Baker, Baker & Baker LLC

Attorneys at Law

55 Public Square * Suite 1330 * Cleveland, Ohio 44113

216-771-3966

bakers@bakerlaw.us

Family Law

In the beginning, divorce is an adversarial type of proceeding in which the parties are legally terminating their marriage. If you have been served with divorce papers or you want to file for divorce, Baker, Baker & Baker LLC can help with all the legal issues. It is important that you bring all of your financial papers showing what property you own, how you own it, and how much debt is owed. Terminating a marriage by divorce can also involve:

  • determining who a minor child will live with and where that minor child will live after the divorce;
  • the parents' involvement in decision making for the children;
  • who will pay and the amount of child support;
  • the child's medical insurance;
  • who gets to use the dependency exemption for taxes.

At any time after the filing of a divorce in Ohio the parties may settle the case. This saves you money. Settling a divorce may require the parties to write a proposed order which the court will review and approve.

A divorce may be granted on the following grounds:

  • Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the current marriage from which divorce is sought
  • Willful absence of the husband or wife for one year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Any gross neglect of duty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment of the husband in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the divorce
  • A prior divorce outside Ohio by the husband or wife and Procurement of a divorce outside this state, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is obligations remain binding upon the other party
  • On the application of either party, when husband and wife have lived separate and apart without cohabitation without interruption for one year
  • Incompatibility, unless denied by either party

If you and your spouse are in an adversarial divorce proceeding and cannot agree with each other, the process of getting to settlement or a final hearing could take one to two years and possibly even longer depending on the issues involved. Settlement, reconciliation, and agreement is always emphasized, if possible. It is typically in everyone's best interest to work together.

Dissolution:

The difference between a divorce and a dissolution is that in a divorce the parties disagree over at least one thing. In a dissolution, they have agreed upon all issues.

If you and your spouse are in total agreement on the terms of divorce, then a dissolution of marriage could work for you.

In a Dissolution, the parties have a complete agreement before they file with the Court. When we file for a Dissolution we use the ground of "irreconcilable differences."

You and your spouse must agree in a Separation agreement as to:

  • Property division - including real estate, personal property, vehicles, bank accounts, stocks/bonds, pensions/retirement/profit sharing plans, vacation homes, recreational equipment, and all other items purchased or acquired during the marriage
  • Debt - who will pay what, when and in what amounts
  • Spousal Support / Alimony - if there is support then how much is it, when is it paid, how is it paid, and is it temporary or permanent?
  • If children are involved:
    • Child support
    • Custody
    • Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities
    • Visitation / Parenting Time
    • Medical care decisions, insurance and payment
    • Tax exemptions and credits

Once the Separation Agreement is filed, the dissolution can be granted within 90 days. If there are children involved, you are required to attend Parenting Class before the dissolution is granted.

Custody/Shared Parenting:

Ohio Shared Parenting ∙ Child Custody Attorneys

Often, child custody issues can be the most difficult and sensitive matters in divorces or other separations. We will work with you to protect your rights and make the divorce as painless as possible. We can do this in court as aggressive Cuyahoga & Lorain County child custody lawyers. But these issues can also be resolved through mediation and other more pleasurable ways. For legal advice and counsel on child custody in Cuyahoga & Lorain Counties, call Baker & Baker & Baker LLC @ (216) 771-3966 or (440) 322-4224.

Allocation of Parenting Rights and Responsibilities -- Child Custody

In this process, rights and responsibilities for the care, custody and nurturing of the children are determined. These child custody responsibilities and children's rights can be awarded to one parent (sole custody) or to both parents (joint custody). If both parents are awarded the responsibilities, a shared parenting plan must be drafted and submitted for court approval.

Allocation of parenting rights concerns the best interests of the children. These cases often times need psychological experts who have examined all of the members of the family. Allocation cases might also involve employment experts to determine a parent's earnings or earning potential.

By beginning an action involving the "allocation" of parental rights, the parents may be inviting other people such as grandparents (or even non-relatives) to assert their desires to be with the children. These third parties can even get court orders for time with the children depending on the situation.

Many times, in child custody cases, there will be the need to have teachers, physicians, pastors, neighbors, family members and others testify so that the Court can have an accurate and full "picture" of the children and their parents.

The Court may also appoint on its own or at the request of a party a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) to protect the best interests of the child. Usually a Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney. Sometimes both parties pay for services of the Guardian Ad Litem. Other times, the court may order that only one party shall pay all of the guardian's fees.

Shared Parenting Plan

A shared parenting plan is a written document (ideally prepared by both parents together, but can be prepared by one parent) that reflects what the parents believe to be in the best interest of the children with regards to all aspects of their care for the children. Shared parenting plans must address:

  • Legal custody - Decisions about school placement, religion, after school activities, healthcare and other important issues;
  • Physical custody - Decisions about the amount of time each parent will have with the child;
  • Child support - Financial responsibility for meeting the needs of the children, including health insurance, uninsured healthcare costs, tax exemptions, and other such money issues.

If a plan can successfully be drafted and approved by the court, then the time, expense and emotional trauma of a child custody trial can be avoided.

Child Support:

Child Support is calculated using statutory guidelines set forth by law. The basic information Includes each party's earnings, each party's local taxes, and whether any other child support or spousal support (alimony) is being paid. The calculations also consider childcare costs as well as health insurance costs for the children.

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