Family law matters are difficult and emotional. Our expert attorneys handle each case with dignity and professionalism.
Family Law Attorneys Sensitive to Your Needs
More than any other area of law, domestic relations matters often seem impossible to overcome. A divorce, separation or legal matter involving children is always a difficult and emotional experience. We understand the impact these decisions have on your future and that of your children.
When you engage Dworken & Bernstein you can count on our family law attorneys to:
- treat your case with professionalism, sensitivity, and the utmost respect for your privacy and your family’s
- privacy clearly explain your options and help you evaluate each of them
- provide you with constructive, reasonable choices at fair prices
- return your calls promptly and keep you up-to-date on all time and billing
There are moments when you might want to speak with your domestic relations lawyer as soon as possible. We make every effort to make ourselves available to you, returning your calls promptly or giving you a time frame for response to your question. In the event of an emergency, we have the support in place to handle your issue when your attorney is in court or out of the office.
One of the Best Firms in Northeast Ohio for Family Relations Law
Our family relations law practice is led by Gary Okin, a Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. In the state of Ohio, an attorney must meet specific requirements in order to be awarded certification of a specialization. Certification requires a level of legal education and involvement in the field that is above and beyond that expected of most licensed attorneys. Fewer than 1% of Ohio attorneys are awarded Specialist Certification by the Ohio State Bar Association.
The family law attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein are authors in the field of family law and noted lecturers in the profession, something that sets them apart from most divorce attorneys. They are experienced and skillful family advocates in and out of the courtroom.
As always, a free consultation is just a phone call away.
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 issues 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. A divorce offers protections not available through a dissolution, including temporary restraining orders and temporary child and spousal support orders.
You may have a sense of which proceeding is right for you. Our family law attorneys will walk you through that decision to ensure that it 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; and the cost of medical care, including the cost of health insurance.
Child Custody & Support Attorneys
Juvenile Law & Child Advocacy
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 and your children’s 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. There is a six-month residency requirement to file for divorce in an Ohio court, but the same requirement does not exist 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.