Domestic Relations Lawyer & Family Attorney | Columbus, OH

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Divorce & Family Law

Domestic Relations Lawyer in Columbus, OH

At Sheppard Law Offices, we are dedicated to providing caring and effective family law services to our clients in Columbus. Our experienced domestic relations attorney has handled well over 600 divorce, dissolution, child support, spousal support, contempt proceedings, modifications, administrative reviews of child support, interstate and intrastate issues involving the same all here in Ohio. In addition, our extensive tax and bankruptcy background completes the trifecta of our ability to represent clients fully as these issues are intertwined with domestic relations.

Our philosophy is to help resolve matters amicably whenever possible, but when the matter turns adversarial, our philosophy at Sheppard Law Offices is to be reasonably aggressive in the pursuit of our client’s best interests.

Columbus family law attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices possess the experience, reputation, and compassion needed for family law cases. We are the most trusted family law attorney in Columbus, Ohio. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Our Columbus Divorce Attorney Can Help You Navigate Your Family Law Issues

At Sheppard Law Offices, our dedicated family law attorney in Columbus, Ohio has helped countless parties and their counsel file for bankruptcy approval to proceed forward with domestic cases as the parties want to resolve their domestic matters while one or both of them are in current bankruptcy proceedings. 

We pride ourselves on offering the most effective representation for spousal support cases, as we systematically address each of the factors to determine spousal support. Our family law attorney has been very successful in terminating spousal support cases. We believe our tax background and attention to these details offer a service quite different from other lawyers.  If you are a Columbus resident and are facing domestic relations or family law matters of a legal nature, reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation.

What is Family Law?

The legal concept of family law is the set of laws and statutes that pertain to matters having a severe and substantial impact on a family’s relationships. Family law outlines and protects the rights and duties of family members in various circumstances. It is intended to serve as a framework for obtaining fair and equitable outcomes for all family members, including adults or children.

Family law can be an emotion-driven field of law, as it frequently involves broken relationships and the ensuing turmoil. As a result, Columbus family law attorneys must possess legal experience and a strong comprehension of individuals and how to provide help with the necessary degree of sensitivity.

What factors affect my divorce case in Ohio?

For clients seeking assistance with divorce proceedings, there are several specific areas our domestic relations lawyer typically addresses during a consultation or full proceeding. When the matter is a divorce case, we have several questions that we ask to better understand the bigger picture of the case, such as:

  • How long did the marriage last?
  • Do you have any children?
  • Do you have marital assets?
  • Did you own any assets before the marriage?
  • Do you have joint debts?
  • Do you have separate debts?

On issues regarding children, we typically ask about what they wish to have in terms of:

  • Custody
  • Visitation
  • Health Insurance
  • Child support


We will also ask what you think the other party will say about these issues.

What happens during a divorce consultation?

At Sheppard Law Offices, our consultation process for divorce or dissolution cases is an important discovery period that allows us to learn more about asset planning, income sources from both parties, and much more. Our experienced family law attorney will discuss our philosophy on divorce cases – to be reasonably aggressive and never to be intimidated by opposing counsel or the other spouse. We discuss the hourly fee arrangement and what the retainer will be and the replenishment of the retainer for continued representation. In addition, our family law attorney will address how the initial steps will be handled in the case and what the client should expect next. Then, we execute the fee agreement and we start completing the draft of the affidavits necessary to file in a divorce case.

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Do I have to go to court for my divorce case in Columbus?

When it comes to the divorce or dissolution proceeding, we are prepared to address all aspects of the case such as a hearing on any motion like a motion for temporary orders or a contempt motion, to pre-trial, to a deposition, or to the actual trial itself. Our family law attorney makes opening statements to address the issues and facts to be heard by the fact-finder (judge in most cases), then we call witnesses and cross examine those witnesses, including the parties, neighbors, child advocates, police officers, child support representatives, and more.

Our attorney will address the court and all in attendance very professionally and will proceed to handle the presentation professionally and competently. At Sheppard Law Offices, we know the proper sequence of addressing matters before each court and our attorney can adapt to the situation when called upon. When you engage our experienced family law attorney at Sheppard Law to represent you in a divorce or dissolution case, you can rest assured that your case will be handled with the utmost sensitivity and transparency between attorney and client. You will have a family law attorney with a backbone, that will fight for your case in a reasonably aggressive and efficient manner.

You Don't Have to Navigate Child Support Proceedings in Columbus Alone​

Our Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help

Are you dealing with issues regarding child support? Whether you’re calculating the amount, modifying your child support order, or applying for one, it’s best to get the help of an attorney. Our Columbus domestic relations lawyer at Sheppard Law Offices can help you find the best way to resolve your family law and divorce matters.

Calculating Child Support

The issue of determining child support is a math calculation that can be adjusted based upon facts of a particular case. Income from the parties is entered into a formula, but the calculation can be altered by what is called deviating factors as spelled out by the Ohio Revised Code. 

So, we discuss income and why the client believes child support should be increased or lowered from the formula’s outcome. This can lead into other questions such as assets, debts, and expenses of both parties. 

Modifying Child Support Order

Of course, we discuss the fee arrangement for attorney fees. Modification of child support after it has been previously ordered by a court follows the same path of conversation in a consultation, but our lawyer will need to review what the court ordered and what was stated in the prior proceeding to determine whether any modification can take place.

In the cases regarding child support, any proceedings here will most likely be a contested matter. At Sheppard Law Offices, we can handle both legal actions for child support and representations in administrative actions before the county’s child support enforcement agency (CSEA). 

Therefore, the same rules and practices in a divorce case will be seen here. Here, the issues will be income and making sure the data used in the calculation was correct and the whole formula was calculated correctly. 

Then, we argue deviation factors to see if child support should be increased or lowered. Testimonial evidence and physical evidence such as pay stubs, tax returns, ledgers, profit and loss statements, bills, invoices, can help to show the financial status of persons involved.

What Are The Other Family Law Areas in Columbus?

One common misconception is that family law is only for divorce, child support, and custody. Family law also comprises a broad range of topics that touch many personal and family life aspects. Here are some other issues of family law:


Establishing Paternity

Nowadays, many people have children without getting married. Legally establishing who the father is necessary for:

  • Establishing parenting rights,
  • Ensuring the child can inherit Social Security and Veteran’s benefits from the father, and
  • Giving the child a sense of identity.

Spousal Maintenance

Once known as alimony, spousal support may be awarded to:

  • a spouse who has custody of the kids,
    has been married for a long time, or
  • is unable to support themselves.

These awards consider various factors and are evaluated individually based on the circumstances and merits.

Agreements for Cohabitation

People can opt to cohabit rather than get married. When this happens after the couple separates, they discover that the marital property laws do not apply. In light of this, it is advisable for anyone desiring a prenuptial for any reason to prepare a cohabitation agreement.

Post-Decree Modifications

Not everything is set in stone, even after a divorce is declared final. Occasionally, one or both parties determine that adjustments are necessary. When this occurs, individuals turn to the courts for assistance to get a post-decree modification. Let us assist you if you require a change or if your ex-spouse asks for one.

Enforcement of Decrees and Court Orders

Compliance with a court’s decree or order is legally required. If you cannot comply, it would be prudent to seek the advice of your attorney because a judge might sometimes detain you. We assist with matters involving decree enforcements.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is between two people who plan to marry. It outlines what each partner brings to the union, their respective rights and obligations in the event of divorce, and the grounds for it. These contracts are crucial for business owners, so contact us immediately if you require a prenup.

Family law is a complex, emotionally-charged practice area. It’s best to hire someone who understands your needs and will fight for your best interests. Call our Columbus law firm today to see if we are the right fit for you!

Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Relations, Divorce & Family Law Proceedings

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions while going through a domestic relations issue, please use the button below to schedule a free consultation at any of our four Ohio locations in Columbus, Mt Vernon and, Newark. We’ll be in touch about how Sheppard Law Offices can get the best possible outcome for your case.

No, is the shortest response. You can file for divorce without a lawyer, but you should exercise caution because, without a professional, you won’t know your rights or the best course of action when it comes to dissolution and other parts of divorce.

Once you get served the divorce documents, you only have 14 days to file a response. Don’t panic, here’s what you should do:

  • Review the filing: Specifically, you should look for a “Motion and Affidavit for Temporary Orders.” It outlines how various issues will be handled in the time until the divorce is finalized. If you don’t agree with something in the temporary orders, you have to act immediately. Otherwise, you may not like how your situation will look like while you go through months, even years, of divorce proceedings.
  • Talk to a lawyer: Once you’ve looked at the filing, you may not be sure what to do. An experienced Columbus divorce attorney can explain everything to you and discuss your available options. Should you file your own temporary order? Do you want to file a counterclaim? How should you organize your finances? These are some things that a skilled attorney can help with.
  • Fill out the paperwork: Divorce cases involve a lot of signing and form-filling. Make sure to read everything and fill out all the proper spaces. An experienced divorce attorney in Columbus can help with this, ensuring that everything is in order and that it all goes according to your best interests.

Yes. Paperwork is the bread and butter of any attorney. We will look through all the filings and agreements to make sure you don’t end up with the short end of the stick.

The technical answer is yes. If you have a properly drafted complaint for divorce, your spouse will not be able to prevent you.

Here are the six steps that most divorce proceedings go through:

  1. Filing the divorce petition. The filing should include a statement that
    tells the court meets the requirements for divorce,
    the legal grounds for divorce, and
    other information required by the state.
  2. Asking for temporary orders. Divorce proceedings can be notoriously long. Some situations may be impossible to go through the waiting period. A temporary order to address certain situations while the couple waits for the divorce to be finalized.
  3. Serve the spouse and wait for a response. The filing spouse should serve the papers to the other party. The receiving spouse is then responsible for filing a response. Ohio gives the receiving spouse 14 days to file a response.
  4. Negotiate a settlement. If you and your spouse don’t agree on all important topics, you have to find common ground. This is where you and your spouse (along with the lawyers) will negotiate to resolve these issues.
  5. Divorce trial. If negotiations fall through, then you have to go to trial. This is a very expensive and time-consuming process. What’s worse is that decisions no longer fall to you and your spouse but the judge, meaning the end result is not predictable.
  6. Finalizing the judgment. Whether it’s settled through negotiation or trial, the last step is that the judge approves the judgment. This ends the marriage and outlines what you and your spouse should do regarding important divorce issues.
No, ethical rules forbid one lawyer from representing both sides. In this situation, it is not possible to protect the interest of opposing parties.
A dissolution is when you and your spouse agree on all the important issues, like child support and property division. A divorce happens when there’s something you do not agree on, then a judge will be the one to decide on that topic.

If your spouse won’t let you see the kids, you can ask the courts for help. If you already have a custody agreement, then you can ask the court to enforce it. If you don’t have one, you can talk to our experienced attorneys to help you file for custody.

You can ask a judge to allow you to have access to the house so you can go pick up your things. Typically, a deputy can accompany you to enforce your right to get your things.

It depends whether you have your name on the property or not. If it’s titled and financed in your name, you have to pay it even if you moved out. If it’s not in your name, then you may not be financially responsible for paying.

It depends. If you can sit down with your spouse and agree on who pays what, then that’s that. But, if you don’t agree on who pays for a certain bill, then you can file a request for a temporary order. The court will be the one to decide who pays the bills.

It differs with every case. However, here are the factors that will affect the amount:

  • All the sources of income of both spouses;
  • The earning ability of each spouse;
  • The physical, mental, and emotional health of each spouse;
  • The retirement benefits;
  • How long the marriage lasted;
  • If the spouse who gets child custody can’t work as a result;
  • Each person’s educational background;
  • Their debts and assets;
  • Whether one spouse helped the other through education or get increased income while married;
  • The costs of paying for the training to allow a spouse to get employment;
  • Whether a spouse is the homemaker, which led to a decrease in their earning capacity;
  • How alimony affects taxes; and
  • Other factors relevant to the calculation.


These are considered more guidelines than strict rules. The judge has a lot of discretion when determining spousal support in Ohio.

If you want to modify the terms of custody or parenting time, you have to file a motion for custody change. File them in the court where the original order was made. Then, the court will schedule a hearing where it will decide whether it’s in the best interest of the child to modify the order.

The burden of proof lies on the person who alleges contempt. That means they have to prove that you violated the court order. This is what the other party has to prove:

  • You were aware of the order;
  • You were not able to comply with the order;
  • You did not have a valid excuse.


To defend against a contempt action, you just have to invalidate one of those elements. If they cannot show any one of those, then the contempt action will fail.

You don’t need a lawyer, but it’s good to have one. Filing for contempt places the burden of proof on you. If you can’t show that the other party violated the order, then you won’t win.

At Sheppard Law Offices, we strive to provide effective, caring and competent legal services to all of our domestic relations and family law clients.

Attorney fees vary depending on the practice area/your legal case. Schedule a consultation with us if you want to know more about our legal fees. We have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with fees that are reasonably priced/won’t break the bank.

There is no one answer for this as it depends per case. Ohio Supreme court guidelines say that a contested divorce can take from 1 year to 18 months.

Call our Columbus Family Law Attorneys Now!

People going through contentious divorces or other family disputes need a Columbus family law lawyer who understands that family-related laws can be complex and emotionally charged. In many cases, the law is there to protect those with the least power in a given situation. Family law attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices  have been helping families overcome legal hurdles since our founding. We understand this and work hard to ensure that our clients receive the best possible outcome for their cases.

We have many years of experience working with people from all walks of life, and we’re here for anyone who wants a fresh start. If you’re going through a divorce, dealing with child custody issues, or facing any other family-related legal matter, please contact us to schedule a free consultation about your family law case.

Unsure of Where to Begin?

At Sheppard Law Offices, we strive to provide effective, caring and competent legal services to all of our domestic relations and family law clients. We also strive to offer our services at a reasonable rate, and as such, all of our domestic relations cases are performed at our family law and divorce attorney’s hourly rate. In 2021, the hourly rate is $300.00 per hour for non-tax matters. We normally ask for a retainer of $1,500 in a simple dissolution case and a retainer may be up to $5,000 for a divorce proceeding.

If you are facing a domestic relation dispute in Columbus, such as a divorce or dissolution, or you need assistance with child support proceedings, contact our family law attorney to schedule In-Person Consultation today!

Sheppard Law Offices


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Sheppard Law Offices

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