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Divorce Law
 

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REALITY CHECK

A divorce is typically not a happy occasion.  Emotions often get the better of everyone involved-the married couple, their families, their friends.  If you wish to end your marriage through divorce or dissolution, you need a lawyer who is knowledgeable and professional.  You need a lawyer who is sympathetic to your needs and can help you through one of the most stressful times of your life.

SELECTING A DIVORCE ATTORNEY

Your divorce attorney must also be someone you can trust.  Your divorce attorney must be someone you feed comfortable with discussing personal issues.  The decisions made during a divorce will greatly impact on your life and your future.  Moreover, the final outcome of a divorce or dissolution will forever impact your children’s future.

Therefore, when facing issues such as divorce, dissolution, child custody dispute, or a property division matter, it is essential to have an experienced divorce attorney, like Tom Scott on your side.  Tom Scott will work with you and your situation.  Regardless of the issues you are facing, he will ensure your legal rights and the rights of your family are protected,

Being an experienced divorce attorney, Tom Scott knows firsthand the impact that divorce can have on my clients and their families.  Divorce is one of the most emotionally stressful events that you will ever experience in your life.  You will likely have lots of questions and too few answers.  You will be questioning how your children will be affected by divorce, or if they will blame themselves for it. 

You are not alone.  Most people find divorce an emotional roller coaster. Those emotions directly affect your rational decision making ability.  This is why you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side.  You need a divorce attorney that can aid you during the divorce process with a helping hand.  Tom Scott can help answer any questions or concerns you have while managing and protecting your legal rights. 

Divorce involves negotiating agreements on issues such as child custody and child support, visitation, spousal support, and the division of debts and property.  Tom Scott will craft fair and equitable solutions to these issues by working closely with you.  You can count on Tom Scott to fight for and explore every possible option in your best interests. 

By avoiding stressful situations, protecting your legal rights and the rights of your loved ones, Tom Scott can help your make it through these tough times.  Whatever your specific situation calls for, Tom Scott can provide the appropriate legal services.  Take the first step today.  Call 937-853-3100 for an appointment.

ENDING YOUR MARRIAGE IN OHIO

In Ohio, there are two distinctly different ways to legally end your marriage: divorce and dissolution.  In a divorce, a complaint filed by one spouse against the other spouse.  The divorce is filed in the Domestic Relations Division of the local Common Pleas Court.  The party filing for the divorce must allege later prove at least one legal ground for divorce. 

To immediately protect to assets, debts and children, Tom Scott will file your divorce complaint with the court.  As an experienced divorce attorney, Tom Scott will provide valuable advice to protect your rights during this process, ensure your understand the implications of your decisions.  Tom Scott will advocate for you and your rights if a trial is necessary to resolve any remaining issues.

Dissolution is an agreement between you and your spouse regarding all issues involving children, assets, property and debts.  As your attorney Tom Scott can assist you by drafting a settlement agreement and file it with the court.  After 30 to 45 days, the court will conduct a brief hearing to finalize the dissolution.   Dissolution is generally costs less and is much faster than a divorce.  If you have question or concerns about ending your marriage, call Tom Scott at 937-853-3100 for an appointment that fits your schedule.

CONTESTED DIVORCE

Contested divorce can be a long and involved process, taking a year or more.  During that time there will be hard decisions, a range of emotions, and some new developments.

The process begins when one spouse files a Complaint for Divorce. The other spouse has 28 days to respond by filing an Answer to the Complaint for Divorce.  Whether you are initiating the complaint or responding to the complaint, Tom Scott believes in divorce planning to protect your personal and financial interests and anticipate where the battles will be.

Once divorce papers are served, you and your spouse exchange requested documents relating to income, assets and liabilities.  Unless you and your spouse have a prior agreement, the court will issue temporary orders.  These temporary orders specify who occupies the marital residence, which spouse is responsible for the house payment, whether there is primary or shared custody, visitation times, child support and spousal support.  Temporary orders last until the divorce is final.  Since they may influence the eventual case outcome, Tom Scott goes into the temporary hearing well prepared to make your case. 

You and your spouse will be encouraged to participate in mediation. During the mediation, you may be able to resolve some and isolate those which cannot be resolved.  A few months after the meditation, Tom Scott will represent you at a pretrial conference before the Judge to discuss unresolved issues.  Tom will present to the judge which issues may need to be litigated at trial.  The judge might recommend solutions, and may suggest how he or she might ultimately rule.  A trial date is set if a settlement is not reached.  Meanwhile, Tom Scott will prepare to win the showdown in the courtroom if it is unavoidable, and investigate all possible solutions before the courtroom showdown.

Before the trial, the judge may suggest a final settlement opportunity.  If no settlement, the trial begins.  At the trial, documents are offered as exhibits, experts testify, witnesses are called and arguments are presented on the remaining issues.  Only a small percentage of cases go all the trial, but many are not resolved until they reach the very last stage of the process. 

Tom Scott provides legal advice and counsel, coupled with compassion, experience and patience.  When facing difficult legal problems, combined with the level emotion child custody and divorce, there is no substitute for a tough, seasoned attorney like Tom Scott.  Call him for an appointment.  Start the process by calling 937-853-3100.

UNCONTESTED DIVORCE

An uncontested divorce is a divorce proceeding in which you and your spouse agree on every issue including custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and division of assets and liabilities.  The process begins when you or your spouse files a Complaint for Divorce.  If an Answer to the Complaint for Divorce is not filed in 28 days, the divorce is deemed uncontested.  An uncontested divorce is normally completed in less than three months. 

DISSOLUTION

If you and your spouse are in total agreement of all issues, including child support and custody and division of property then dissolution of marriage is possible.  You and your spouse must fully agree on every issue, both at the beginning of the dissolution process and must both attend the final hearing.  Dissolution requires a written separation agreement which is filed with the court when the case begins.  Tom Scott is highly skilled and experienced in negotiating and drafting separation agreements required for dissolution.  Call 937-853-3100 to find out if dissolution would work best for you.

Dissolution may not be for everyone, but it is a viable option.  It is also generally the quickest and least painful way to a divorce, usually in less than 45 days from the date of filing. 

Even if you and your spouse agree on every aspect of dissolution, an attorney can only represent only you or your spouse.  If you and your spouse have reached and agreement and your spouse already has an attorney, it is always better to have an attorney represent you and review the paperwork.  Call Tom Scott at 937-853-3100.   Let Tom evaluate your options, and see if a dissolution will be in your best interest.

CUSTODY

If the spouses cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court decides the issue of custody based on what it believed is in the best interest of the children.  Tom Scott will be your advocate for what you, and not the court, believe is in your child’s best interest.  The single biggest responsibility of your life may be shaping your children’s future when the divorce is concluded.  Some of the issues involved in a custody dispute include the contents of shared parenting plan, visitation, parental rights and responsibilities, sole custody, shared parenting and school districts.  There may be a need for home studies, involving a guardian ad litem, or a court order for drug and alcohol assessments.  There are numerous and complicated issues involving child custody and the need not be faced alone. You, and your children, need an experienced, aggressive, proactive child custody lawyer to protect then, their best interest, and to protect your rights to your children.  For experienced advice and legal counsel, contact Tom Scott today at 937-853-3100.

Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities (Child Custody)

Formerly known custody, allocation of parental rights and responsibilities refers to the rights and responsibilities awarded to one or both parents for the care, custody and nurturing of children. Sole custody occurs when the court awards only one parent these child custody responsibilities.  Joint custody occurs when both parents are awarded these child custody responsibilities. If both parents are awarded the responsibilities, a shared parenting plan must be drafted and submitted for court approval.  Tom Scott is knowledgeable and experienced at drafting shared parenting plans.  Call Tom today at 937-853-3100.

Shared Parenting Plan (Joint Custody Agreement)

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 child/children. Shared parenting plans must address:

Legal custody  deals with how decisions about schooling, religious training, sports, extra-curricular activities, mental, dental and physical, health and equally important decisions will be made.  You and your spouse must decide whether decisions will be made jointly by the parents.  The parents may opt to divide the decision making process on individual topics between themselves.

Physical custody  addresses at what physical location the child resides.  The amount of time each parent will have with the child, (shared parenting is not always an equal division of time), summer recess and school breaks and holidays will be shared, will need to be decided upon.

Child support  allocates the financial responsibility for the children and how it will be shared. Further, child support addresses the children’s health insurance needs, how uninsured healthcare costs are allocated, dependency exemptions for income taxes, and related money issues.

To avoid the unpleasantness, emotional trauma and expense of a custody trial, Tom Scott can draft a shared parenting plan. I have the skill and experience to draft such a plan.  Contact Tom Scott today at 937-853-3100.

CHILD SUPPORT

The amount of child support a parent is ordered to pay is controlled by Ohio's child support guidelines per statue in the Ohio Revised Code.  There are several reasons to deviate from the formula.  The calculation is different for high income parents.  A skilled lawyerlike Tom Scott can enforce child support orders or modify child support levels after divorce. Tom Scott has experience in establishing, modifying and enforcing support orders.  Call Tom today at 937-853-3100 to arrange a consultation.

The child support formula considers the income of both parents (gross income).  Child support is subject to adjustments for expenditures such as child care expenses, health care expenses, child support paid for other children, spousal support, and related factors such as the amount of parenting time exercised by each parent, and consideration of any demonstrated need by the children. 

The maximum income used for a child support calculation is gross income of $150,000.  Tom Scott has extensive experience in high-asset/income divorce matters.  Tom Scott will provide the court with accurate information and a comprehensive picture of income and expenses.  Equally important, Tom will thoroughly investigate, searching and finding unreported, under-the-table income and show if the paying parent is intentionally under employed. 

Modifying child support is just as critical as establishing child support.  The court will require a change of circumstances, such as increased income or a job loss.  As your advocate, I can require the parent ordered to pay to answer to the court why court ordered child support is not being paid. 

Over the years, Tom Scott has worked closely with clients to ensure he understands the results they desire to achieve and to address their individual and unique needs.  If you have any questions or concerns, call Tom today at 937-853-3100

SPOUSAL SUPPORT (Alimony)

Spousal support is the new term for alimony.  Spousal support, as contrasted to child support, is not calculated using a formula.  Since the amount of spousal support is a function of the judge’s final decision, the experience, knowledge and advice Tom Scott can provide is crucial. 

The court will weigh  certain factors when awarding spousal support.  Tom Scott understands the trends in Ohio law trends and has the experience to guide you through this most important aspect of divorce.  The amount of spousal support and for how long it shall be paid is decided by the court.   In divorce proceedings, knowledge is power, and knowing the  law is critical when formulating the best approach and negotiating with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney.

Attorney Tom Scott can help.  Consider these questions:

Will I have to pay spousal support if we get a dissolution, or just a divorce?

Can an Ohio court order spousal support AND child support?

Would I be better off to pay spousal support verses child support?

If I have a choice, which should I pay?

Do courts order spousal support for the remainder of my ex-spouse’s life?  

Do spousal support amounts vary from judge to judge?

Do spousal support amounts vary county to county?

If I don’t wish to pay spousal support, can I work out other arrangements with my ex-spouse?

Does spousal support have to be paid over time?  Can I make a lump sum payment?  If so, how does that affect my taxes?

Does the child support enforcement agency administer my spousal support payments? I just send it directly to my ex- spouse a payment monthly?

How long will I receive spousal support, and how much will it be?

When will I stop receiving spousal support?  When I get remarried?  When my spouse dies?

Can my spousal support be secured with a life insurance policy?

If the court ordered spousal support in my divorce, can I get a post decree modification of my spousal support?

Can I put language in my divorce decree to ensure my ex-spouse does not change the spousal support amount after the divorce?

What happens if I can’t afford to pay the court ordered spousal support?

Will I be jailed for not paying spousal support?

Get the answers to these and other questions and put your mind at ease.  Call Tom Scott today for a consultation.  Call now, 937-853-3100

VISITATION (Parenting Time)

Parenting time is the new term for visitation.  The Court awards parenting time to the parent who does not have sole custody. Parenting time is visitation by the child with the parent that he or she doesn’t live with most of the time.  Decision making authority does not come with parenting time.

When it comes to something as important as spending time with your children, you need Tom Scott on your side.  Tom will plan visitation schedules that are agreeable to everyone involved.  To schedule consultation, call Tom Scott at 937-853-3100. 

ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

In a divorce action or dissolution, the parties or the court will divide the assets and liabilities of the marriage.  In some cases, one of the spouses has brought into the marriage property owned before the marriage or receives an inheritance.  This is known as separate property, which may have been comingled with the marital estate over the years.  Tom Scott can assist in achieving a fair and equitable division of the assets of the marriage, while preserving client’s separate property whenever possible.

In Ohio, you retain ownership of the money or property you bring into a marriage.  Also, an inheritance or gift from a family member during the marriage is also considered separate property.  Separate property often makes the issue of property division more complex especially for long term marriages.  Complications arise when a spouse has utilized separate property to satisfy debts such as a credit card, a mortgage, a vehicle, credit card or any joint debt.

Tom will work with you to isolate separate property and protect it.  Call Attorney Tom Scott at 937-853-3100 to schedule a consultation. 

COST

How much will attorney fees cost me?  Tom Scott will analyze your case and establish a fair price before you commit to any obligation.  Tom Scott fully appreciates this is a difficult time for you.  You can count on Tom Scott maximize your financial position, now and in the future and to minimize surprises.  If you have question or concerns about ending your marriage, call Tom Scott at 937-853-3100 for an appointment that fits your schedule.