Trusted Family Law Attorneys
Southern Ohio’s Complete Family Law Practice
West Chester Family Lawyer & Divorce Attorney Services
Nothing is more important to you than your family. That’s why family disputes like divorce or child custody issues can be so mentally and emotionally draining…because the stakes are so high. The law firm of Kirkland & Sommers understands this, and it’s why we focus 100% of our practice on family law and divorce. We get to know our clients, and our family of attorneys will work with your family to resolve your legal issues in a caring, compassionate manner, no matter what your family’s legal dispute involves.
Our dedicated team of family law attorneys has more than 100 years of combined legal experience. We’ve helped clients in West Chester and all over Butler County resolve their legal problems regarding property rights, parenting rights, child custody, divorce, adoption and more. We are local lawyers who understand how to navigate Butler County courts, what rules might be specific to them, what their filing deadlines are, and all of the other details that only a family lawyer with experience serving West Chester and Butler County clients would know. Our familiarity with the local courts gives us a significant advantage that will work in your favor!
Your family’s legal issue is important to you, so it’s important to us. When you walk out of the West Chester office of Kirkland & Sommers, we want you to have peace of mind, knowing that you are working with a team of dedicated, driven professionals. Once we gather the facts of your case, we will explain the laws in place, inform you of your legal options, and work with you to create an action plan to help you resolve your issue.
If you’re searching for an experienced, compassionate family law attorney in the greater West Chester area, call the office of Kirkland & Sommers today to schedule a free consultation. Call us at (513)785-0822 today!
Divorce, Family Lawyer Services, and Related Practice Areas
Divorce is the legal term for the termination of a marriage. Rarely is the actual divorce the only legal issue to be decided during a divorce case, however. Depending on your circumstances, decisions may also have to be made regarding alimony, property division, child custody, and child support. And even after the divorce is final, the agreement can always be modified in the future if the situation warrants it!
Let’s start with the most common issue most people think of when they hear the words family law: divorce. There are two ways to legally end a marriage in West Chester, and anywhere else in the state of Ohio: A contested divorce or a dissolution.
A contested divorce can be granted on specific grounds, or it can be considered no-fault, which means the grounds for divorce will not affect the division of property. In a no-fault divorce, neither party is blamed for the divorce. Grounds for a no-fault divorce can be as simple as living incompatibly or living apart for a year. Most of the clients we serve in West Chester choose to go the no-fault route.
However, just because you both agree to a divorce doesn’t mean you agree on all of the issues that must be decided. If both parties can’t agree on how to divide their assets, the court will decide how to divide both assets and debts. The general presumption may start with a 50/50 split, but it is complicated by several factors, including:
- Property that is not easily divided, like houses and cars
- Not all property and debt is transferable
- Both parties might want to keep the same property
- Claims by either party that certain property should not be considered a marital asset
A dissolution means both parties have reached an agreement on all aspects of the divorce, including division of property, child custody, child support, spousal support, and the grounds for divorce. If at all possible, this is by far the easier, less stressful – and less costly – way to go.
Spouses can sit down together to come to an agreement on property, debt, and related issues via a peer-reviewed written agreement mediation. Or you can get together on your own and decide everything without even involving a judge or using the mediation process. But either way, it’s still in your best interest to contact a divorce attorney first! There may be issues you haven’t thought of, or one party might be trying to manipulate the other into getting their own way. Your spouse is going to want to protect their own interests right now – not yours – so even if everything sounds good on paper, you need a divorce attorney to review it first. Are all assets being accounted for? Are property and debts being correctly evaluated as either marital or non-marital? If you are the party who wants to leave the marriage the most, you might be tempted to cede your position and just say “you can have it, I don’t care”. Unfortunately, a few years down the road, you may come to regret giving in so easily.
Whether you need a divorce or feel confident you can come to an agreement on a dissolution, the West Chester-based family law firm of Kirkland & Sommers will make sure that your goals are being met. We will look out for you and ensure your interests are being represented. We will review your debts and your assets, and help you determine if those are marital assets, or if they only belong to one party. You may be surprised how the definition of marital assets can change, depending on how you’ve handled it throughout your marriage. So don’t make assumptions… make a call to an experienced, local divorce lawyer at Kirkland & Sommers instead!
Family Law and Child Custody Services
We know you only want what’s best for your children. A long, drawn-out custody battle that goes to trial is going to be stressful for both parents and children and is not in anyone’s best interest. If both parties can put aside their differences for the sake of the children, you may be able to craft a shared parenting plan with the help of an experienced family law firm.
The family law attorneys at Kirkland & Sommers can help you document a shared parenting plan that outlines when each parent will have the children with them, who is responsible for decision-making, and potentially even how much child support will be paid and by which party. Even if you and your spouse cannot agree, you should work with a family law attorney to create your own plan to present to the judge.
Keep in mind that the court still has the discretion to change the plan as they deem appropriate. The court is charged with acting in the best interest of the children, so they will determine custody by considering factors such as:
- The children’s ages
- Their relationship with their parents and sibling
- The wishes of both the children and the parents
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the children
- The children’s involvement in school and extra-curricular activities
- Any history of abuse, domestic violence, or a parent’s criminal record
Child custody and child support are separate issues and will be decided separately by the court. Butler County courts must follow Ohio law regarding child support calculation. They will take into consideration each parent’s income, the child’s educational or daycare expenses, medical expenses, and other costs associated with raising a child.
In addition to custody and child support issues, the experienced family law attorneys at Kirkland & Sommers can help you with myriad other issues related to your children, including:
- Paternity dispute process
- Visitation schedules and coordination
- Relocation process
- Grandparent’s rights
- Third-party divorce custody
Contempt Services in Family Law
After a court issues a child custody, child support or divorce order, all parties are required to follow that order. If one party doesn’t, they may be found in contempt of court. For example, if the parent paying child support fails to do so on time, they may be summoned to appear at a contempt hearing. The judge will order corrective action and may also assign attorney’s fees or other costs.
Civil Protection Order in Family Law
If a family member, spouse, former spouse, or significant other is threatening you with domestic violence, or actually becomes violent, you may seek a Civil Protection Order in Domestic Relations court. If a judge issues a protective order, that individual is not allowed to come in contact with you. Violations of the order may result in arrest or jail. If you are afraid for your safety, please contact a family law attorney at Kirkland & Sommers immediately to help expedite the process of obtaining a Civil Protection Order.
Contact a Skilled Family Lawyer in West Chester
Family legal issues can be complex, confusing, and emotionally exhausting. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you navigate difficult family law issues so that you can get back to doing what you do best – focusing on your family.
You can count on the family law attorneys at Kirkland & Sommers to help you create solutions that work for your family. We provide personal, compassionate legal representation, and provide you with sound legal advice, no matter how complicated your case may be. We will never take for granted the trust you place in us as your attorney, and we consider it our privilege to help families like yours get through trying times.
To schedule a free consultation with a family law attorney at Kirkland & Sommer’s West Chester office, call us today at (513) 785-0822.