration of a spousal support award, and it will vary from case-to-case.  Our attorneys will help you figure out where spousal support fits into your case, and how it could affect the course of the proceedings.

Parentage
If you were never married to your child or children's mother, then you must use the courts to establish your parental rights.  Most men don't realize that until the courts have established their parental rights, they essentially have no rights.  The mother of the child or children can keep you from having contact with the child and deprive you of critical companionship time.  Furthermore, the mother can obtain a child support order against you despite the fact that you do not have the right to visit your child.  It is entirely possible to spend years paying child support without the joy of seeing your kids.  Letting only one parent call the shots is not fair to you or your children.  That is why it is so important to initiate the proceedings to establish and ensure your rights as a father.

Once we file the necessary paperwork in court, the process will begin.  The court will schedule court hearings to address the issue in your case including: establishing your rights as a parent, child support, custody, and visitation.  

Often times, if the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to assist in the case.  The role of the guardian ad litem is to advocate for the children and make recommendations based on the children's best interests.  The guardian ad litem will review records, interview the children, interview the parents, view the parent's home, and conduct any other additional investigation necessary to assist the court in deciding the issues in the case.

The first step is to contact us so we can begin the process for you.  Until then, you could be missing out on many of the key moments in your children's lives.  You shouldn't have to watch your children grow up from the outside looking in. Call us today so we can help you establish your rights as a father.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders
The purpose of a protection order (a civil protection order) is to protect the victim or victims of domestic violence from the aggressor.  These orders are very restrictive and carry criminal penalties if they are violated.  If you or your family is a victim of domestic violence, a protection order may be able to give you the protection to keep you and your family safe.  On the other side of the coin, some people seek protection orders to manipulate a person or to gain a strategic position in a court proceeding.  If you are a victim of this use of the protection order, it is imperative that you have an excellent defense to avoid the potential consequences that these orders carry.  When used properly, a protection order can make a world of difference in protecting your family.  But when abused, they can be devastating to your life, job, and freedom.

Court Order Enforcement
Once a case is in the court system, the court will issue orders particular to your case such as: child support, spousal support, visitation, custody, and transfer of property.  These orders may be temporary orders during the pendency of a case or they may be the final orders.  Naturally, the court expects that the parties follow these orders, and failure to do so can result in jail time, court costs, and attorney fees.

If you find yourself in a position where the court orders are not being followed, you do have options.  We'll discuss those options with you and move forward to enforce the court orders.

If you happen to be on the other side, and you are accused of violating the court orders we can help present your side of the story and try to avoid costly court costs, attorney fees, and jail time.  Additionally, sometimes a violation occurs because the order has become unfeasible, and needs to be modified.  Get in touch with us today so we can assess the issue and help prevent any court order violations.