At Baker, Dublikar, Beck, Wiley & Mathews, helping clients navigate the often emotional legal proceedings that revolve around family law matters is among the most important work we do. We have a deep understanding of how difficult and stressful these times can be, and we are dedicated to lessening your burden by providing thoughtful, measured advice with compassion and responsiveness. We take time to listen to you, address your concerns, and explore your various options. Effective problem solvers, we strive to meet our clients’ family law needs with solutions that are personalized, practical, and creative.
Our family law practice handles a wide array of family law matters, including divorce, dissolution, legal separation, spousal support, child support, child custody, paternity, grandparent rights and prenuptial agreements. We also have extensive experience with adoption proceedings. Skilled negotiators and seasoned trial attorneys, we have obtained favorable outcomes for clients in numerous family law proceedings, many of which involved complex accounting, tax, financial planning, employment benefits, and child custody issues.
While our family law attorneys guide you through whatever challenge you are facing, keeping you well informed every step of the way, our experienced litigators stand ready to fight for your rights should a trial be necessary in your case. Whether you are contemplating a dissolution or are already embroiled in a messy divorce, or you need to have a family court order enforced or modified, we can help.
Our family law service include:
A divorce is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage. The parties to a divorce ask the court to make final decisions concerning property division, spousal support, and matters regarding minor children. Ohio allows spouses to choose between a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. A no-fault divorce means that you do not need to explain to the court why your marriage ended in order to obtain a divorce judgment. Grounds for a fault-based divorce in Ohio include: adultery; extreme cruelty, gross neglect of duty; habitual drunkenness; and a fraudulent contract.
Most divorce cases are eventually settled by agreement. A proposed divorce decree is prepared, signed by the parties and submitted to the court for approval. After a short hearing, the agreement is approved by the judge and becomes a court order. If the parties cannot resolve all of their disputed issues, evidence is presented in a contested trial, and then the judge or magistrate issues a decision.
With a dissolution, the parties mutually agree to end their marriage. Neither spouse has to prove grounds to end a marriage by dissolution. A petition is jointly filed after the spouses have signed a separation agreement regarding all property, spousal support, and any child-related issues. Within 90 days, the court will hold a hearing in which it will: review the separation agreement; ask about the assets and liabilities and any parenting issues; and determine whether the parties understand and are satisfied with the settlement. If the court is satisfied that the parties agree and wish to end their marriage, the court will grant a dissolution and make the separation agreement a court order.
A legal separation does not legally end a marriage but allows the court to issue orders concerning property division, spousal support, allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. The parties remain married, but live separately. When a court grants a legal separation, each party must follow the court’s specific orders. The legal steps are nearly the same as for a divorce.
In awarding spousal support (once referred to as “alimony”), Ohio courts may consider 13 specific factors, including the ages, earning ability and health of the parties, the length of the marriage, and the standard of living during the marriage. If there is a change in circumstances after the court issues its order, such as an increase or involuntary decrease in one party’s wages, salary, bonuses, living expenses, or medical expenses, the court may consider a modification of spousal support.
Under Ohio law, parenting time refers to the time parents spend with their children. In every case involving children the court will order a specific schedule for parenting time. The primary consideration is the best interests of the child, and the court will look at certain factors, including:
Ohio courts will calculate child support under certain specific guidelines. The law sets basic support schedules that are used to determine the amount of child support, based on the number of children and the combined gross income of the parents, as well as other factors and/or credits. The support schedules are based on the average cost of raising children in households across a wide income range.
Importantly, the court has discretion to deviate from the basic support tables when the calculated support is inequitable and not in the children’s best interest. The court will also issue orders for healthcare insurance and payment of any uninsured healthcare expenses for the children.
Paternity establishment is how a biological father becomes the legal father of his child if he and the mother are not married. Under Ohio law, paternity can be established in one of three ways:
Ohio law permits courts to award companionship or visitation rights to a grandparent during or after a domestic relations proceeding if the grandparent has an interest in the child’s welfare and companionship or visitation is in the child’s best interest. A court can also award companionship or visitation rights to a grandparent if a parent is deceased or the child’s mother was unmarried when the child was born.
Under Ohio law, prenuptial agreements are called “antenuptial agreements.” To be valid, certain conditions must be met, including: it must be entered into without coercion, fraud, or duress; the terms must not encourage divorce; and there must have been a full disclosure of the nature and value of each spouse’s property.
Ohio recognizes several types of adoptions, including public agency, private or independent, private agency, step-parent and international. Each type of adoption has specific requirements, but all will involve undergoing home visits, interviews, and a background check. Under Ohio law, any unmarried adult, unmarried minor parent of an adoptee, or married couple may adopt. However, probate courts in different counties may have different procedures and requirements, and therefore, retaining an experienced adoption attorney is a necessity. Ralph Dublikar of our firm is recognized as one of the leading adoption attorneys in the state and has handled numerous adoptions, including contested adoptions in many counties. He has also been an instructor at adoption seminars for other attorneys.
For more information on our any of our Ohio family law services, you are invited to contact us at 330-499-6000.