Family Law Attorneys in Northeast Ohio
When a family matter arises, we are prepared to help by providing objective advice based on a thorough investigation of the facts. Our well-regarded attorneys are experienced in handling complex family law matters for individuals, corporate executives, business owners, physicians, attorneys, and other professionals.
Clients seek our attorneys because of our extensive experience in negotiating premarital and marital agreements. We are proficient in resolving complicated marital tax matters, disentangling business partnerships, business valuation, and resolving parenting issues.
We are skilled negotiators who diligently pursue all practical solutions outside the courtroom. When necessary, we are formidable trial attorneys who have earned an excellent reputation in state and federal courts throughout Northeast Ohio.
Since divorce is often associated with diminished psychological well-being in adults and in children, our attorneys work with mental health professionals in Northeast Ohio to guide our clients through the process.
A divorce is an adversarial process that is necessary to terminate a marriage or marital union when spouses cannot agree as to the division of property, allocation of parental rights, and/or support. A contested divorce generally involves issues of distribution of property, division of debt, child custody, child support, and/or spousal support. Contested divorces generally take a long time to resolve and are commonly quite expensive. However, in certain instances, contested divorces are worth fighting.
A dissolution of marriage requires the spouses to cooperate. It involves an action where the spouses agree to all aspects of ending their marriage and memorialize their agreement by entering a contract or contracts that addresses the division of property and debts, spousal support, and, if applicable, child support and parenting issues. A dissolution of marriage is generally quicker and more cost-effective. Usually, the spouses petition the court to end their marriage once the contract or contracts are fully executed, and the court holds a hearing within 90 days after the petition is filed. If the court is satisfied each spouse made a full disclosure, and each spouse demonstrates he or she voluntarily entered into the contract, the court will grant the dissolution.
Division of Property
A court enjoys broad discretion in crafting an equitable division of marital property. Despite the court's broad discretion, Ohio law requires the court to divide marital and separate property equitably between the spouses. In most cases, this requires the court to divide marital property equally between the spouses. However, if an equal division of marital property would produce an inequitable result, the court must divide the martial property equitably. The court considers the equitable division of debt in an equitable division of marital property.
After the division of property, the court determines if spousal support is appropriate. In determining whether spousal support is appropriate, and, if so, in deciding the amount of and terms of spousal support, Ohio law demands the court assume each party equally contributed to the production of marital income. Then, Ohio law requires the court to make findings of fact regarding the relative earning abilities of each spouse; the physical and mental condition of each spouse; the duration of the marriage; the parties' standard of living; and other factors to determine the appropriate and reasonable amount of spousal support.
When the spouses have a combined annual gross income of less than $336,000, child support is for the most part calculated by Ohio statute. For high earning individuals, the court exercises its discretion in calculating child support. In exercising its discretion, the court is guided by what is in the best interest of the child standard.
Child Custody/Parenting Plans
Child custody is the legal term used to describe a parent's right to make decisions about his or her child. Normally, spouses share joint legal and physical custody of their children. However, a court reviews a variety of factors when evaluating child custody and determined custody in accordance with the best interest of the child standard.
Guardian Ad Litem
A Guardian-Ad-Litem is a person appointed by the court to represent a minor child or children while a divorce or custody battle is pending. A Guardian-Ad-Litem assists the court in making custodial and visitation determinations.
If either parent subsequently intends to move outside the jurisdiction of the court, our attorneys are well-aware of the laws regarding parental relocation.
A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement is a written contract entered into by a couple prior to marriage or a civil union that enables them to select and control many of the legal rights they acquire upon marrying, and what happens if their marriage should eventually end by death or by divorce. Couples enter into a written premarital agreement to supersede many of the default marital and estate laws that would otherwise apply in the event of divorce or death. A premarital agreement is especially helpful for blended families with children from prior relationships.
Paternity refers to a body of law that defines the relationship between a father and his biological or adopted children and deals with the rights and obligations of the father and the child to each other as well as to the mother and others. Paternity might be established by (1) completing and signing an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit; (2) genetic testing; or (3) through a court order of paternity. A child's paternity may be relevant in relation to issues of legitimacy, inheritance, child custody, and child support.