DIVORCE

If your spouse has indicated that a divorce is imminent or if you want to divorce your spouse, the most important thing you can do is to consult with and retain an experienced matrimonial law attorney as soon as possible. Wynn Law Office serves clients in Ohio who need a trusted advocate in their divorce or family law case.

Whether your marriage lasted a few years or for decades, you owe it to yourself to get highly experienced professional advice about your particular case. Clients must be prepared to address serious monetary obligations and assemble a disclosure of financial, real estate, personal property and retirement assets with the assistance of the attorney and paralegal staff of Wynn Law Offices.

If you are going through a divorce or dissolution of marriage, you may feel overwhelmed by the legal concerns in this time of distress. Because we understand that it is hard enough to deal with the emotional aspects of a divorce, our lawyers will guide you through the divorce process and handle all of your legal concerns:

  • Property Division: Simple to complex asset & liability division; we will seek or contest a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to divide retirement benefits, when appropriate.
  • Spousal Support & Alimony: Initial determination, modification, enforcement and contempt.
  • Child Support: We will ensure all relevant income is accounted for in the support order and can seek deviation from the guidelines when appropriate.
  • Child Custody: Out of state and interstate custody; parent, stepparent, grandparent and third-party custody.

A person should never make an agreement or attend a court hearing without the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer. Once a ruling is issued or court papers are signed, it can be very difficult to get the orders changed even if they are not fair to one party or if the court made a mistake or did not have sufficient information to make a good decision. Divorce is a difficult, complicated and complex process and irreparable damage to your case can be created by improper legal actions being taken or ignored. Trust your future and that of your children to the highly experienced and qualified representation offered by the staff of Wynn Law Offices.

Separation Agreements

The state of Ohio requires married couples to file a separation agreement prior to their divorce. We will draft and file your separation agreement.

At Wynn Law Offices, we understand that different families face different challenges. It is our goal to help you meet the challenges of today and plan for the future, no matter what family law concerns you may have:

  • Child Support Enforcement and Modification: If your financial situation has changed, your support and custody plan should reflect that.  If your co-parent is not making their payments, we can help you pursue support legally.
  • Paternity: Our first goal is to help you get answers. Once you understand your situation, we will help you plan for whatever future lies ahead.
  • Cohabitation Agreements: We help couples draft and file cohabitation agreements to preserve your understanding about future ownership of assets.
  • Prenuptial Agreements: By signing a prenuptial agreement, you can protect your finances and set fair expectations.
  • Adoption: In Ohio, all matters of adoption are settled in probate court. We can help you through the entire process.
  • Guardianship: Establishing a guardianship is also a matter handled in the Ohio probate court. We can help your family create a guardianship to provide care of a loved one's estate.
Business Valuation

At the Wynn Law Offices, we represent business owners in property division issues. Before a business can be divided in a divorce case, an appraisal must be done. Each spouse's contribution to the business must also be considered before it is divided.  Contact us online or call us to speak to an attorney about dividing your business in a divorce.

Business Valuations in Ohio

If the value of the business increased during the marriage, this increase in value may be considered marital property. In order to determine the value of a business or professional practice, the parties must provide the court with a report and testimony from an expert in the field of business valuation. The expert, who is generally selected with assistance of the attorney and hired by the client, works closely with the attorney in presenting the case so that the business receives a fair valuation.

To accurately appraise a business, underlying records and documents are needed. Essentially, a business valuator takes a historical look at a business to determine its value at the date of marriage, and its value at the date of dissolution. Marital and separate property are also considered.

Methods of Business Asset Division


There are several methods available for a court to divide a business asset:

  • The business can be sold and the proceeds can be divided.
  • One party can be awarded sufficient assets that would compensate for the other party being awarded the business. This generally happens if there are other significant assets that were acquired during the marriage.
  • The court can order one party to buy out the other party's interest in the business, either through refinancing or a payment plan.

Divorce Finance Lawyer in Ohio

Do you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets or spending marital funds without your knowledge or approval? Are marital assets being diverted for non-marital purposes or used to pay for some type of addiction, or the expenses of a girlfriend or boyfriend? At Wynn Law Offices, we are experienced at uncovering hidden assets and tracing improper expenditures of marital funds. When needed, we will coordinate the case with forensic accounting investigators to protect the interests of our clients. At Wynn Law Offices, we represent clients in complex divorce cases involving substantial marital assets. We represent wives and husbands in cases involving financial misconduct.

Financial Misconduct in Divorce

Assets that were accumulated during a marriage are generally divided equally between the parties unless the court determines that an unequal division of the assets is fair. One circumstance where the court will often award an unequal division of assets is when the court finds one of the parties guilty of financial misconduct. This would include, for example, situations where a husband or wife used a credit card for gambling debts, spent marital funds on gifts or travel expenses for a paramour, or wasted financial assets of the marriage without the knowledge of the other party. Hiding marital assets or improperly spending assets from the marital estate are also examples of financial misconduct in a marriage. If financial misconduct is shown, the court can compensate the spouse who was injured by awarding that spouse a larger portion of the marital estate than they would otherwise be entitled to receive.

Custody

In many divorces, one of the most contentious issues is child custody. At Wynn Law Offices in Toledo, Ohio, we will represent your interests in child custody actions that are a part of your divorce. We also advise and actively represent parents who are involved in interstate child custody cases. We seek effective modification of agreements according to applicable custody laws.

When parents with minor children are in the process of a divorce, their parental rights and responsibilities must be determined by the court. If the parents can agree on parental rights and responsibilities (“custody”), the agreement must be in writing and presented to the court for approval. If the parents cannot agree, the court must decide what is in the best interest of the children regarding which parent should have primary custody and control of the children, where the children should live and on what schedule the children should be physically exchanged between the parents.

In most divorce cases, one parent or the other is designated as the residential (custodial) parent, and the other parent (the non-residential parent) is granted certain visitation rights, known as parenting time in Ohio. The court will generally issue a parenting time and visitation schedule that indicates when the children are to be in the physical custody of each parent.

If the parents cannot agree, the court will award parental rights and parenting time. A court must consider the best interest of the children when determining allocation of parental rights, and the court is required by law to consider the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the children (assuming the children are old enough to express their wishes and concerns), the mental and physical health of both parties and the children, the interaction of the children with their siblings and others who are involved in the lives of the children, the child’s adjustment to his home, school, and community, and certain other factors. The court is not permitted to discriminate against fathers and there are many cases where a father is designated as the residential (custodial) parent.

The court can also order shared parenting by adopting a Shared Parenting Plan. When shared parenting is ordered, both parents are essentially designated as the residential parent. The main difference between shared parenting and residential/non-residential parenting is that if one parent is designated as the residential parent, that parent has the right to make decisions in situations where parental consent is required. In shared parenting, both parents are required to make joint decisions in the best interest of the children, and neither parent has more rights than the other parent to make important decisions concerning the children. For shared parenting to be successful, both parents must be willing and able to communicate, cooperate and make decisions jointly.

Another feature of shared parenting is that the actual schedule for the parenting time can be more creatively drafted to fit each individual situation. In some shared parenting cases, the children spend equal time with each parent. However, parents can have shared parenting without equal time if some schedule other than an equal time schedule is in the best interest of the children.

It is not necessary for both parents to agree on shared parenting, and shared parenting can be ordered by the court over the objection of one of the parties. However, it must be shown that shared parenting would be in the best interest of the children.

Divorce Process

Filing a Complaint for Divorce

The filing of a Complaint for Divorce starts the legal process. In Ohio, the person served with the Complaint for Divorce has 28 days to file an Answer. This generally requires the assistance of an attorney to make certain that your legal rights are protected. Within four to six weeks after the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the Court usually will have a hearing to make temporary orders. If the parties cannot agree on temporary orders, the court will decide where the children will reside during the divorce proceedings, how much a party will pay the other party for child support and spousal support, and who will be responsible for paying certain bills while a divorce case is pending. Although temporary orders are made early in the case and these orders can be modified by the court, temporary orders are very important for two reasons:

  • It is not unusual for a divorce case to remain pending for one year or more during which time both parties will be legally bound by the temporary orders.
  • In some cases, the court makes a final ruling which is similar to the temporary orders the parties have been under while the case is pending. For this reason, it is very important for the case to be exceptionally well prepared by the attorney prior to the temporary orders hearing in order to achieve the most favorable outcome for the client.

Discovery

Soon after the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the attorney is obligated to engage in Discovery. This is a legal term meaning exchange of information. Written questions, which are called interrogatories, will frequently be sent to the other party along with a Request for Production of Documents. It is also common for wage information, monetary and credit account information, and other financial data to be obtained from employers, banks, and other financial institutions in the early stage of the case.

Child Custody and Support

Divorce is a complicated legal process. When a marriage is terminated by divorce, the court must allocate parental rights and responsibilities (also known as determining custody), make a child support order where appropriate, determine whether either party should pay the other party spousal support (formerly known as alimony), and equitably divide the parties’ assets and debts. After temporary orders are issued, the court will schedule a pretrial hearing. The purpose of the pretrial hearing is for the attorney to explain to the Judge what the case is about, clarify areas where the parties can agree, and identify those areas where the parties disagree. At this point in the case, all financial information and any needed appraisals of assets such as real estate or business interests should be completed. The Judge will attempt to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. If no settlement can be reached, a trial will be scheduled at a future date and the attorney will attempt to reach a fair settlement while continuing to prepare the case in order to present evidence for the Court to decide contested issues at the final trial.

Trial

On the day of the divorce trial all witnesses must be prepared to testify and all documents ready to be presented to the court. It is not unusual for the court to ask the attorney to take some time and determine if a settlement can be reached, even at this late stage of the case. If no agreement is reached, each party will present their case. This can take anywhere from several hours to several days or more, depending on the nature and complexity of the issues within the divorce or child custody case. At the conclusion of all the evidence, the court will usually take the case “under advisement,” which means the judge will consider all the issues and write an opinion and judgment entry to be sent to each party after the divorce trial is over.

Custody

In many divorces, one of the most contentious issues is child custody. At Wynn Law Offices in Toledo, Ohio, we will represent your interests in child custody actions that are a part of your divorce. We also advise and actively represent parents who are involved in interstate child custody cases. We seek effective modification of agreements according to applicable custody laws.

When parents with minor children are in the process of a divorce, their parental rights and responsibilities must be determined by the court. If the parents can agree on parental rights and responsibilities (“custody”), the agreement must be in writing and presented to the court for approval. If the parents cannot agree, the court must decide what is in the best interest of the children regarding which parent should have primary custody and control of the children, where the children should live and on what schedule the children should be physically exchanged between the parents.

In most divorce cases, one parent or the other is designated as the residential (custodial) parent, and the other parent (the non-residential parent) is granted certain visitation rights, known as parenting time in Ohio. The court will generally issue a parenting time and visitation schedule that indicates when the children are to be in the physical custody of each parent.

If the parents cannot agree, the court will award parental rights and parenting time. A court must consider the best interest of the children when determining allocation of parental rights, and the court is required by law to consider the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the children (assuming the children are old enough to express their wishes and concerns), the mental and physical health of both parties and the children, the interaction of the children with their siblings and others who are involved in the lives of the children, the child’s adjustment to his home, school, and community, and certain other factors. The court is not permitted to discriminate against fathers and there are many cases where a father is designated as the residential (custodial) parent.

The court can also order shared parenting by adopting a Shared Parenting Plan. When shared parenting is ordered, both parents are essentially designated as the residential parent. The main difference between shared parenting and residential/non-residential parenting is that if one parent is designated as the residential parent, that parent has the right to make decisions in situations where parental consent is required. In shared parenting, both parents are required to make joint decisions in the best interest of the children, and neither parent has more rights than the other parent to make important decisions concerning the children. For shared parenting to be successful, both parents must be willing and able to communicate, cooperate and make decisions jointly.

Another feature of shared parenting is that the actual schedule for the parenting time can be more creatively drafted to fit each individual situation. In some shared parenting cases, the children spend equal time with each parent. However, parents can have shared parenting without equal time if some schedule other than an equal time schedule is in the best interest of the children.

It is not necessary for both parents to agree on shared parenting, and shared parenting can be ordered by the court over the objection of one of the parties. However, it must be shown that shared parenting would be in the best interest of the children.