The Benefits of Divorce Mediation

The media often portrays divorce as an elaborate drama that largely takes place in front of a judge in a packed courtroom. While divorce hearings are still common, not every divorce requires multiple high stress court appearances. Though a divorce that involves disagreements over child custody, property division, or other issues takes longer than an uncontested divorce, it is possible to use mediation to resolve most issues. Mediation involves meeting with a neutral individual who is experienced with helping divorcing couples come to an agreement that satisfies both parties. Being aware of the benefits of divorce mediation can help you decide if the process is suitable for your situation.

Divorce Mediation Reduces Costs

Getting a divorce is often one of the most expensive legal processes that an adult goes through in his or her life. Quality attorneys who are able to dedicate their time to representing you are expensive, and it may be necessary to retain a divorce attorney for over a year if your contested divorce is not easily settled. Attending mediation is less expensive than typical divorce proceedings, saving both adults money. Most mediators charge an hourly rate that is dependent upon the experience of the mediator and the location. However, the cost associated with attending multiple mediation sessions is substantially lower than the expense of a prolonged court battle.

Keeps the Couple in Control

A couple who only disagrees about a few key issues could find themselves in a difficult situation if they place their fates in the hands of the court. While their attorneys will do their best to get their clients a satisfactory outcome, the judge hearing the case may impose or suggest something that one or both adults are not comfortable with. Using a mediator helps couples avoid being placed in a situation in which a third party makes decisions that they could be forced to live with indefinitely. During mediation, you and your spouse remain in control and will have an opportunity to discuss the situation in a constructive manner while working towards a solution that is acceptable for everyone.

Less Time Consuming

One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is the time it takes to resolve all disputes and reach a settlement. After months of legal battles, both parties are often emotionally and financially drained. Mediation gives you an opportunity to reach a faster resolution by placing you with an experienced mediator who is able to suggest multiple ideas and provide neutral insight to your situation. A mediator helps couples understand how to initiate a healthy dialogue so that they can come to a resolution in less time.

Contact an Experienced Mediator

If you or a loved one is going through a prolonged divorce, consider contacting a qualified family law mediator. Lawrence Law Office has a certified specialist who is able to combine extensive knowledge of family law with the focused mediation needed to resolve complex disputes. We are able to work with you to resolve issues quickly in a way that establishes a healthy working relationship between co-parents and family members. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our conveniently located Columbus office.

Preserving Your Grandparent Visitation Rights

When a couple with children decides to divorce, they often focus on the affects the dissolution will have on their relationships with their children. The rights of the grandparents are often overlooked or disregarded even though keeping the children from their extended family is painful for everyone involved. In the past, a grandparent’s ability to see the grandchildren was dependent upon the wishes of the custodial parent and the visitation schedule awarded to the non-custodial parent. Fortunately, the Ohio Supreme Court decided that third-party visitation statutes were constitutional and now grants visitation rights to grandparents. Though the law is straightforward, you may need to take steps to preserve your grandparent visitation rights.

Best Interest of the Child

One of the least pleasant aspects of a separation or divorce are the battles over custody in which parents often find themselves. Parents who are unable to agree over primary custody, child support, or other major issues may find themselves spending months, or years, fighting for a resolution. During this period of time, a child who was previously close to his or her grandparents may be unable to even speak to those grandparents. Separating a child from a grandparent who has been a major influence in  his or her life is painful and distressing.  However, family court does take the best interest of the child into account and is willing to recognize the fact that in some cases preventing a child from communicating with a grandparent can cause harm.

When is Visitation Granted

Once Ohio began authorizing grandparent visitation right,s the court decided that there are three circumstances under which a rights of access should be considered. These three circumstances are:

  • When married parents separate or dissolve their marriage;
  • When a child is born to an unmarried woman;
  • When one of the child’s parents is deceased.

The motion requesting visitation rights may be filed when divorce or other proceedings are still pending. In situations in which the child’s mother is unmarried and paternal grandparents want visitation rights, the father must first acknowledge the child or be found to be the child’s father through a parentage action. Regardless of the circumstances, the court must ultimately determine if visitation is in the child’s best interest.

Avoiding Disputes

Even though the situation preceding the separation of the parents may have been complicated and contentious, grandparent visitation rights do not have to be. It is possible for grandparents to receive visitation with their grandchild before the divorce is finalized or a custody order is in place. The best way to receive the visitation desired is to avoid disputes that could threaten a grandparent’s rights. Contacting a family law attorney with experience obtaining grandparent visitation rights without going to trial is a good way to initiate proceedings that will be resolved quickly.

Lawrence Law Office

If you or someone you know wants to pursue grandparent visitation rights, contact our conveniently located Columbus, Ohio location. Our grandparent visitation attorneys are committed to helping grandparents preserve their relationships with their grandchildren.  Through the use of mediators, we help parties come to a speedy resolution that is truly in the best interest of the child.

How Joint Custody Parents Decide Where to Send Children to School or Church

If you and your co-parent share joint legal custody of your children in Ohio, you must decide which school your child will attend. If you and your co-parent agree what school your child should attend, you can simply enroll your child in the agreed-upon school without any involvement from family court. If you and your co-parent cannot agree on what school to enroll your child, however, you can try mediation, where you may be able to discuss and agree on a solution. If mediation does not help the two of you reach an agreement, you will have to consult with the courts.

School

Several cases have wrestled with the issue of which rights each co-parent has concerning where to send children to school. In Madison v. Davis, the California Supreme court addressed the rights of divorced parents when their child enters school. The Madison case involved the rights of the two divorced co-parents and their pre-school aged child.

The father in the case argued that under Beck v. Beck, the non-custodial parent has the right to make decisions regarding the child’s wellbeing. Meanwhile, the mother in the case argued that under Pascale v. Pascale, the parent of primary residence holds more authority in making decisions regarding the child. The Madison v. Davis case ultimately ruled that when pre-school is being used as daycare, the primary residential parent has the initial right to select a pre-school program. The parent, however, must make a “reasonable” choice that factors in considerations, such as location and cost.

While some parents might think that choosing where a child attends pre-school is a small issue, there is a strong possibility that the court will want to keep your child in the same location where he or she will eventually be attending kindergarten to maintain stability.

Church

There are multiple methods used to decide where to send your children to religious services. Courts often attempt to balance competing parental concerns about the child’s religious upbringing. While courts must protect an individual parent’s right to the free exercise of religion, courts must ultimately ensure that the best interests of the child are protected.

The Supreme Court has not yet articulated its opinion on religious upbringing and shared custody. With no uniform national law in place, states apply a variety of legal tests. The three most common tests applied by state courts are:

  • Whether restricting a parent’s religious practices will cause “actual or substantial” harm to the child,
  • If restricting a parent’s religious practices “might harm” the child in the future, and
  • If the custodial parent objects to the noncustodial parent’s religious activities.

When the parents of minor children divorce, custody of the children becomes a major issue.  Then, there are thousands of additional minute issues on which parents might disagree. That is why it is critical to have the assistance of an experienced family law attorney like the family law attorneys at the Lawrence Law Office. For a free consultation, please feel free to contact us today at (614) 228-3664.

Child Protective Services and Parental Rights in Public Schools

One Ohio family is currently without their 7-year-old son after he was taken by Ohio’s Child Protective Services when the parents refused to subject the boy to testing for a behavioral disorder at school. The boy’s teachers cited that his wild behavior stems from undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, however, this disorder can be difficult to diagnose in young children and was not something the boy’s parents were interested in exploring. When the parents refused, things became more difficult, as the school filed a report for neglect.

When the neglect allegation arose, the parents were contacted for an in-home visit, but denied the investigation into their personal lives and noted their right to privacy, child rearing, and their ability to make medical decisions on behalf of their minor son. Once the boy was removed from the home after their emergency hearing, he was placed with his grandparents, and his parents get visitation rights at specific times.

However, the school justifies its action by insisting that a failure to report the family would be a violation of its duty to report any suspected neglect or abuse of a child, which could result in penalties, criminal charges, and the loss of license. State law differs and neglect has many definitions, one of which encompasses the failure to ensure that a child is educated as required by the state, but does not include a parent’s refusal to provide his or her child with any medications that target the sympathetic nervous system, which includes medications for attention deficit disorders. In Ohio, parents can be charged with neglect if they fail to provide proper care or necessary medical treatment or care necessary for the child’s health or well-being.

Fighting for Your Child’s Rights?

While schools also have a right to ensure that children are properly taken care of and diagnosed if a condition is suspected, parents also have a right to some degree of control over what goes on in their children’s lives medically. If you or someone you know believes they are being victimized by their school or being forced to endure testing they do not wish to take, we want to hear from you today. Do not hesitate to call the legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us using our website or lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com.

Social Media and Divorce

Social media is a big part of almost everyone’s life today. We use social media sites to receive news, as a creative outlet, or as a place to catch up with friends. When it comes to sharing personal details from your life, however, you should think twice before splashing them all over the internet. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn enable individuals to connect on a common platform to share pictures, stories, and personal thoughts, but those individuals sometimes discover the hard way that everything written online is permissible in court.

Social media posts are frequently used in family law cases as a means to prove or disprove a point raised. Posts on social media, as well as emails and text messages are admissible as evidence in court proceedings and also may be subpoenaed in the event that they are not willingly provided or have since been taken down. For example, if the opposing party posted on social media about a vacation recently taken, a new job, or other sensitive information, a judge can look at any post as justification as to why alimony, custody, or even certain assets will not be granted to that party. If the party in a divorce proceeding posts to social media about a new romantic relationship, for example, it could lead the court to question whether he or she was cheating on his or her spouse.

Thus, anytime you find yourself in a family law proceeding such as a divorce or a child custody battle, keep sensitive information off of the internet and always watch what you are saying and to whom you are saying it. This pertains to dating websites, as well. Anything you put on the internet in any capacity is fair game. While you are still married and going through the divorce process, stay away from dating apps and websites, as any of your activities on those sites may be used against you in court. Conversely, this may work to your advantage in the event you have a former partner posting incriminating things to his or her social media accounts.

Divorce Question? Call Us Today

There are many factors to consider in a family law case. Divorce cases, especially, can become quite complex, and the last thing you need is your case to be ruined by a careless post on social media. Do not hesitate to call the legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us at lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com.

New Administration Could Impact Family Law Proceedings

 

There is no question that as a new president took office, many things were promised to change and many have changed since the start of the new year. Some of those changes have had a greater impact than those in charge of the implementation may have anticipated. A few weeks after taking office, the new president signed an executive order titled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, allowing people to be deported for a variety of reasons that previously were not allowed under President Obama’s administration. This executive order has sparked outrage across the nation, but has also seen a decent amount of support, even though research has shown that there have been lower levels of crime in the United States among immigrants than those people born in the United States.

The order aims to deport illegal immigrants residing in the United States who have committed a crime, attempted to commit a crime, or have conspired to commit a crime. Those crimes range from terrorism to engaging in fraudulent or willful misrepresentation to a government agency, to abuse of families, to espionage. Additionally, acts relating to driving under the influence of alcohol, public intoxication, and speeding may also result in deportation, although no conviction is required.

This new order has the potential to impact various sectors of law, not just criminal law. Family law proceedings have the potential to be widely interrupted as those individuals who are currently in divorce proceedings, domestic violence disputes, custody hearings, and support hearings may have to wait much longer than anticipated for a final decision to be rendered due to the legal status of their contesting partner.

This may be a tool that a vengeful spouse will use in order to get a settlement agreement out of a contesting partner by threatening deportation. Additionally, it may work to the advantage of some immigrants who have been trying to evade child support or spousal support hearings or decisions. Generally, support decisions will not be transferable between other countries, so if an foreign-born partner is deported, he or she may evade responsibility to child or spousal support through this process. Not only will the immigrant partner suffer from the inaccessibility to family members, but the child or spouse may also suffer by being deprived of his or her right to justice in the United States.

Struggling with a Custody, Divorce or Settlements?

Family law issues can be complicated, but when you add on the pressure of having a partner face deportation, you may feel like you are working against the clock. If you or someone you know has a family law issue that you need help resolving, we can help you get the results you deserve. Do not hesitate to call the legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation, or email us using our website or lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com.

Grounds for Divorce

Divorce occurs for a number of reasons, but when filing for divorce, a couple must file for either a fault or a no fault divorce. In a no fault divorce, the couple has differences that are not reconcilable and they are not able to mend their marriage. Fault divorces, on the other hand, are filed when one spouse is blaming the dissolution of the marriage on the other for a specific reason. Reasons for fault divorces include adultery, abandonment over a certain period of time, emotional or physical abuse, and fraud, among others. While not all states require the same elements or have the same grounds for fault divorce, these are the most common.

Among these reasons, fraud can be the most controversial. The impact of fraud on the relationship can vary depending on when it occurred and to what extent the marriage was entered into because of it. Fraud can be grounds for an annulment when the spouse grossly misrepresented issues, events, or wealth to a spouse who would not have entered into the marriage had he or she known the truth. If one spouse uses this as a grounds to file divorce, he or she must show the court the wrongdoing through evidence, which the opposing spouse has the opportunity to rebut.

Fraud includes misrepresenting wealth, either by overstating or understating it to induce the marriage or as a way to pay less spousal support during divorce proceedings, or lying about previous marriages or children. In the case of a same sex couple in the United Kingdom, where one partner misrepresented her wealth to the court as a way to have her former spouse accept a lower settlement, the case is being reopened. The couple was together for 18 years and when their marriage dissolved, she accepted a settlement based on the court’s assessment of wealth and what was fair, but after her former partner passed, she was later informed that the former spouse’s estate was worth much more than she had known.

The Court of Appeal will be listening to her right to set aside the original settlement and argue for a new settlement amount. While these instances are rare, they do occur when the court finds a great disparity such as the one presented. Critics worry that cases like these have the potential to open up this area of divorce to jam the court system and further stifle the divorce process.

Need to Settle Your Divorce?

Settling your divorce should be a quick and fair process. If you or someone you know settled with a spouse due to misrepresentation, we can help you get the settlement they deserved in the first place. Do not hesitate to call the legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us using our website or lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com. We will help you get the results you deserve.

IVF, Multiple Parents, and Custody Issues

There are women all over the world who are not able to naturally conceive children. These women have traditionally been told that they do not have many options outside of adoption, that is, until the development of IVF, or in-vitro fertilization. In-vitro fertilization is a medical procedure that fertilizes an egg in a test tube prior to implanting it in a uterus, which drastically increases the likelihood of a woman bearing one or multiple children. Since then, further technological advances have been made in IVF treatment to now include three parents.

Three-parent in-vitro fertilization involves a range of techniques that are utilized by couples who seek to lower their potential child’s risk of genetic mitochondrial disease. Mitochondrial diseases take the lives of many children who are not able to sustain their heart beat. The use of additional DNA from another donor helps lower or potentially eliminate the genetic disease. The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority in the United Kingdom has made the historic decision to legalize three-person IVF in order to help potential parents eliminate the risk of disease while being able to have their own biological children.

There are complications, however, when there are three genetic parents involved in IVF. Critics warn that this could lead to an increase in the desire to produce designer babies, letting parents pick and choose the features of their children. Currently, the license to utilize the practice is only available to those who pose a very high risk of passing mitochondrial disease to their children. The UK is not the only country to see babies born as the result of three-person IVF. A Puerto Rican couple from New York had the procedure performed in Mexico last year, and a Ukrainian couple gave birth this year as a result of three-person IVF.

Issues of legality arise concerning the technique used as well as the discarding of embryos that are not viable. Additionally, while those who seek to utilize the procedure will have to go through a rigorous background check process and genetic testing, as the procedure becomes more common in other countries, issues concerning custody rights may begin to arise. Currently, disparities exist between countries regarding their legalization, which will also influence many families and their situations. As this practice becomes more commonplace, ensuring that papers are properly filed as to child custody is essential to avoiding a legal battle.

Child Custody Issues?

If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties enforcing child custody order or obtaining what they believe is proper child custody, call the experienced legal team at Lawrence Law Office today at (614) 228 – 3664 for a consultation or email us using our website or lawrence@lawrencelawoffice.com.

Ratings and Reviews