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Answers To Family Law Questions

Many people don’t like to think about family law issues such as divorce and custody until circumstances force them to do so. Unfortunately, when they start to look into the subjects, they may be confused by inaccurate or misleading information. At Delligatti Law, attorney Mike Delligatti has over 30 years of experience helping people understand Ohio family law. Below, find answers to some frequently asked questions about family law.

What is the difference between divorce and dissolution?

The two most important legal ways to end a marriage under Ohio law are known as divorce and dissolution. Both achieve the same result but involve different processes. Under Ohio law, divorce is a type of lawsuit to force an end to a marriage. Dissolution is the process by which a married couple mutually agrees to end their marriage. Dissolution requires the parties to come to an agreement through negotiation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Divorce requires the court to make final decisions about property division, spousal support and child custody. To read more about the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, see the Family Law Services page.

What is custody?

Where one parent has “sole custody” of a child or children, that parent is designated the “residential parent and legal custodian” and the other parent is designated the “nonresidential parent” or the “noncustodial parent.” In this situation, the residential parent and legal custodian make the day-to-day decisions concerning the health, education and welfare of the child or children and the noncustodial parent has visitation with the child or children. Parenting schedules vary in Ohio Courts, but most default to visits on alternating weekends.

What is shared parenting?

Where both parents have the same title “residential parent and legal custodian.” In this situation, both parents share in the day-to-day decisions concerning the health, education and welfare of the child or children. For school district enrollment, one parent is designated as the school placement parent. Parenting schedules provide for an exchange of time between the parents’ homes that maximizes the time with both parents and considers the best interests of the child or children. These schedules are tailored to the facts and circumstances of the individual cases.

What is alternative dispute resolution?

Concerned by the rising costs of going to trial, lawyers, clients, judges and lawmakers have alternative means of resolving disputes. These means are categorized together as alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and include mediation, arbitration and other means. Mediation is a popular means of resolving disputes in family law.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of negotiation in which a neutral third party helps two parties come to an agreement to end their legal dispute. The third party is known as the mediator and, unlike a judge or an arbiter, does not make the final decision. Rather, the mediator facilitates the negotiation. The disputing parties are represented by their own attorneys. A successful mediation results in a settlement, which is then certified by a judge.

What can be covered in a settlement?

Most issues in divorce and dissolution can be resolved in a settlement. These can include division of marital property, such as who gets the house; whether there should be spousal support, or alimony, and how much the obligation should be; and many child custody issues. It should be noted that both parents have rights and obligations regarding their children. Child support – that is, financial assistance from the noncustodial parent to help pay for the raising of the child – generally cannot be negotiated away.

Can a settlement be changed?

People who need to change a settlement or court order can request a modification. For example, when a job loss or another financial setback makes it impossible to live up to the obligations of a spousal or child support order, one can request a temporary or permanent modification. Often, parents request a modification to a child custody and visitation agreement after a job change or a move to a new house makes the old agreement unworkable. Modifications must be approved by the court. A lawyer can help with the negotiation and paperwork.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you still have questions about your own family law situation, schedule a free initial appointment with Mr. Delligatti. You can call his Worthington office at 614-398-4159 or reach out by email.