Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Do I Need a Lawyer, And How Do I Choose?

With so much information available on the internet, many people question if they need a lawyer in a family law matter.  There are no legal proceedings that require a lawyer. The availability of family law forms on the internet has made it far more common for people to be unrepresented. The problem with forms on the internet is these forms are not prepared with your facts in mind. Nor are there explanations of considerations that must be made if other circumstances exist which are not covered by the forms. It may seem like a very simple matter, to just check certain boxes on the forms, but it's what you don’t know that can hurt you.   As a general rule, if retirement benefits are going to be divided, professional assistance is needed because a specific order, known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, is required. Many people may not even understand, after looking...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Is it Mine or is it Ours: Tracing Separate Property Interests

A major consideration when contemplating a divorce is how assets and debts will be divided between the spouses.  In Ohio, any asset or debt accumulated during the course of a marriage is presumed marital and subject to division by the court unless it can be shown that the asset or debt is separate or non-marital.  There are three main types of separate property: inheritance, gifts, and property owned prior to marriage.  These categories of property are not subject to division by the Court.  To the extent that any asset or debt is solely the separate property of one spouse, then that spouse will retain the asset or debt in the divorce free from any claims the other spouse.   Complications arise when a spouse's separate property is commingled with marital property.  For example, Wife receives an inheritance when her father passes away.  This money, if deposited in a separate account with no...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Same-Sex Marriage Questions & Answers

With its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (June 26, 2015), the United States Supreme Court has secured the right to marriage, and also divorce, for all same-sex couples across the country. Following this momentous decision, gay and lesbian couples now have an array of legal options that were previously unavailable. Along with these options may come some questions. In this post, we will attempt to answer a few of the most common questions that have come up since same-sex marriage was legalized. The first and most obvious is, can I now marry my partner anywhere in the country? And the answer is yes! Now for some more difficult questions:   Q: If I was previously married in a state that allowed same-sex marriage, can I now get divorced anywhere?   A: Yes, but you still must meet the general requirements for jurisdiction and venue that exist for all divorces. In Ohio, you must reside...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: The Question of Moving Out of the Marital Home

One of the most common misconceptions is that a person will be found to have “abandoned” their home, by moving out, and that there will be a loss of rights resulting from this action. There is nothing in Ohio law that provides for a loss of rights if one moves out of the marital home. The home continues to be a marital asset and both spouses will be entitled to share in the value of the marital home, subject to other legal principles surrounding the source of the funds that were used to purchase the home.   However, there are considerations that should be made, in deciding whether to move out of your home when a divorce is being considered.   The first consideration is whether there are minor children. If there are minor children, and custody of those children is in dispute, the court may give stronger weight to award temporary custody to...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: How are Household Goods Divided?

When a couple divorces, along with the division of all of their larger assets, such as the home, bank accounts, and retirement assets, they also have to divide their household goods and personal property. People are often unsure how the court will divide this property, especially when many of the items may appear to have little value, but in fact have great personal value to one or both of the parties. First, each party would be entitled to retain any personal property which would be considered separate or non-marital property, such as property that was acquired prior to the marriage, purchased with funds acquired by gift or received as inheritance or a gift. All remaining personal property that is marital, would then be divided. In the eyes of the court, all personal items and household goods are valued based on what another person would pay for the the item, often...

Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Do I Need a Pre-nup?

Ohio law allows written contracts between parties before a marriage that define various aspects of marital rights and rights upon the death of either spouse.  These contracts are called prenuptial agreements, premarital agreements, or antenuptial agreements.  All of these terms can be used interchangeably.  Prenuptial agreements may not always be enforced.  To avoid the most common challenges to these agreements, the following should be adhered to: (1) both parties should have lawyers represent them during the negotiation and execution of the agreement, (2) it should be signed as far in advance of the actual wedding as possible to avoid the possibility of coercion, and (3) there must be a complete and accurate disclosure of assets and debts between the parties.   Currently, Ohio law protects premarital assets and assets which are acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance and a prenuptial agreement may not be needed.  It is often a misconception...