Relocation and Child Custody in Ohio

Moving for a job can be difficult and often hard on your family.  When you are looking for work during a divorce or immediately after a divorce and need to move away it can be even more of a challenge.  Did you know that if you move during the divorce process a judge might find in favor of your spouse when the question of child custody comes up?  Many courts view moves during divorce proceedings to be against the best interests of the child.  It is up to the parent seeking custody to provide a strong case to the court that the move won’t disrupt the life of the child.   Examine a few of the following factors when you consider relocation if child custody is at stake. 

School

Will you move to a similar school district so your child can continue to attend a school similar to the one he or she is currently attending?  This factor may seem unimportant to those without children, but those with children understand the importance of a good school district.  If you are just starting your divorce proceedings and moving to a district with poor schools, the judge may see that as move that may harm your child’s education.  If you are moving to an area with poor schools after the divorce decree has been finalized, your spouse may challenge the current child custody arrangement.

When you relocate after a divorce, you must often be aware of not only your child’s needs, but of the visitation agreement set by the court.  If you move away from your former spouse and he or she is no longer able to participate in school activities you may have complications.  When relocation becomes an issue for you or your children, you need an attorney who is experienced in handling such matters.  Work with a family lawyer where Children Matter Most to advocate on your behalf.

Parenting Time Schedule

Setting a parenting schedule is crucial for those who elect to have joint custody of the marital children.  If you move for work, will you still be able to maintain your custody schedule in a way that is both economically feasible and logistically sound?  For example if you move from Dublin, Ohio to Grandview Heights, Ohio your child will still be able to participate in many of the same activities and likely attend the same school.  Moving within the Central Ohio area rarely presents a problem, as it is just a short commute to visit the other parent.  The same cannot be said if the relocation for work takes you out of state, or out of the country.  Work with a Columbus, Ohio child custody attorney to find the best arrangement for you and your family.

Additionally, you need to think about what will happen should your spouse feel you are not allowing him or her enough time with the child per your agreement.  A spouse who feels you are preventing their child from visiting as per your agreement can seek a modification of any child custody arrangement.  If this happens in part because you had to relocate for work or any other reason, reach out to a Columbus, Ohio child custody lawyer.  Attorneys can advocate on your behalf and help guide you through the process of modifying a child custody order.

Custody Arrangements

Divorce is difficult, as you not only must consider your financial future, but the financial future of your children as well.  Have you discussed the custody arrangements with your soon to be former spouse?  Do you know if you will stay in the area after divorce, or will economic factors drive you to find work elsewhere? All are important factors to consider during the divorce proceedings.  This is why having a child custody attorney is so crucial.  Not only will he or she act as an advocate on your behalf, but also provide useful and insightful knowledge about future needs you many not foresee.

The time to think about possible relocation isn’t just during your divorce proceedings; you need to consider that possibility after the divorce decree has been signed.  If you do not decide on a joint parenting arrangement and have sole custody of your child, you can still expect a fight from your former spouse.  Even with visitation only available for a few times a year, you must consider as the court would whether or not the move will be in the best interests of the child.  Columbus, Ohio child custody attorneys recommend consulting with someone who has experience dealing with child custody matters before planning a to move a child out of state away your spouse.

If you have already relocated and are facing challenges from your former spouse, a child custody attorney can help.  An attorney can help you communicate with your former spouse, and even advocate for your rights if you must modify any parenting orders.  Find an attorney well versed in the modification of child support orders and one who understands the needs of a child during a divorce.

Our child support attorneys  have over 30 years of experience and know the ins-and-outs of child support. If you are considering pursuing a modification of child support, you can trust our Columbus, Ohio child support attorneys to provide you with sound and well-reasoned advice to help meet your needs and those of your children.

Dividing Property and Debt in an Ohio Divorce

Property division could turn an otherwise amicable divorce into a contentious fight for marital assets.  Likewise, the allocation of debt could cause additional stress and could lead to additional strain on the relationship.  During these difficult times, it is important to find the balance when seeking a settlement with your spouse, lest the courts become involved and divide all property and debts.  Amicable division or property and debts is always best, because when the court gets involved everything is generally split 50/50, which may not be fair to each spouse.  Finding the right attorney to help is crucial so you can come to a fair division or property and debt in divorce. 

First, the division of marital property is complex.  Marital property is the property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage.  This includes but is not limited to: marital home, vacation property purchased with joint funds, and artwork.  During the divorce process, it is important to accurately record the value of the property so each spouse receives a fair portion of the marital property.  You will need to make a note of all property that each person brought with them into the marriage, generally known as individual property.  This can includes cars, artwork, and even small business assets.  Understanding the fine line that separates marital and individual property is very important, which is why hiring a property division lawyer is key.  When you work with a professional to review all financial records and property records, you have a better chance of receiving a fair division of assets.

Not only must there be an accurate accounting of the marital property, but there also must be an accounting of the debt accrued by both spouses.  Debts accrued during the marriage include, but are not limited to: mortgage payments, joint credit card debt, and medical expenses.  Courts have the authority to divide the debts of a marriage as they would property of a marriage.  As such, knowing the true nature and value of the debt is important.  The court will examine these debts and divide the debt equitably, as they see fit.  If you and your spouse are considering divorce and hope to come to your own settlement terms, it is important to first have an attorney review your debts as well as your property so there is a fair division.  By keeping the matter out of court and settling the matter with the help of attorneys, you can divide the property in a way that may be more beneficial to you.

One of the most common financial questions that divorcing spouses ask about property and debt division is closely tied to keeping the marital property after divorce.  So what happens if you keep the house, and you still owe the bank money?   If there are mortgage payments that are still to be made on the property, the spouse who retains the home is responsible for the debt associated with the property.  In most cases, the spouse remaining in the marital home will “buy out” the departing spouse and will then be responsible for all debts and tax benefits that follow the property.  Additionally, when spouses have car loans or other vehicle loans the debt follows the property and the spouse who retains the property pays the debt.

Medical debt is considered a marital asset, so any medical expenses accrued before the date of the separation are considered divisible debt in the divorce.  In many states medical debt is split 50/50 between both spouses, unless only one spouse is employed.  If both spouses are working courts will generally divide the debt equitably. Even if your significant other promises to pay the medical debt before you sign a divorce decree, you will need to get the statement in writing.  Any promise to pay debts will not be enforceable without the correct wording on the divorce decree.  Division of marital debt can be difficult, so finding the right property division lawyer in Columbus, Ohio can help review your specific situation and advise the best course of action.

Not all debt is created equal, so not all debt is split as medical expenses or joint credit card bills.  Unlike the debt incurred to further the marriage, certain debts which one spouse incurs with know knowledge of the other spouse is not considered marital debt.  Examples of such debt include: huge credit cards bills in one spouse’s name, gambling debt, or debt incurred purchasing an additional home for a friend or lover.  If brought before the court, the spouse who racked up the debt without the consent of his or her significant other will be forced to pay for the debt.  Finding the right attorney is crucial, as a trained property division lawyer can advocate for your rights and make sure the only debts divided in the divorce are marital debts.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to think about the financial ramifications of dividing property and debt.  As a property division lawyer, we can advise you on the best course of action and the most beneficial division of assets for your future needs. Work with a team of experts to research and properly analyze marital property and debt to discover the right settlement solution for you.  Every situation is different, which is why hiring a professional with years of experience to help you transition to the next chapter in your life is so crucial.  Contact the property division attorneys for a free consultation.  To arrange a mutually convenient time for your initial consultation, contact us by phone email email.

Documents to Keep after Your Divorce

Divorce is a difficult process, and the last thing many want to consider is what legal documents or other documents to keep after the divorce.  Although many are tempted to discard all traces of their marital records, it is important to retain many of those documents.  Rather than trash the paper trail that you have built up to this point of your life, save the documents and find a system to help make them easily available when necessary.  While attorneys advise against destroying any important documentation, the following are crucial documents that you should preserve after your divorce. 

  1. Last Will and Testament

An updated last will and testament should be executed after the divorce decree, however if you have not had the chance to complete the process, retain your current will.  As mentioned in previous blog posts, it is important to have an up-to-date will and to update the document any time there is a major life change.  This is especially important should you have sole custody of your children.  Your last will and testament is the document that is an instruction manual once you are gone.   This is the place to address issues like guardianship of minor children, property division, and donations you wish to have made in your name.  A divorce counts as a major life change that triggers will revision. A Dublin, Ohio divorce attorney can help you understand the challenges you would face without an updated will.

  1. Life Insurance Paperwork

As mentioned above, divorce signals a time to change many important documents.  This includes your insurance policy.  If you or your spouse has a life insurance policy listing each other as the beneficiary, it is time to contact the insurance company and make a change.  Unlike your will, the insurance company won’t look to see if there has been a divorce decree.  The company will pay out on the policy as directed in the documentation.  Be sure to retain a copy of the life insurance policy if you are listed as your ex-spouse’s beneficiary, as you are entitled to the benefits as long as you are listed as the beneficiary.  If time comes to collect on the policy, and your former spouse has not yet changed the beneficiary, you are entitled to the policy proceeds.

On the other hand, be sure to change the beneficiary of your life insurance policy to reflect your new marital status.  Should you fail to do so, your ex-spouse will collect on the event of your death.  A divorce attorney in Dublin, Ohio can help walk you through all the documents that will need revision after the divorce.  It’s important to have a trusted advocate on your side to advise you during these challenging times.

  1. Copies of Checks, Money Orders, or Other Payment Documentation

Retain copies or receipts of payments if you are receiving child support or spousal support from your ex-spouse.  Attorneys suggest you receive the payments in check form to allow for a paper trail of the payments.  However, if your ex-spouse insists on paying in cash, you should make a record of the payment by providing him or her with a receipt.   Log all these payments using either a notepad, or track the money using spreadsheet program.  If payments are decreasing, increasing, or are just infrequent, it is important to have the evidence to back that up.  Should you find yourself in trouble financially due to unpaid child support, you should contact a Dublin, Ohio divorce attorney to help you get the support you deserve.

  1. Marriage License

Your marriage license is still an important legal document, even after the court issues a divorce decree.  As tempting as it may be to destroy the document once your divorce is finalized, you will need it to seek certain benefits.  If you and your ex-spouse were married for more than 10 years, then you are entitled to your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits.  To collect the benefits, you will need to contact the Social Security Administration and provide information about the length of your marriage and your divorce decree, all with the requisite documents.  Working with a divorce attorney can help save you the hassle of remembering the specifics.  Your attorney will remind you what documents need to be retained and how to best store the original documents.

  1. Settlement Agreement, Child Support Order, and Divorce Decree

Keeping a copy of the settlement agreement, child support order, and divorce degree is crucial.  This is true especially if you have to seek court support to enforce any part of the final divorce decree or child support order.  Much like retaining financial records of payments from your former spouse, the original documents will help substantiate any claim for breach of agreement between you and your ex.  When you hire an advocate to represent you during the divorce process, your divorce attorney will remind you which documents should be kept safe for future use.

In addition to the aforementioned documents, you should always keep a copy of any court documents after the divorce.  Again as tempting as it may be to celebrate the conclusion of the divorce proceedings with a ceremonial burning of the documents, attorneys recommend you retain all court documents.  Speak with your divorce attorney about which documents he or she will keep on file, and which you are expected to keep in your own records.

Finally, when the divorce has been finalized, it may come time to move. Make sure you know where these documents are at all times during a move.  Treat the documents as you would your wallet.  If you find yourself moving from location to location without a stable or secure place to store your legal documents, consider a safety deposit box at a local bank.  The cost will be offset by the peace of mind you have knowing the legal documents are safe.  It is often best to find the right firm to represent you as your divorce attorney. Dublin, Ohio attorneys Edward F. Whipps & Associates can help guide you through this uncertain time.

Finding the right advocate is important, that is why it is best to find a divorce attorney close to home.  Here at Edward F. Whipps & Associates, we want you to know you don’t have tackle this all on your own.  Although divorce can be daunting hiring the right attorneys can reduce the stress of navigating through the process.  With over 30 years of experience and a unique understanding of psychology and it’s role in the process, the attorneys at Edward F. Whipps & Associates are well equipped to maximize your results with the most efficient and respectful legal approaches.

Why Should You Think Twice about Divorce without a Lawyer?

Divorce is something that one should not face alone, especially due to the sensitive emotional nature of the process.  Often couples assume they can file for divorce without the aide of an attorney.  Those who try often face challenges they could not have foreseen including: uncertainty of the future, negotiation challenges, and unfamiliarity with the court system.  Here are a few reasons why you should think twice about divorce without an attorney.

Uncertainty of the Future

The divorce process brings with it uncertainty.  This includes uncertainty about the financial future, what to do with the marital home, and what will happen to the children. Such questions are at the heart of the process that affects so many families.  Attorneys with a focus in divorce and family law can help guide you through these uncertain times.  Attorneys will bring the requisite knowledge and expertise to help you plan for your future, both financially and legally.  Family law attorneys will often help with estate planning and with other things you may overlook when going through a divorce.

Uncertainty can put stress on many people in different ways, and this is especially important when spouses with children divorce.  Children at different ages will respond in different ways to the divorce process.  An attorney can come in and act as an advocate for the rights of the children as well, especially if you fear for the safety of your children.  If you feel your spouse has said or done things that you find may indicate a personality disorder, it is important to work with a firm with a background in psychology to find the necessary resolution.  Finding a law firm where Children Matter Most is important, especially when you feel a child may be at risk because of the behavior of your spouse.

Negotiation Challenges

Many spouses are not aware of their future financial needs and tend to attempt to evenly split the assets 50/50.  With so many marriages ending amicably, negotiations are less confrontational and more cooperative.  Being fully prepared to explain your future needs even in cooperative situations will lead to better relations after the divorce decree has been finalized.  Hiring a Columbus, Ohio divorce attorney can help prepare you for the negotiation and settlement proceedings that follow your initial decision to divorce.  Even with amicable settlements, it is important to have an advocate who can fight for your rights and future interests.

Unfamiliarity with the Court System

Procedural crime dramas only showcase part of the legal system, so as a viewer you are unaware of the multiple hours of research and planning that go into the courtroom scenes.  If you were to prepare for a divorce without the aid of an attorney, you would need to complete all the requisite research that attorneys have spend years completing.

In addition to the research involved in learning the procedures in court, you would need to track your own trial and hearing dates.  For some, attending the various scheduling conferences and appearing for the trial dates equates to time away from work and possible threat of unemployment.  In Columbus, Ohio, divorce attorneys are able to work together with the court and schedule events at times that are mutually convenient.  Attorneys act as advocates and can represent you and your interests at each stage of the divorce.

Lastly, it is important to remember that experienced attorneys will have the resources and knowledge to help prepare your case.  Attending a hearing or other settlement negotiation on your own can be daunting, so it is important to hire a professional to prepare the requisite documentation.  This is especially true if you suspect your spouse may have a personality disorder, and the judge requires evidence of such a disorder.  Many Columbus, Ohio divorce attorneys would not have the background needed to address psychological concerns, which is why hiring the right attorney is so important.

We have a solid understanding of personality disorders and the impact that they make on divorce proceedings and child custody arrangements.  It is important to protect your interests and those of your child if you suspect your spouse has a personality disorder, and if you are faced with the possibility of divorce.  We will advocate for you and your children with the requisite experience and knowledge need to prove to the court the presence of a personality disorder should one exist.

Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Divorce Cases

Divorce can be expensive, time consuming, and emotionally draining. Traditionally, divorce disputes played out in the court. However, there are alternatives to traditional litigation that may be more appropriate for your situation. If you are looking or a Columbus, Ohio family lawyer, make sure he or she is knowledgeable about alternative dispute resolution.

Negotiation

Simple negotiation with your spouse and his or her attorney can be the one of the best ways to resolve disputes without having to use the Courts. Sitting down at a table with both lawyers and making decisions about how the divorce will operate can save time and money if the parties can be reasonable.

Mediation

In mediation, you set down with your spouse and a third party called a mediator. The mediator facilitates communication and discussion between parties to help them reach a voluntary agreement about their dispute. Mediators are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice. Mediators are also not able to make decisions for the parties.

Mediation allows the parties to retain control over decision- making and consider each party’s needs and interests, and to create a plan that best fits their unique situation. Because mediation does not focus on evidence and the law as in an adversarial process, the potential for long-term conflict between the parties may be reduced. Mediation in Franklin County, when children are involved, is free.

One disadvantage to mediation is that you cannot take your lawyer into mediation. Mediators also cannot individually counsel either party. The mediator is, for example, limited in getting necessary information if one party is reluctant to provide it.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce, also called collaborative dissolution, is a “team” process in which the parties engage attorneys and other professionals to assist in the negotiation and settlement of their dispute. Collaborative law uses an “interdisciplinary model,” meaning that third-party “neutrals” (such as CPAs, valuation experts, child psychologists and mental health professionals) are engaged to assist the team. The goal is not to just get signatures on the dotted line, but also to address underlying issues in reaching a lasting agreement.

One advantage of a collaborative divorce is that it focuses negotiations on helping parties to communicate effectively over the long term. This generally minimizes the negative impact upon children. It is also less expensive, both financially and emotionally, than litigation. All information is shared and all negotiations take place in face-to-face “four-way” meetings. Generally, these meetings foster trust because the other spouse’s attorney does not function as an adversary. Each of the lawyers is retained for the limited purpose of helping the clients reach an acceptable settlement without litigation or threats of litigation. This allows the lawyers to focus on creative solutions rather than on preparation for trial.

One disadvantage is that, if the collaborative process fails, neither lawyer who was engaged in the process can continue to represent the client. Therefore, each client must retain new counsel for litigation. At any time during collaborative negotiations, each side has the unilateral right to terminate the process and force the other party into litigation.

Neutral Evaluation

Neutral evaluation involves bringing in an experienced third party with experience in family law. The third party evaluates each side of the case and articulates an opinion regarding the case. Both parties present information and the neutral offers each party a confidential opinion regarding the likely outcome of the case and an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of each side’s arguments. Through neutral evaluation, both parties get a realistic view of the case and to encourage settlement.

The neutral party acts as an educator, consultant and evaluator. This can encourage the parties to explore a broad range of creative options and solutions. Neutral evaluation provides a map of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case. The neutral evaluator does not provide any individual, personal or legal advice. Also, the neutral does not draft documents for either party. At the end of this process, the parties are referred to other lawyers for personal advice and drafting of documents.

In cases where parties are in high conflict or where there are personality disorders or drug or alcohol addiction issues, this option may not be appropriate or effective. Since the parties’ lawyers generally do not participate directly in the negotiations, any agreement that was reached may be scuttled once each party receives her or his lawyer’s critique.

Although divorce can sometimes be a time consuming and expensive process, it is often possible to work out mutually amicable solutions without such extensive litigation.

10 Questions You Should Ask an Ohio Divorce Attorney

Hiring a family law attorney in Ohio can be a challenge. There are many different divorce lawyers throughout the area. If you are going through a divorce, it’s important to find an attorney that makes you feel comfortable. Sometimes the best way to find the right attorney is to sit down with someone face to face. Here are some questions to consider asking when you are interviewing divorce attorneys in Dublin, Ohio.

1. Experience. What experience do you have working on family law matters?

2. Philosophy. Do you believe it is better to mediate and negotiate than to go to trial? What issues are worth the cost of trial?

3. Fees. Can you explain your fee arrangement? What other costs do you expect will be involved (i.e., for private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, and/or psychologists), and how will you charge me for them?

4. Strategy. Based on what you know about my case, what would you suggest as a strategy or plan? Will you ask my opinion before planning strategy?

5. Counseling. How can you help me understand the complex legal issues involved in divorce? How will you counsel me on other aspects of divorce?

6. Communication. If I need to reach you, what is the best time of day? How long does it take for you to return calls or documents related to my case? Can I reach you via email?

7. Information. Will I be kept informed of all developments in my case? Will I receive copies of documents filed with the court, all communication with my spouse’s attorney and any other documents related to my case?

8. Relationships. Are you familiar with local Domestic Court Judges and how they rule?

9. Child Custody. Do you have experience dealing with child custody issues? What is your opinion on joint custody versus sole custody?

10. Financial Knowledge. Do you understand the complex financial issues that arise in divorce cases? Can you help me with tax or bankruptcy issues that may arise?

The Dublin, Ohio family law attorneys at Edward F. Whipps & Associates have over 30 years of experience. We understand the importance of starting a relationship on the right foot and strive to make our clients comfortable from the beginning. We take the time to give you straight forward honest answers to all of your questions.

How to Determine Business Valuation in a Divorce

The appraisal of a Business or Professional Practice is a complex matter. To properly determine the overall value of the business, it is essential to gain access to all of the financial records related to the business. Access to the chief operating officer or principal of the business and often to the business’ accountant is often very important. Then selecting an appropriate business or professional practice appraiser is almost always needed.

Most competent business appraisers analyze business and professional practices using three basic approaches:

  • A market approach
  • An income approach
  • An asset approach

These three approaches are complex and require considerable expertise but with the results of all three approaches available, an analysis of all three will aid greatly in determining the fair value and also be essential in supporting the appraisal result. Having an experienced attorney who will work with the accountants and the forensic appraiser is essential.

Once a valuation is obtained, it is very important that a fair and equitable division be made. If one or both spouses are active in the business, it is essential that the success of the business is not disrupted by inappropriate changes. If only one spouse is to retain the business or professional practice, it is important to off-set the value in a division of other assets to the other spouse.

The key is to determine the best strategy to fairly divide the business or professional practice. It is, therefore, essential that you have an attorney with extensive experience in identifying the most effective strategy for accomplishing a fair property division. An attorney with such extensive experience and good working relationships with a network of forensic accounts, analysts and business valuation experts will best perform the wide range of services needed and provide the best counsel in accomplishing a result that will work for you.

Our attorneys have the experience and close relationships with the needed experts as well as the knowledge of how to acquire all of the relevant information needed. They frequently identify unique strategies that are specific to the given situation. If you would like to schedule a confidential, in-depth consultation

5 Tips for Finding the Right Divorce Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

Having to go through a divorce can be a very stressful and overwhelming process; however, with the right lawyer guiding you along the way, the process can be much more comfortable.  To assist you in selecting the right lawyer for you and your specific case, consider these 5 tips:

  1. Find an attorney who limits his or her practice to family law
    In most divorce situations, experience is an essential element in the attorney’s capacity to represent you with a full understanding of the complex and ever changing nature of the laws related to divorce, custody, support and property division.  A lawyer whose practice covers a range of areas that may include criminal defense, personal injury, bankruptcy or other areas simply is likely to spread the attorney’s ability to stay current on all of the statutory and case law that will affect your case.
  2.  Think carefully about what will be the most important issues in your situation
    Will the primary concern be related to the custody and parenting time issues that you and your children face?  Will the division of your marital property be the primary focus?  Is child support and spousal support a matter of real importance to you?  Look for an attorney who has the actual experience of dealing with the issues most important to your situation and who has a well-established record of success in such cases.
  3.  Are you concerned about psychological issues that relate to your spouse or to your children?  If so, be sure to look for an attorney with a good understanding of psychology and child development
    Law schools do not train lawyers in psychology or child development matters yet often psychological problems are at the heart of divorce and family problems.  In such situations, it is very important to find an attorney who has a strong background in psychology so that the strategies that are utilized will be tailored to your specific case and to the needs of you and your children.  Lawyers without such a background frequently develop strategies that are ineffective and expensive and do not ultimately serve your family well.
  4. Be open with any prospective lawyer about what is most important to you
    Plan ahead and come to an interview with a list of the questions you need to have answered.  Give the attorney an opportunity to ask you questions before starting to ask your own.  This will give you a chance to get a feel for the personality and style of the attorney and a chance to see if you are comfortable with them.  He or she may answer many of your questions even before you ask.  Always ask what steps the attorney will take to address your concerns and goals.  Is his or her plan specific to your case or does it feel like the attorney basically takes the same approach to every case?
  5. When you interview an attorney in your initial consultation, trust yourself and your own instincts
    You know yourself far better than any attorney can know you.  You know what is really important to you.  Mostly, you will know whether the attorney is someone with whom you feel comfortable to discuss your situation with.  Do you feel you can trust the attorney?  Does he or she explain things in a way that you can readily understand?  Are you comfortable asking questions without fear that they may seem “dumb?”  Do you feel confident that you will be kept well informed about the progress of your case?   Your initial impressions and feelings will give you important guidance in selecting the attorney that is right for your case.

We hope these tips are helpful to you.  Remember that you are placing a great deal in the hands of the attorney you select to guide you.  The next several months can be important to set you on a course for happiness for yourself and your family for the years ahead.

5 Tips for Finding the Right Divorce Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

Having to go through a divorce can be a very stressful and overwhelming process; however, with the right lawyer guiding you along the way, the process can be much more comfortable.  To assist you in selecting the right lawyer for you and your specific case, consider these 5 tips:

  1. Find an attorney who limits his or her practice to family law
    In most divorce situations, experience is an essential element in the attorney’s capacity to represent you with a full understanding of the complex and ever changing nature of the laws related to divorce, custody, support and property division.  A lawyer whose practice covers a range of areas that may include criminal defense, personal injury, bankruptcy or other areas simply is likely to spread the attorney’s ability to stay current on all of the statutory and case law that will affect your case.
  2.  Think carefully about what will be the most important issues in your situation
    Will the primary concern be related to the custody and parenting time issues that you and your children face?  Will the division of your marital property be the primary focus?  Is child support and spousal support a matter of real importance to you?  Look for an attorney who has the actual experience of dealing with the issues most important to your situation and who has a well-established record of success in such cases.
  3.  Are you concerned about psychological issues that relate to your spouse or to your children?  If so, be sure to look for an attorney with a good understanding of psychology and child development
    Law schools do not train lawyers in psychology or child development matters yet often psychological problems are at the heart of divorce and family problems.  In such situations, it is very important to find an attorney who has a strong background in psychology so that the strategies that are utilized will be tailored to your specific case and to the needs of you and your children.  Lawyers without such a background frequently develop strategies that are ineffective and expensive and do not ultimately serve your family well.
  4. Be open with any prospective lawyer about what is most important to you
    Plan ahead and come to an interview with a list of the questions you need to have answered.  Give the attorney an opportunity to ask you questions before starting to ask your own.  This will give you a chance to get a feel for the personality and style of the attorney and a chance to see if you are comfortable with them.  He or she may answer many of your questions even before you ask.  Always ask what steps the attorney will take to address your concerns and goals.  Is his or her plan specific to your case or does it feel like the attorney basically takes the same approach to every case?
  5. When you interview an attorney in your initial consultation, trust yourself and your own instincts
    You know yourself far better than any attorney can know you.  You know what is really important to you.  Mostly, you will know whether the attorney is someone with whom you feel comfortable to discuss your situation with.  Do you feel you can trust the attorney?  Does he or she explain things in a way that you can readily understand?  Are you comfortable asking questions without fear that they may seem “dumb?”  Do you feel confident that you will be kept well informed about the progress of your case?   Your initial impressions and feelings will give you important guidance in selecting the attorney that is right for your case.

We hope these tips are helpful to you.  Remember that you are placing a great deal in the hands of the attorney you select to guide you.  The next several months can be important to set you on a course for happiness for yourself and your family for the years ahead.