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Domestic Relations

Domestic Relations

Divorce, Dissolution, Child Custody, Child Support and Family Counseling are some of the many issues that clients may need to deal with in the Domestic Relations area of the law.

These issues are often very emotional and usually life altering.  Mr. Schwartz understands the emotional toll and personal needs associated with these matters and is dedicated to assisting his clients work through these tough legal and family issues.

Types of custody Ohio child custody laws and courts support

Sole physical custody: Ohio child custody laws and courts recognize sole physical custody as one co-parent holding the day-to-day care responsibilities for the child. This co-parent is referred to as the custodial parent and the primary residence of the child. The other co-parent is often given visitation rights to the child, which may vary depending on the court’s observations. Only in extreme cases does the other co-parent receive no visitation rights. Unmarried mothers are automatically given sole physical and sole legal custody of their child, unless Ohio child custody laws and courts provide clear evidence not to approve this.

Joint physical custody: Ohio child custody laws and courts recognize joint physical custody as both co-parents acting as primary caretakers of the child. The child is a resident of both households. The details of this arrangement are determined by the court’s custody order. This time is often not split in half, the percentage of time that each co-parent spends with each co-parent is determined by the court based on their judgment of what is best for the child. In order for joint physical custody to be granted, Ohio child custody laws require that one co-parent submit a shared parenting plan to the court. The court may then review this plan and determine whether or not it is in the best interest of the child. If no parenting plan is submitted, the court will designate one co-parent as the custodial parent.

Legal custody: The Ohio child custody laws and courts most often prefer to grant joint legal custody to co-parents. Joint legal custody means that both co-parents are actively involved in the decision making process for the child, such as for educational, health, and religious decisions. Joint legal custody is seen as being in the best interest of the child since both co-parents are actively involved in parenting the child. Sole legal custody is typically only used in extreme cases and is not preferred by the courts. The Ohio child custody laws and courts are much like any other state when determining what the best interests of the child are. The following are a few of these factors that the courts look at in determining the best interests of the child.

• The child’s preferences between co-parents. This is only taken into account if the courts see the child as being of a certain age and displays a certain level of maturity.

• The observations of the personal relationships between the child and each co-parent.

• The child’s current school and personal situation, meaning how well the child would be able to adapt to a change in location.

• The mental and physical health of each co-parent and their abilities to care for a child.

• The court will take into account any criminal record or offense committed by either co-parent.

Once the Ohio child custody laws and courts have appointed a final custody and visitation agreement there are many tools available for you to use to help you honor your agreement. These tools can help you to create an organized parenting plan calendar to keep you on track, and help you communicate with your co-parent. Conflict management between your co-parent and yourself is often a struggle after a recent divorce. The Our Family Wizard website® aims to greatly reduce this conflict, providing a safe and healthy environment for your children. After consulting an attorney about Ohio child custody laws, the next step is to determine your rights and responsibilities as a co-parent after finalizing your custody agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions in Family Law:

What is the difference between a divorce and a dissolution?

A divorce is more like a traditional lawsuit in which one party sues the other, citing specific grounds for the divorce. It is an adversarial process that typically involves more time and expense than a dissolution, ultimately ending with a court ordered termination of the marriage based upon the court finding that certain grounds for the divorce exist. A dissolution is generally a more amicable process in which both the husband and wife agree to all property division, spousal support and, if there are minor children, custody and child support issues before the case is filed. Dissolutions are generally resolved much more quickly and with considerably less cost than divorces. Both divorce and dissolution result in the termination of the marriage.

Do I need a legal separation before I can file for divorce/dissolution?

No. A legal separation is a not a prerequisite for filing a divorce or a dissolution. Rather, legal separation is a contract for married couples who wish to remain legally married but live apart while having a formal, legal arrangement in writing for the support and maintenance of a spouse and the children, a visitation plan, and perhaps continuation of health coverage. Traditionally, couples sought legal separation for religious reasons.[/slide]

Once I have a legal separation, am I still required to file for divorce/dissolution if I decide I no longer want to be married?

Yes. It is a popular misconception that a legal separation eliminates the need for filing for divorce or dissolution should you and your spouse ultimately decide to end the marriage. If you have obtained a legal separation through the domestic relations court and you choose to terminate your marriage for good, you are still required to file for divorce or dissolution.[/slide]

How much spousal support will I have to pay?

In Ohio, spousal support is calculated based on a list of factors, including but not limited to the income of the parties, the relative earning capacities of the parties, the ages and health of the parties, the parties’ available retirement benefits, the length of the marriage, etc. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding spousal support, the court will examine these factors on a case by case basis to determine what constitutes a fair and reasonable amount and duration for spousal support. Because, unlike child support, there is no mathematical formula for calculating spousal support, this area of property distribution in a divorce can become a hotly contested area. It is important to consult with an attorney who will assess your case fairly and accurately and work with you to preserve a balanced relationship with the other side, especially when minor children are involved.[/slide]


Aaron Schwartz, a reliable Cleveland Divorce Attorney practices law in Cleveland, Akron, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Bedford Heights, Garfield Heights, Rocky River, Westlake, Avon, Hudson, Aurora, Solon, Shaker Heights, Beachwood, Lyndhurst, Chardon, Ravenna, Mentor, Willoughby, Painesville, Ashtabula

Call Aaron today if you’re looking for a Child Custody Attorney, Child Support or Family Counseling Attorney in Cuyahoga County, Lake County, Portage County, Geauga County, Summit County, Ashtabula County, and Lorain County.