Domestic and Family
Domestic Relations and Family Law encompasses a wide variety of legal concerns including: adoption, divorce, dissolution, child custody, child support, spousal support, visitation, paternity, protection orders and post-decree matters.
Dissolution & Divorce
Many individuals are not aware that there are multiple ways in which a marriage may be ended. A marriage may be legally ended in two ways: divorce and dissolution of marriage.
A divorce proceeding begins with one spouse filing a complaint. The other spouse is served with divorce “papers” and is provided time to respond to the complaint. After the complaint is filed, either spouse may request the court to grant temporary orders while the case is pending. Temporary orders may include issues related to child custody, child support, or orders requiring payment of joint debt. If both parties can reach a mutual agreement, the divorce is finalized without a trial. Otherwise, a trial date will be scheduled.
A dissolution of marriage may eliminate much of the process and expense associated with a divorce because it is an uncontested approach to ending a marriage. Unlike a divorce, the parties reach an out-of-court mutual agreement on all issues prior to filing the appropriate documentation with the court. After the dissolution of marriage documentation is filed with the court, a hearing date will be scheduled in order for the court to approve the dissolution of marriage. Both parties must appear at the hearing and testify that they are in agreement with the dissolution documentation and have made a full disclosure of their assets and liabilities. If the court is satisfied with the parties’ agreement, the court will grant the dissolution of marriage.
Ending a marriage is an emotional process for the parties involved. It is important for you to make rational decisions throughout this process. However, most individuals allow the emotional distress to overshadow their objective decision making. An attorney at Arnold & Arnold, Ltd. will advocate for you while helping you make dispassionate decisions that are in your best interest. Each situation and family dynamic is unique and an attorney will discuss the options based on your situation and determine the best path forward.
In Ohio, there are two types of child custody: Sole Custody and Shared Parenting. Sole custody is when one parent is regarded as the sole legal custodian of the child(ren) and obligated to make all decisions related to such child(ren). Shared Parenting means both parents are regarded as joint legal custodians of the child(ren) and obligated to make joint decisions related to the care of their child(ren).
During a pending divorce or dissolution of marriage case, both parties will attempt to reach an agreement on child custody without the interference of the court. However, if the parties cannot agree then a court will determine this issue based on the evidence presented during trial. The court will use the “best interests of the child” standard to make this determination. There are many factors that the court will consider in making such a determination and an attorney at Arnold & Arnold, Ltd. can discuss these factors with you based on your situation.
An Ohio child support order may be modified if there has been a change of circumstances with the child or parent and the modification is in the best interests of the child.
In Ohio, child support is determined by statute. The formula utilizes the parents’ income, child health care expenses, child daycare expenses, etc. to determine the monthly amount. It is possible to deviate from this monthly amount if a valid reason is presented to the court.
An Ohio child support order may be modified if there has been a change of circumstances with the child or parent.
Spousal support is scheduled payments from one spouse to the other after a divorce or dissolution of marriage is finalized. Generally, spousal support occurs for a specific period of time. If the spousal support is left to the court to determine, a judge will consider multiple factors such as length of marriage, age of each party, total assets, earning potential of each party in determining whether to award spousal support.
An adoption is a complex situation to handle without a competent attorney. A private adoption handled by an attorney can protect your parental rights by ensuring that such process takes place inside the courtroom and the court establishes a legal parent-and-child relationship between you and the adoptive child. We provide the following legal guidance to prospective adoptive parents:
- Advise you of the current law and your rights and responsibilities from beginning to end
- Draft all necessary court documentation to finalize adoption
- Provide in court representation at all hearings
- Ensure adoption law is precisely followed
- Draft any necessary contracts
- Ensure transfer of legal parental rights from birth parents to adoptive parents
If you are contemplating beginning the adoption process, you will want the answers to the following questions:
- What is the difference between an open and closed adoption?
- What is the difference between an agency adoption and a private adoption?
- What must prospective adoptive parents do once they have made the decision to adopt?
- What occurs throughout the process of an attorney handled adoption?
- What is a home study?
- How long does it take to finalize an adoption?