Divorce & Family Law Attorneys Since 1971
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At Denman & Lerner Co., L.P.A., the practice of domestic relations law has been an integral part of the firm since its founding in 1971. Our firm practices domestic relations law throughout Ohio in trial and appellate courts, as well as the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Specifically, we provide legal counsel on an variety of family law matters including pre-nuptial agreements, divorce, dissolution and post-decree matters. We respect that our clients are in a time of need, and are available for free consultations in the areas of Custody, Property Division, Spousal Support, Child Support, Parental Rights, Business Valuation and Domestic Violence
Below are common questions you may find yourself asking when faced with a family law problem:
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DIVORCE AND A DISSOLUTION?
A divorce is generally where the parties do not agree and is started by filing a complaint. Dissolution of marriage is where the parties reach an agreement before anything is filed with a court.
DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE
Dissolution is a “no-fault” legal proceeding to terminate a marriage. The parties file a joint petition and a full agreement with the court and request that their marriage be terminated.
Divorce is a contested matter filed formally with the Court when a couple is unable to agree upon all of the details involved in terminating their marriage. A high percentage of divorce cases that are filed with the court are resolved through pretrial negotiations.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT MY CHILDREN WILL BE PROTECTED?
In Ohio, what used to be called “Joint Custody” is now called Shared Parenting. Shared Parenting is highly favored by Ohio Courts because both the father and mother take an active role in their children’s upbringing even though their marriage has ended. Even with Shared Parenting, a primary residence is usually selected and a companionship schedule must be entered.
Custody battles are the most destructive litigation. Before getting involved in a custody fight, be sure that you are placing your children’s best interests first and not your own.
PARENTING TIME – VISITATION
Several years ago, Ohio law replaced the term visitation with parenting time (the terms are both used and mean the same). Even when there is no dispute as to the children’s “primary household”, arriving at a schedule that works for both parents and the children is often the most time consuming part of any divorce case.
Both parties have a financial obligation to support the child(ren) in the State of Ohio. This applies to both married and unmarried parents. Typically, the parent whose home is the primary household of the children will receive some type of child support.
In Ohio, minor children, no matter how old, do not have the right to make the final decision regarding their living arrangements. However, at any age, a child’s wishes will be considered
HOW WILL MY PROPERTY BE DIVIDED?
PROPERTY DIVISION IN DIVORCE
This is one of the most common questions and must be answered in every divorce case. First your assets and debts must be identified. These include houses, pensions, businesses, stocks, household goods, bank accounts and credit cards. While property is typically divided equally, there are several ways to achieve a fair division and compromise is encouraged.
Oftentimes, married couples have “separate property” that is not included in a divorce analysis. This could include inherited property, gifts given to only one spouse and property that was obtained prior to the date of your marriage. It is crucial that these assets are identified.
HOW TO KNOW WHAT MY ASSETS ARE WORTH
While some assets are easy to value, such as bank accounts and most automobiles, evaluation of other assets, such as businesses and retirement plans, requires more complex analysis and even expert review.
WILL I RECEIVE OR PAY SPOUSAL SUPPORT (ALIMONY)?
One concern in any divorce case is the duration and amount of spousal support, which used to be called “alimony”. Spousal support is not appropriate in all cases. The length of time that it will be paid and the amount of the payment depends on several factors, including the length of marriage and incomes of the husband and wife.
TERMINATION OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT
The termination of spousal support can agreed upon or established by the court. Spousal support will generally terminate after a fixed period of time or if either party dies or the receiving party remarries.
You should be aware that a temporary decision will be made as to how the family will be financially supported while a contested divorce case is taking place within the court system. This often includes an order regarding temporary parenting and child support as well.
CAN I MODIFY THE TERMS OF MY DIVORCE AT A LATER DATE?
MODIFICATIONS AFTER DIVORCE
Most terms of your divorce will be considered final, and cannot be altered unless some type of fraud has occurred. However, any issues dealing with your children (such as residential parent, parenting schedule, and child support) are always modifiable by the court if the right circumstances exist. The burden is usually more difficult to modify an existing order.
WHAT IF I AM A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR ABUSE?
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ABUSE
There is a civil method of pursuing a domestic violence claim. It is called filing for an Ex Parte Civil Protection Order (CPO). You can file the Petition for an Ex Parte Civil Protection Order where you reside. The Protection Order can protect you and your children when appropriate.
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS AND CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS
The court can also issue restraining orders during a case which will prohibit parties from harassing each other when necessary.
HOW MUCH IS ALL OF THIS GOING TO COST?
COST OF DIVORCE/DISSOLUTION
While no one can predict how much your case will ultimately cost you, it pays to consider a dissolution as opposed to a divorce since the dissolution proceeding is generally much less expensive and less time consuming as well.
At Denman & Lerner Co., LPA, we always provide free initial consultation to persons seeking family law answers.