Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: When Can The Child Decide?

When discussing issues of custody and parenting time, a very common question is “at what age does my child get to decide where he or she lives” or alternatively, “when can my child decide when he or she wants to see the other parent.”  There is a common misconception that at a certain age, whether it is 12 or 16, that a child will have the right to determine which parent has custody or what his or her  parenting time with each parent will be.   However, that is not the case in Ohio. Rather, under Ohio law, both custody and parenting time, is determined by the Court after considering a wide range of  relevant factors which help the Court to ascertain what is in the child’s best interest. (O.R.C. 3109.04 and 3109.051) Some of these factors include the wishes of the child’s parents, the child’s interactions and interrelationship with his or...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: The Role Of The Family Relations Specialist In Collaborative Divorce

When a couple decides on a collaborative divorce, each party must engage his or her own attorney; preferably an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative model.  There are other professionals that can be engaged and it is up to the parties and their attorneys to decide if other professionals are appropriate.  There are two types of professionals that are part of the Cincinnati Collaborative Group Practice.  These are family relations specialists (“FRS”) and financial neutrals.  This post addresses the role of the family relations specialist.   Our family relations specialists are all psychologists or trained therapists.  Generally speaking, the FRS uses their specialized skills and training to coach people through the major transition of ending their marriage.  In addition to the purely legal considerations in a marital termination, social, emotional and parenting concerns are among the many issues competing for the couple’s attention.  The goal is to navigate through these...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Is it Important to Establish Paternity in Ohio?

When a child is born to married parents or within 300 days of the termination of a marriage, there is a legal presumption that the husband is the father of the child. However, it is increasingly common that children are born to unmarried parents. In this case, there is no an automatic presumption, and fathers must take further steps to establish paternity. Establishing paternity is important because it is necessary for fathers to establish parenting rights, for the child to be able to inherit Social Security and Veteran’s benefits from the father, and it provides a sense of identity for the child.   There are a few different options on how an unmarried father may establish paternity. Both parents can sign a Paternity Affidavit, a document that acknowledges who the biological parents are without the need for genetic testing. This form is usually generated by the hospital but it can also be...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Where is Custody Determined if My Child Lives In Another State?

In custody determinations, there is often a question of which state has the power to make decisions for a child, or in legal terms, “has jurisdiction”. The issue presents itself when parents live in two different states, or both parents leave the state where an original custody decision was made.   In an initial custody determination between parents the court that has jurisdiction over the child is the court in the child's home state. Home state is defined in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) as “the state in which the child has lived with a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of the child-custody proceeding.” It can also mean the state where the child lived in the 6 months prior to commencement of the action even if the child is no longer living in the state.   For example, if a mother lived with her...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Can I Legally Change My Child’s Name?

Parents can petition the Court to legally change their child’s name. Such petitions are filed through the Probate Court. If both parents agree that the change is in the child’s best interest, it is a simple process involving basic paperwork and a filing fee. However, there are often cases where one parent requests the name change and the other parent does not believe the change is in the child’s best interest. For example, if the parents are unmarried, the mother may have chosen the child’s name without any input from the father and the father, after obtaining other legal rights such as parenting time and/or custodial rights, may request that the child have his last name instead of mother’s last name. In other cases, the child may have the father’s last name, but due to specific circumstances, mother may no longer believe it is in the child’s best interest to...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Is Legal Separation Right for Me?

There are many reasons why a client might consider a legal separation. Here, we will explain exactly what a legal separation is, and a few of the common reasons people seek to enter into a legal separation.   First, it should be noted that a legal separation is not the same as a physical or “trial” separation. Many couples physically separate prior to terminating their marriage. These physical separations may be very informal, with one spouse moving out and the parties making informal agreements as to how they will divide time with their children and manage the monthly expenses. A physical separation could also be accomplished with the assistance of attorneys, who would help parties to negotiate these terms. This situation is different than a legal separation, which is a specific type of legal proceeding.   In a legal separation, the parties go through essentially all of the same steps as they would in...