Divorce and the issues surrounding it are emotional and complex. The attorneys at Wiles Richards understand that no one wants to go through the turmoil of ending a marriage and dividing a household. We offer sound advice and compassionate counsel to help you through the difficult emotional, financial, and legal issues that surface in this area of law.
Whether your case involves a divorce, dissolution, or juvenile court proceeding, child support is an important issue that requires expert legal advice to ensure your rights are protected and your child’s best interests are served. Our attorneys believe that a big part of our job involves making sure our clients understand how the child support system works so that families can move forward and concentrate on the parent-child relationship after the end of a marriage.
Under Ohio law, child support is awarded by a domestic relations court or in juvenile court through the Child Support Enforcement Agency (sometimes abbreviated to CSEA and pronounced “cee-sa”). The amount of child support is calculated based on a number of factors, including each party’s income, health insurance costs, parenting time, and child care costs. Most child support orders continue until the minor child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last.
When a child support obligor (the parent ordered to pay child support) fails to pay the ordered support, it becomes necessary to bring an action to enforce the child support order. The attorneys at Wiles Richards routinely assist clients with these types of post-decree actions and use tools such as wage garnishment and license suspension to aid clients in collecting unpaid support.
Child Custody in a Divorce
We recognize that custody is one of the major issues in any divorce. Our attorneys work with you to minimize the stress and anxiety associated with divorce so you can focus on the things that matter most. We advocate to protect your child’s best interests while working on a visitation plan geared toward preserving a workable relationship with the other party.
Child Custody Enforcement and Modification
Long after a divorce or dissolution is final, life circumstances evolve, forcing child custody and visitation plans to change. We have assisted clients with post-decree actions in a variety of custody modification and enforcement areas.
Life circumstances change, which can significantly impact an existing child custody agreement. In these situations, it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can assist you in seeking a court-ordered modification of your parenting or child support agreement. This is done to avoid the potential danger of the ex-spouse bringing a contempt action should you fail to follow the original agreement – even if the two of you modified it informally. Our attorneys help clients with all types of modifications, including changes in custody and visitation, parent relocation, child support modification, and spousal support modification.
Some Family Law cases fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, particularly parenting actions in which the parties were never married. Our attorneys handle all types of juvenile cases, including paternity actions, custody and child support actions, and unruly child cases. We also represent clients involved in dependency and neglect cases brought by county Job and Family Services agencies.
At Wiles Richards, we consider it a privilege to assist individuals seeking to build their families through adoption. In Ohio, all adoptions must pass through the probate court, regardless of whether they are handled independently or initiated by a private or non-profit agency. Our attorneys can assist you with the legal process of formalizing your adoption in the state of Ohio.
A divorce is more like a traditional lawsuit in which one party sues the other, citing specific grounds for the divorce. It is an adversarial process that typically involves more time and expense than a dissolution, ultimately ending with a court ordered termination of the marriage based upon the court finding that certain grounds for the divorce exist.
A dissolution is generally a more amicable process in which both the husband and wife agree to all property division, spousal support and, if there are minor children, custody and child support issues before the case is filed. Dissolutions are generally resolved much more quickly and with considerably less cost than divorces. Both divorce and dissolution result in the termination of the marriage.
No. A legal separation is a not a prerequisite for filing a divorce or a dissolution. Rather, legal separation is a contract for married couples who wish to remain legally married but live apart while having a formal, legal arrangement in writing for the support and maintenance of a spouse and the children, a visitation plan, and perhaps continuation of health coverage. Traditionally, couples sought legal separation for religious reasons.
Yes. It is a popular misconception that a legal separation eliminates the need for filing for divorce or dissolution should you and your spouse ultimately decide to end the marriage. If you have obtained a legal separation through the domestic relations court and you choose to terminate your marriage for good, you are still required to file for divorce or dissolution.
In Ohio, spousal support is calculated based on a list of factors, including but not limited to the income of the parties, the relative earning capacities of the parties, the ages and health of the parties, the parties’ available retirement benefits, the length of the marriage, etc. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding spousal support, the court will examine these factors on a case by case basis to determine what constitutes a fair and reasonable amount and duration for spousal support. Because, unlike child support, there is no mathematical formula for calculating spousal support, this area of property distribution in a divorce can become a hotly contested area. It is important to consult with an attorney who will assess your case fairly and accurately and work with you to preserve a balanced relationship with the other side, especially when minor children are involved.
The first step is to establish paternity, which is accomplished in the juvenile court. Once paternity is established, it is a relatively straightforward process to obtain visitation rights and create a parenting agreement.