Navigating the intricacies of family law is daunting without an attorney. Rather, choosing the right family law attorney and being an active client will be more favorable to you than doing it on your own. When you choose a family law attorney, he or she should be skilled at negotiation and try and settle your case outside of the courtroom. A good family attorney will represent you through every intricate turn and guide you through to your best possible outcome. But a great family attorney will teach you so that you understand the issues and circumstances of your case, keeping you engaged to make informed decisions based on fact rather than assumptions.
Be an active client
In our experience, clients that are active and involved in their case have better outcomes. The final outcome of your case has long-lasting effects on your life, so the best remedy is to be knowledgeable and work with an attorney who is willing to teach, advocate, and represent your wishes throughout your case to the fullest of his or her ability.
In deciding how to proceed forward with your case whether it be divorce, dissolution, child custody, or any matter in between, it is important that you understand the range of possible outcomes of your case, issues that you may encounter, the legal processes to deal with those issues, and most importantly addressing your goals. It is the job of your attorney to guide and teach you through this process, so you have the confidence and wherewithal to proceed forward. You are not expected to know the law, that is why you hire an attorney. You are expected to know what you want and have the proper advocate to get you there.
Understanding common termination of marriage terms
There are three types of Termination of Marriage in the State of Ohio: Annulment, Dissolution, Divorce
Annulment – means that a marriage is declared a legal nullity- an act or thing that is legally void. A few reasons that termination of marriage may be annulled would include: bigamy, mental incompetence of one party, consent of marriage obtained by fraud or force, failure to consummate the marriage, or an underage spouse. However, the time period for an annulment varies based on the reason for wanting to terminate a marriage via annulment.
Dissolution – means that a marriage terminates by agreement of the parties, initiated by filing of a petition for dissolution with a separation agreement attached. The husband and wife MUST agree on both the termination of the marriage and all the terms and conditions in the separation agreement. A dissolution may be the most cost-effective way to obtain a resolution.
Divorce – means a contested proceeding that is intiated by the filing of a complaint alleging reasons for the termination of the marriage. In Ohio, a party seeking a divorce must establish grounds for the divorce. Divorce cases are intricate and the Court will address a myriad of issues including: grounds for termination of the marriage, determination and division of marital assets, custody, spousal support, division of liabilities, etc.
Even after your divorce is finalized, your case may continue. What happens if the Court Orders are not followed by a party?
Contempt – If a party fails to live up to the obligations set out in their divorce or dissolution, you may need to take them back to Court to resolve the situation. Contempt motions specify what part of the divorce order the other party violated and what he or she did to violate. Contempt is serious, and the purpose of a contempt is not to punish, but to encourage compliance of a party with a Court order moving forward.
Understanding common children-related family law terms
Additionally, there is a multitude of issues concerning minor children that the Court may address in your case including some listed below:
Parenting Plan – A document outlining how the parents will raise their child after separation or divorce and approved by the Court. It includes parenting time schedule, child support, health care provisions, child tax credits, welfare of the child, discipline, death or incapacity of either or both parties, etc.
Child Support Modification – A change in circumstances of one or both parties may significantly impact child support. Therefore, Child support is not so inflexible that changes often occur that result in an increase or decrease in your support.
Shared Parenting – Previously referred to as Joint custody. Both parents work together to “co-parent” their child. Shared Parenting plans can be drafted; existing ones may be modified. Shared parenting allows the parents to equally share in the decision making for the minor child(ren).
Contact an experienced family law attorney if you need help
Family law issues are already taxing and stressful enough on their own; the last thing most people feel like dealing with are the legal implications and complicated concepts on top of everything else they’re already dealing with. We can help ease the burden that way. Get in touch with one of our experienced and compassionate family law attorneys today for a free consultation to see how we can help.