Domestic Relations

Divorce Mediation

Q.: What is mediation?

A.: A neutral third party, the mediator, uses a structured process to help parties resolve their differences. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator does not decide how the dispute should be resolved. The parties determine the terms of their settlement agreement.

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Divorce, Dissolution & Separation

Ohio law provides three ways for a husband and wife to end or alter their marital relationship: legal separation, divorce and dissolution of marriage. To obtain a dissolution or divorce, you must live in Ohio for at least six months before filing. There is no residency requirement for persons seeking a legal separation. The terms visitation and companionship, once used to describe parental rights, now describe the rights of non-parents. Parent time allocation and parenting time now refer to the time parents spend with their children.

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Child Support

Child support is the financial contribution one parent makes to another for the support of their children. Child support may be ordered in divorces, dissolutions, legal separations and actions to establish paternity. It is ordered by the court or established by agreement of the parties in an amount that should allow the child to enjoy the standard of living he or shewould have enjoyed had the parents remained married.

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At the Crossroads of Grandparent Visitation

Q.:  My son has two children with his soon-to-be ex-wife.  A friend said I might be able to get court-ordered visitation with my grandchildren, but another friend said that I couldn't.  Can I ask the court for visitation?

A.: Yes. In Ohio, grandparents can see court-ordered visitation if the child's parents are unmarried, if the child's parents file for a divorce or dissolution or legal separation, or if one of the child's parents has died.  Ohio courts must consider a parent's wishes when deciding whether to award visitation, and the court must also consider whether grandparent visitation would be in the child's best interest.

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Adoptions Raise “Right to Know” Questions

Q.: What is an adoptive family allowed to know about the birth parents?

A.: In Ohio, the adoptive family may obtain any "non-identifying" social or medical history including biographical information about both the child's parents. (Non-identifying information might include a first name and some background or medical details, but would not include a last name, address, phone number, or Social Security number.) "Identifying" information about the birth parents can be provided to the adoptive parents only if agreed upon between the parties. Such information can be provided to the adoptive parents by the birth parents themselves, or by the agency or attorney handling the adoption.

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Ad Litem Protects Children’s Interests

A recent trend in the Family and Juvenile Courts has been to appoint guardians ad litem in cases involving minor children.

Q.: What is the difference between a “guardian” and a “guardian ad litem”?

A.: For example, parents are the natural guardians of their minor children, an aunt may be appointed guardian of a minor child who has lost both parents, or a friend may serve as guardian for the property of a temporarily disabled person. A guardian is appointed by the court, and must follow certain procedures, such as providing the court with regular reports, but is not required to have specific training to carry out this role. The guardianship may last for a short time or indefinitely.

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Kirby, Thomas & Brandenburg, L.P.A.
Attorneys at Law
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