Cleveland Family Law Services
Whether through negotiation, litigation or alternative dispute resolution, our clients can be certain that they will be advised of their rights, their risks, potential outcomes, and their options for the best legal position possible. Our Family Law Group handles:
Divorce and Dissolution
A divorce is a court case that terminates the marriage contract between two individuals. A number of issues must be settled during a divorce. These issues include a division of property, a determination of parental rights and responsibilities, and a calculation of child support and spousal support.
A dissolution also terminates the marriage contract. However, it is generally quicker, less confrontational and substantially less expensive. In the dissolution process, the parties negotiate to settle the financial and parenting issues between them outside of the court system, and then jointly file a petition to terminate their marriage with the court. This process often requires a greater degree of trust between the parties to work, but it can save tremendous amounts of money and time, and may be easier on both the divorcing parties and minor children of the marriage.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities (Child Custody)
Child custody disputes involve both who should be the custodial parent and a determination of an appropriate parenting schedule. Many factors impact a determination of child custody. These disputes are frequently the most contentious of all the issues between the parties in a divorce or post-decree action.
In Ohio, a child’s living and custodial arrangements are determined by the child’s “best interest”. Many courts now encourage shared parenting, which was formerly known as “joint custody.” In both sole custody and shared parenting agreements, detailed terms must be determined as to parenting time and the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities
Child support is based on guidelines set forth in the Ohio Revised Code. Sometimes, a court may deviate from these guidelines, such as in high income situations, where a child attends private school and tuition must be paid, or where a child has unusually high medical expenses. Understanding the nuances of child support laws can help individuals in navigating child support issues.
Spousal support, formerly referred to as “alimony,” is sometimes appropriate in a divorce or dissolution. Ohio law has no set formula for determining spousal support. Instead, it requires a number of factors be considered, such as the parties’ respective incomes, relative education levels, health, standard of living during the marriage, as well as the duration of the marriage, retirement benefits available to each party, tax consequences of an award, and any other case-specific factors a court deems to be relevant and equitable.
The parties must divide property acquired during a marriage at the termination of the marriage. Most of the time, this is a relatively easy determination of what is or is not marital property. There are exceptions, of course. Sometimes property is inherited, brought into a marriage, or the result of a gift. At times, there is a family business or a company owned by one or more parties. Sometimes the division is complex because of the high net worth of the parties. Any of these scenarios can result in a distinction between “marital property” that is divided pursuant to a divorce decree, and “separate property” that will not be divided. Our focus on business representation puts us in a strong position to advise on the distribution and division of business assets.
Very often it will be necessary to value businesses, pensions, residential and commercial real estate, household furnishings, jewelry, and other assets. Disputes can arise between the parties as to how much these assets are actually worth. Oftentimes, it is more “equitable” to divide these assets distinct from a 50-50 split. Our attorneys can advise you on the equitable considerations in the split.
Our experienced employment law attorneys give us a unique perspective into cyberbullying and harassment. We know when such actions infringe on your civil rights, when they affect your ability to perform your job duties, and when they cross into actionable criminal conduct. Our team is equipped to handle harassment cases involving:
Ohio’s domestic violence laws serve an extremely important role and are intended to provide immediate and powerful legal protection to victims, while granting due process rights to alleged perpetrators.
The result of a domestic violence proceeding can dramatically impact a domestic relations matter. A domestic violence proceeding can cut off parental rights, potentially for a long time. It is extremely important that a domestic relations party understands how such a proceeding can impact their custody matter.
When a couple has minor children, a “final” decision sometimes requires subsequent modification as families and circumstances change. In those cases, we engage in “post-decree litigation.”
Even when parenting is not an issue, other issues may arise. The most favorable settlement or court order makes no difference at all when the other side fails to abide by that decision or order. In those cases, it may become necessary to return to court to seek enforcement.
For many individuals contemplating marriage, they may want additional protection for their property to ensure that it does not become a contested marital asset in the event of divorce. We guide individuals on appropriate drafting of their pre-nuptial agreements to protect their assets and income.