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Family Law

Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Columbus, OH

Are you thinking about divorce? Do you have family concerns such as child custody and support, alimony, or division of property? Our Ohio family law attorneys have the experience the knowledge to help you navigate these complicated processes. 

At Sheppard Law Offices, you can rely on our experienced attorneys who are compassionate about family law and divorce cases. We will help you achieve the results that are best for you and your family. Schedule a consultation today!

Why Do You Need a Family Law Attorney in Ohio?

divorce and Family Law Ohio

Family law may be an intricate field of law. If you are going through a divorce, a child custody dispute, or any other family law matter, it is crucial that you get an experienced and qualified advocate who will fight for your rights in court. Here are the most convincing reasons for selecting our skilled family law attorney from our law office:

Our skilled Columbus family law attorney can give you the advice you need to make well-informed decisions regarding your case. We will be able to guide you through each phase of the legal procedure and argue on your behalf so that you are informed of all potential resolution alternatives.

When picking a family lawyer, it is essential to look for someone who has handled cases comparable to yours or who has worked on complicated issues in the past.

Working with our family attorney, who has a significant understanding of state laws involving child custody disputes, divorce processes, paternity claims, etc., offers several advantages. This sort of data is not usually available online. These are the areas in which we specialize.

If you are going through a divorce, child custody dispute, paternity suit, or any other family law problem, it is crucial that you consult with our family law attorney in Columbus, Ohio, who will ensure that your legal paperwork and court filings are accurate and comprehensive. 

The language of these documents can have far-reaching effects on the result of your case, thus we must comply with all regulations before submitting them in court. We will ensure that every material is completed, filed, notarized properly, and sent on time to the appropriate court organization or government agency.

You need someone accustomed to working in the courts for them to prepare your case appropriately for any conceivable outcome. If things don’t go as planned during negotiations or trial, going through a high-asset divorce without a family lawyer might cost you more than the assets you’re attempting to safeguard.

Inadequate representation also raises the likelihood of being taken advantage of by opposing lawyers, who are aware of your unfamiliarity with court processes.

Typically, hiring an attorney early in the process is less expensive. Our Columbus family law attorney can help you save time and money. If you have been served with divorce papers and are unsure of how to proceed, hiring us will make it easier for you to complete the process as fast as possible.

In other instances, employing us may avoid legal fees from escalating if your ex-spouse decides they want their representation during discussions or mediation sessions in the future.

We can assist you in protecting your legal rights. You should consider hiring our family law attorney in Columbus, Ohio since family law is complex and it is important to understand all of your choices before making major decisions such as child custody, property division, etc.

We will be able to help you through these complex procedures and defend your rights in court if required. Therefore, employing us might safeguard both parties from any additional stress or financial losses and provide them more time to focus on themselves rather than legal matters.

What Constitutes Family Law?

Family law is a branch of law that deals with issues involving a family, which might include a spouse, a couple, or children. This includes legal matters such as adoption, parental rights, custody, and divorce.

Family law allows for the protection of children from unpleasant or dangerous conditions and the removal of children from abusive parents. Family law also addresses concerns about domestic violence.

What Does Family Law Cover?

There are several components of family law. Essentially, all law about children and families falls under this category

Divorce

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. It is usually a process that takes months or even years to complete, and it can be emotionally and financially devastating for both spouses. The decision to divorce is never easy, but it may be the best option for couples who are no longer able to make their marriage work.

What Are the Different Types of Divorce?

Contrary to common assumption, not all divorced individuals rush to the courtroom. There is no universal strategy for divorce. The procedure, duration, and expense of any divorce rely heavily on the couple, their ability to communicate, and their willingness to make concessions to settle. There are a variety of ways to dissolve a marriage, including alternatives to the typical divorce.

No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is one in which no partner is held responsible for the dissolution of the marriage. All fifty states let spouses file for a no-fault divorce, while many states permit no-fault divorce exclusively. Instead of specifying a particular act of marital wrongdoing, the filing spouse need merely cite the state’s legal grounds for no-fault divorce.

Undisputed Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to the legal reasons and all divorce-related agreements. A legally enforceable settlement agreement must be drafted and signed by both spouses in the event of an uncontested divorce. This document informs the court of the couple’s plans for the following:

  • joint property division
  • marriage obligation allocation
  • custody of children and child support
  • parenting time
  • alimony
  • any other applicable requirements

The procedure for an uncontested divorce differs by state. Depending on the state, you may be able to expedite an uncontested divorce if you comply with all the necessary processes.

Fault Divorce

For a divorce based on fault, the filing spouse must assert that the other spouse’s actions led to the breakup. Few states still let couples choose a divorce process based on blame. Fault divorces are more expensive and time-consuming than no-fault divorces because one spouse must establish that the other’s wrongdoing caused the breakdown of the marriage.

Some couples choose the fault-based divorce procedure because it may allow them to circumvent the state’s mandated divorce waiting time. Others choose this procedure since establishing particular misdeeds may influence the judge’s ultimate judgment about child custody, property distribution, or alimony.

It’s not always easy to prove fault in a divorce case, especially if your spouse presents a defense against the claims. Rarely, a spouse can avert a divorce based on fault by establishing one of the following:

  • condonation
  • connivance
  • aggression
  • conspiracy

It is against public policy for courts to compel a couple to remain married, thus if you fail to show fault, the judge will often continue with a no-fault divorce. If you utilize the fault procedure frivolously, some judges may order you to pay your spouse’s family law attorney expenses.

Child Support

When both parents do not reside together with a child, the child typically resides primarily with one parent (the “custodial parent”), unless the parents have shared physical custody. Child support is the amount of money paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to assist with meeting the child’s basic requirements. Generally, child support is a component of a court order, even if the order is based on a parental agreement.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

All states are required by federal law to adopt rules for determining child support. Nevertheless, each state develops its laws. If you’re wondering how much child support you’ll be required to pay, the answer depends on your state’s child support rules and your circumstances.

Because both parents are expected to support their children, the rules establish a child support range for each parent. In most circumstances, judges have the discretion to issue child support orders that deviate from the standards if they deem it necessary. Generally, a state’s divorce laws specify the allowed grounds for deviating from the rules.

Regardless of how much discretion the law may offer judges, the majority of states have child support guidelines that describe the elements that judges must examine when determining who pays how much child support. These criteria often include the following:

child’s necessities (including health insurance, education, daycare, and any special needs)

income and requirements of the custodial parent

the ability of the paying parent to pay

level of living of the child before divorce or separation

Before making a judgment on child support, courts often need each parent to fill out a form outlining their financial circumstances, including monthly income and costs.

Child Custody

The word “child custody” refers to a parent’s legal and physical contact with their child. The right to raise, care for, and make choices regarding the child is included in a custody case. The biological parents of a child should make all decisions about the child’s housing, healthcare, education, and religious upbringing. 

When a couple separates, though, all of these concerns may become problematic. When custody and upbringing of a child are contested, child custody statutes and the family court intervene.

What Are the Different Types of Child Custody?

Physical custody and legal custody are the two main types of custody addressed by these issues. There are two main methods to categorize custody arrangements under each of these categories: sole custody and joint (or shared) custody. To add to the confusion, several jurisdictions use phrases like “parenting plans” when referring to physical custody or both physical and legal custody arrangements.

Legal custody is the right of parents to make decisions on the raising of their children, such as:

  • where they will attend school and whether they will have access to additional educational opportunities such as tutoring
  • religious training and customs
  • participation in extracurricular activities, such as team sports and music lessons
  • includes immunizations and mental health services

When you have exclusive legal custody of your children, you have the authority to make all decisions about your children without consulting the other parent. But if you seek exclusive legal custody of your children, you must convince the judge that it is in their best interests. This may be the case when, for instance:

  • One parent does not care about the children or participate in their life
  • Due to issues such as untreated substance misuse or serious mental illness, one parent is unfit to make sound decisions for the children
  • Given the level of animosity and conflict between the parents, it would be exceedingly difficult for them to share legal custody of their children
  • One parent is violent

While divorced parents have joint legal custody, they share decision-making authority over their children, just as they did when they were married. After a divorce, shared legal custody is the norm or default in the majority of states.

Physical custody refers to the right of parents to reside with and provide daily care for their children. As with all custody judgments, judges must evaluate whether physical custody or parenting arrangement is in the best interests of the children.

If you have exclusive legal custody of your children, they will reside with you full time. Once upon a time, exclusive physical custody was the standard following a divorce. Historically, children lived with their moms and their dads enjoyed visiting rights.

This is no longer the case, although judges will still give physical custody to one parent or the “custodial parent” where it is in the best interests of the children, such as when the other parent:

  • it would be detrimental to subject the youngsters to frequent back-and-forth travel
  • due to substance misuse, child abuse or neglect, or major mental disease, is unfit to reside with the children
  • cannot give children a secure living environment
  • is imprisoned

Physical custody sharing may not necessarily imply a 50/50 share. Often, children reside primarily with one parent but spend evenings with the other, typically on weekends and school breaks. The parent with primary physical custody is still referred to as the custodial parent, while the other is the noncustodial parent under this arrangement.

Visitation and Parenting Time

The judge will provide visiting privileges to the noncustodial parent and the child if sole physical custody is awarded to one parent. In virtually every state, the law presumes that a meaningful and ongoing connection with both parents is in the child’s best interest.

In addition, the law respects a child’s entitlement to visitation with each parent. In the absence of exceptional circumstances, the court will grant the noncustodial parent visiting rights. The court may order visitation that is reasonable, monitored, or unsupervised.

What Are the Different Types of Visitation?

When a judge grants “reasonable visitation,” the custody order will not specify the amount of time spent with the kid by each parent. Instead, it is up to the parents to choose an appropriate visitation schedule. What constitutes “reasonable visitation” differs by situation and state.

If one parent is granted “reasonable visitation” in a custody agreement, the parties will have a great deal of discretion in defining what is fair, including visiting hours, dates, and frequency. A visitation order without a specified visiting schedule might be unexpected and difficult at times.

In circumstances when the judge determines that it is not in the child’s best interest to spend time alone with the child, monitored visitation is permitted. The courts will establish a precise timetable for the noncustodial parent to spend time with the child in a court-sanctioned facility under the supervision of a recognized third party.

In rare instances, the judge will enable the families to select a supervisor, such as a friend or relative. The parent and child are permitted to visit the home of the family member or another authorized site.

Unsupervised visitation, the most frequent kind of interaction in a custody arrangement, allows a parent to spend time alone with the kid, including overnight stays. Typically, the court will establish a timetable for parents and children to adhere to.

In contrast to reasonable parenting time, if the custodial parent refuses to adhere to the court-ordered timetable, the noncustodial parent can petition the court for enforcement.

Visitation and Parenting Time

Alimony

Alimony is essentially described as a payment made by one spouse to the other, according to a family court order or the couple’s agreement, following or during a divorce action. States employ several words for alimony, including spousal support and maintenance, although they generally imply the same thing. And state rules on alimony define how it operates and how courts determine when, how much, and for how long to give spousal support.

When considering alimony, it may be helpful to realize that it is not the following:

  • Alimony does not serve to equalize the financial circumstances of a divorced spouse. Instead, it is often intended to ensure that both couples can meet their financial obligations.
  • Spousal maintenance is not limited to ex-wives. The great majority of states have enacted gender-neutral divorce rules, and as a result, some women are now required to pay alimony to their ex-husbands, at least temporarily.

Generally speaking, there are three distinct types of alimony. Even though various states use different words and a few states have extra variations:

  • temporary alimony that ends when the divorce is finalized
  • rehabilitative support designed to help beneficiaries make the transition to self-sufficiency
  • permanent support

Although many states use the phrase “permanent” spousal support to describe alimony awarded as part of a final divorce decision, these payments very infrequently continue for the remainder of the recipient’s life. Generally, true permanent alimony is reserved for cases such as protracted marriages in which one spouse remained unemployed for many years and, due to age or other conditions, can never achieve financial independence.

Even rehabilitative alimony is generally awarded to ex-spouses who missed out on educational or professional growth because they spent a substantial amount of time raising children and caring for the home. For instance, judges seldom grant alimony in circumstances where the marriage lasted less than two years. In reality, some state laws only permit alimony payments after a set number of years of marriage.

What Are the Many Factors to Consider When Determining Post-Divorce Alimony?

When determining whether to award alimony payments following a divorce, judges must often first determine if one spouse requires support and whether the other spouse has the financial means to provide it. Most states outline a variety of elements that courts must examine while reaching this determination, including:

  • the couple’s quality of living throughout the marriage and the extent to which each partner might maintain a comparable standard of living following the divorce
  • each partner’s income, assets, and liabilities
  • how much each spouse will receive after the couple’s assets are split
  • if one partner has a diminished earning capability since he or she spent time caring for the family while unemployed
  • the duration of a marriage
  • each partner’s age and state of health
  • contributions were given by one spouse to the training, education, or career progress of the other
  • any additional elements the court deems relevant

In addition, several states let or even compel judges to consider a history of domestic violence or other wrongdoing by one or both spouses when determining whether to impose alimony. But there is one element that is rarely considered: which spouse initiated the divorce.

While filing for divorce, you may request spousal support. And if your husband initiated the divorce proceedings, you may request alimony. Typically, this is accomplished by filing a “counter” complaint or petition.

How Can Our Skilled Columbus Family Law Attorney Help?

Working with our competent Columbus family law attorney to address family disputes has several advantages. For instance, our firm’s experienced family law attorney demonstrates value by assisting you through the painful process of filing for divorce. We can manage the complexities of legal papers and child support or alimony negotiations. Our Ohio family law attorney may also assist you with custody issues and visitation arrangements.

We may also be beneficial at moments of happiness. If you are contemplating marriage, our knowledgeable family law attorney can determine how your marriage may affect your assets and money. A prenuptial agreement can safeguard all parties involved in the case of a failed marriage or assist with financial planning in the event of premature death. When you wish to adopt a child to increase your family, we may also be of great assistance.

At Sheppard Law Offices, we are devoted to representing your family’s legal problems with care and sensitivity. Our law firm has assisted families through legally and emotionally challenging family law case proceedings for years.

Personalized Approach to Your Family Law Issue

Regardless of the circumstances, we understand how to make the law work for you and your family. Our skilled family law attorney is eager to handle your case with the utmost attention, whether it is a straightforward matter or one that takes a lengthy procedure.

We promise to offer you direct and honest representation so that you can quickly address your family law difficulties. Call our Ohio family law attorney immediately to discuss what legal services we can do for you.

Sheppard Law Offices

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