Family Law FAQs

We are here to help answer any specific questions you may have concerning family law issues in Ohio. Call us at 513-732-0086 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

Family law issues are a relatively common experience for a wide range of people. The following are some of the frequently asked questions we have encountered since devoting her practice to family law in 1999. It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different, and nothing can replace the advice that you receive from meeting face-to-face with a lawyer. To schedule an initial consultation, call our law office at 513-732-0086.

Questions we often receive:

What is the difference between a divorce and a marriage dissolution?

A marriage dissolution can only occur when both parties agree to absolutely everything involved in terminating a marriage. Both parties must agree to the disposition of all assets and debts and agree to all issues involving the children, including child support, activity fees and tax exemptions. If the parties require the court to make a decision on even a single issue, the parties must file for divorce.

A dissolution also requires the presence of BOTH parties at the final hearing. So, if one party is unable to attend the final hearing, the parties must file for divorce.

We can let you know which process is the best one for resolving your situation.

We also offer pre-divorce mediation, to assist both parties in resolving as many issues as possible prior to hiring two separate attorneys.

Will the division of retirement benefits have tax consequences?

Under Ohio law, retirement benefits and pension plans are considered marital property and are subject to equitable distribution as part of your property division agreement. There are important tax considerations that need to be kept in mind. For example, early withdrawal from a 401(k) plan will result in a significant tax penalty. However, if the proceeds from a 401(k) plan are being divided as part of a divorce settlement, the tax penalty generally will not apply.

To avoid serious tax consequences to a 401(k) plan and other divisible retirement benefits, you will need to have the court issue a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO. It is important to ensure that your attorney takes specific steps to avoid unpleasant consequences of retirement plan divisions.

What’s the difference between sole custody and shared custody?

It is a very common misconception that these terms refer to parenting time and child support. However, these terms refer SOLELY to the parents’ responsibility to communicate and co-parent. In other words, “sole custody” and “shared parenting” have NOTHING to do with parenting time and child support.

Ohio defaults to shared parenting because the courts believe that children have a right to input from both parents. However, if the parents cannot communicate and can show that trying to co-parent (make joint or shared decisions) causes more harm than good, then only one party will be selected to make the big decisions regarding the child’s upbringing (for example, doctors, religion and academics).

We can help assert and understand your parental rights while working toward an agreement that is in your child’s best interests.

Do grandparents have the right to a relationship with their grandchildren?

If a child is being raised in an intact family, grandparents do not have the right to sue to see their grandchildren. However, if the parents are unmarried, divorced or separated, or one parent is deceased, the court may award what are called “companionship” rights to a grandparent if the grandparent has an interest in the welfare of the child, and if doing so would be in the child’s best interests.