Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: What Are My Rights if My Spouse Has Cheated?

Few people find it fair to learn that the answer to this question, in most Ohio cases,  it is none.  It seems fundamentally unfair that a married person can commit adultery and face no consequences, monetary or otherwise. Yet, in an Ohio court of law, there are no penalties against people who have committed adultery and, in fact, rarely will a court even be interested in hearing the details. The reason for this is a court looks at  marriage like a business partnership.  It is the obligation of the court to determine the assets and debts of the marital partnership and equitably divide those assets and debts, and to then decide if support is appropriate.  Nowhere will you find among the factors a court is to consider  whether someone was at fault. The few exceptions to this rule relate to financial misconduct or the determination of the best interest of children. If...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: How to Obtain Exclusive Occupancy of the Marital Residence

During a divorce proceeding, it is not uncommon for one party to want exclusive occupancy of the marital residence, meaning that the other party would be required to vacate the residence and would not be permitted to enter without the remaining spouse's permission. Unless there is a court order granting one party exclusive occupancy, both spouses have the right to remain in the marital residence regardless of how the house is titled. Often one spouse may voluntarily vacate the residence. Such an action does not cause the vacating spouse to lose any property rights he or she has in the house. However, if the parties have minor children, vacating the residence could have an impact on the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. Therefore, a party should consult with an attorney about what impact this may have on the parenting issues prior to taking any action. The process of obtaining exclusive occupancy...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Do Non-Parents Have Any Custody Rights in Ohio Courts?

It is becoming increasingly common for grandparents and other non-parents to seek custody of children. A number of factors could contribute to this including the rise in substance use, domestic abuse, a parent passing away, etc. Some questions from a grandparent or non-parent might be: Can I obtain custody or any other rights? What are the legal standards involved? First, it is important to note that custody and visitation are two separate concepts. Legal custody means that the adult has physical care and control of the child as well as the right to make decisions regarding the child's health, education, welfare, and other major decisions. If someone has “visitation rights” or “companionship rights” with a child, this refers to certain days and times the adult has with the child. Parents are afforded a constitutionally protected due process right to the care and custody of their children. The U.S. Supreme Court has held...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: How Are A Spouse’s Rights To The Other Party’s Social Security Benefits Determined In A Divorce?

One’s rights to claim Social Security benefits under their ex-spouse’s earned benefits is determined by federal law, rather than state domestic relations law.  For this reason, except in very unusual situations, a divorce or dissolution decree is silent as to the parties’ rights to claim under the other party’s benefits after the divorce. The Social Security Administration states that you can receive benefits if you were married to an ex-spouse for more than 10 years, you are 62 or older, you are currently unmarried AND your benefits from your own work record would be lower than the benefits you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.  The latter determination is whether your own earned benefits are less than one-half of your ex-spouse’s benefits.  What is often surprising to most people is that a divorced spouse’s benefit does not reduce the other spouse’s earned benefit.  In other words, the Social Security Administration...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Do I Need a Guardian ad Litem or Custody Investigation? 

When parents decide to end their marriage or relationship, the children become a central focus of the negotiation.  The parents must decide how the children will be cared for and supported while living in two different households.  These decisions include recognizing that each of them cannot spend as much time with the children as they had become accustomed to and face significant impacts to their cash flow.   If the parents cannot agree on the custody arrangements for the children, then a court will ultimately decide which parent should make decisions for the children and how the parents will share time.   Depending on the county where your case is pending, you may have various options to provide information to the Court about your wishes and the needs of the children.  The two most common are the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem and Custody Investigation.  While neither are necessary in a custody case,...