Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Why You Can’t Trust The Internet for Research
When considering how a particular family law matter may be resolved, it is not uncommon for people to search online to form a baseline understanding of what issues may be at stake. In fact, searching online is likely what led you to our blog! Educating oneself is a good thing. However, it is important to recognize that a substantial portion of online legal information is incomplete, oversimplified, inapplicable to your situation, or altogether false. Always check your source and keep in mind the following questions: (1) was the online information written by an attorney; (2) does the online information integrate the laws of my state; (3) are the facts of my case exactly the same as those that the writer addresses; and (4) is the online information up-to-date? As a general rule, it is dangerous to accept online legal information as being reliable or applicable to your specific facts.
Even reliable online sources may not fully address your situation. Beth Silverman & Associates strives to provide up-to-date legal information on its blog and takes great care to remove information that may no longer be relevant. However, our short blog posts are just that– short. To address how one of our blog posts applies to a potential client’s unique circumstances, we must first speak one-on-one with that client. A unique circumstance not included in a blog post may entirely change how a particular issue could or should be handled.
A good example of oversimplification of possible legal outcomes is child support and spousal support calculators. When searching online it is important to remember that laws regarding child support, spousal support, custody, and property division are complex and differ among states, and even between counties in the same state. For example, in Ohio, a judge must consider several statutory factors when crafting an award of spousal support. Although spousal support calculators online suggest that spousal support awards are predictable, but they are not. There is no mathematical formula for a judge to rely upon when determining what amount to award. Instead, awards of spousal support are highly fact-dependent, and Ohio courts take varying approaches when applying the statutory factors to a given situation. The bottom line is that online spousal support calculators are grossly inadequate at predicting how much you might owe or be entitled to in Ohio and could cause you to develop unrealistic expectations regarding your case.
When used carefully, the internet may be a helpful tool for identifying potential strengths or weaknesses in your case. However, a one-on-one conversation with an attorney addresses the nuances of your situation in a manner that the internet is simply not capable of. Such conversations with an attorney will not only educate you on the various courses of action you could take with respect to your family law matter but will guide you in setting realistic expectations and establishing a positive tone for your case moving forward.