A divorce, separation or legal matter involving children is always a difficult and emotional experience. We understand the impact these decisions have on your life and future. Our attorneys combine sincerity, professionalism and the utmost in privacy to help you navigate through this process. More than any other area of law, domestic matters often seem impossible to overcome. You can count on our attorneys to explain your options and provide you with positive choices at fair prices. We will return your calls promptly and keep you up-to-date on all time and billing. We sincerely believe that you will receive more from us than from many other firms because our skilled attorneys do not only litigate these cases, they are noted lecturers to the profession and authors in the field of family law. Less than 1% of Ohio attorneys are awarded Specialist Certification by the Ohio State Bar Association. We are proud that the partner in charge of our Domestic Law practice, Gary Okin, is a Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law.
Divorce and Dissolution
Both a divorce and a dissolution will result in a termination of your marriage, but there are many differences between the two proceedings. In a dissolution, the parties work out all of their differences regarding division of property, parenting and support prior to filing any documents with the court. The agreement is set forth in a document called a separation and property settlement agreement, which is filed with the court along with a Petition for Dissolution. A dissolution is often the fastest and most cost-effective way to terminate a marriage.
A divorce is generally a more adversarial proceeding. In a divorce, one spouse files a complaint for divorce against the other party, seeking a termination of the marriage and asking the court to resolve the issues regarding division of property, parenting and support. A divorce is generally a more lengthy and expensive process than a dissolution, and requires more court involvement. However, a divorce offers protections not available through a dissolution, including temporary restraining orders and temporary child and spousal support orders.
Our family law attorneys will discuss both divorce and dissolution with you, and will help you decide which proceeding is appropriate in your particular case.
Divorce & Dissolution Attorneys
Child Custody & Support
In the state of Ohio, child custody is referred to as the “allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.” If parties to a divorce action are unable to agree on a custody arrangement, the court will make an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities in the manner which it determines is in the best interest of the children – either primarily to one parent, who is designated as the residential parent and legal custodian of the children, or to both parents in the form of a shared parenting order.
The court is required to calculate the amount of child support to be paid by the non-residential parent in accordance with guidelines established by the Ohio Supreme Court. The guidelines take into consideration, among other factors, the income of both parents; work and education related child-care expenses incurred by either parent; or the cost of medical care, including the cost of health insurance.
Child Custody & Support Attorneys
The Juvenile Court hears matters involving unmarried parents who are unable to resolve issues regarding custody, visitation and/or the financial support of their minor children. In addition, the Juvenile Court handles matters involving unruly, abused, dependent, and neglected children. In the state of Ohio, the law presumes that the mother has full custody of a child born out of wedlock, and accordingly the child’s father must pursue his rights by filing an action in the Juvenile Court. Our family law attorneys are available to assist you in understanding the Juvenile Court system and protecting and asserting your rights with respect to these important issues.
Juvenile Law Attorneys
Domestic Violence / Civil Protection Orders
Statistics show that one out of every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Although domestic violence often involves physical violence, it can also include emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and child endangerment (which occurs when a child witnesses the violence.) Victims of domestic abuse can obtain protection orders from the court by filing criminal charges against the perpetrator, or by seeking civil remedies to obtain a civil protection order that could be in place for up to five years. In 2010, a law was passed which authorizes juvenile courts to issue and enforce civil protection orders against juvenile perpetrators in cases of teen dating violence and other domestic violence. When an incident of domestic violence occurs, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Our firm will act quickly to obtain the protection you and your family need.
Domestic Violence/Civil Protection Orders Attorneys
A legal separation is a civil lawsuit which allows parties to separate their assets and liabilities and resolve issues regarding child support and spousal support without actually terminating their marriage. Ohio law requires a six month residency requirement to file for divorce, but does not have the same requirement for legal separation. For that reason, a plaintiff can file for legal separation to obtain court orders for support, etc., and convert to a divorce action once the six month residency requirement is satisfied. A legal separation may also be an option where parties cannot divorce for religious reasons, or desire to protect one spouse’s access to health insurance coverage, life insurance benefits, and retirement accounts.
Legal Separation Attorneys
In Ohio, the Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over adoptions. Adoption is a proceeding in which a legally recognized relationship is established between a parent and a child who are not related biologically. Whether an adoption is handled through an agency or handled independently, the person seeking to adopt and the child being adopted must appear before the Probate Court for the final hearing. Persons who may adopt include a husband and wife, jointly; a step-parent; and a single adult.
All Family Law Attorneys