Columbus, Ohio Family Law Attorney
Winkler Legal Services,
Family Law Overview
matter your reason for contacting a family law attorney, understanding
the law in relation to your particular circumstances and having
confidence that you will be represented in a manner consistent with
your expectations is my goal as your attorney. When we first meet
I get to know your case from your perspective, identifying your
priorities and setting realistic outcomes. No matter the complexity,
it is paramount to identify your goals to ensure the best use of
your resources. As compared to other areas of law, family law involves
protecting your most valued and precious personal relationships.
As such, it is important to identify short-term and long-term impacts
of particular decisions made in the course of your legal proceeding.
Below is an overview of common family law issues.
Dissolution or Divorce?
There are two ways to end a valid marriage – by dissolution
of marriage and by divorce.
A dissolution of marriage proceeding
is where the parties agree on all of the terms and conditions of
ending their marriage. Once an agreement is reached it is reduced
to writing (called a “Separation Agreement”), and filed
with the Domestic Relations Court, along with other required documents.
Should the dissolution also involve children, parental rights must
be addressed also and filed with the Court for final approval. Thereafter,
the parties attend a final hearing before a Judge. For these reasons,
Winkler Legal Services, LLC offers an affordable flat fee dissolution
as an alternative to a costly, time consuming divorce proceeding.
Please call to learn how to dissolve your marriage without stepping
foot in the Courthouse.
A divorce on the other hand, is a contested,
adversarial proceeding where the parties sue one another and address
the same issues of ending their marriage as with a dissolution;
however, significant control over the outcome of the matter is deferred
to the Court, and not the parties. Sometimes a contested proceeding
is necessary when one or both of the parties simply cannot reach
an agreement otherwise. Although adversarial, the parties are not
prevented from negotiating a settlement any time before a divorce
When ending a marriage by dissolution or divorce, the following
issues must be addressed.
1. Division of Marital Assets - allocating between
the parties, assets acquired by the parties (individually or jointly)
during the marriage, including the marital home, retirement and
pension benefits, military benefits, savings and checking account
balances, and business interests, to name a few. There are a number
of exceptions so it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced
family law attorney to discuss your marital property rights.
2. Division of Marital Debts - like marital assets,
marital debts are liabilities incurred by the parties (jointly or
individually) during the marriage, including credit card debt, mortgage(s),
home equity line(s) of credit, loans against retirement assets,
personal loans, delinquent taxes and automobile loans, to name a
few. As with division of marital assets, there are exceptions and
it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced family law
attorney to discuss your matter.
3. Spousal Support - spousal support is not automatic
when ending a marriage and it must be requested by a party. Spousal
support paid is deductible from the obligor’s income and includable
as taxable income to the recipient. The Court can retain continuing
jurisdiction to modify the spousal support amount and duration.
Also, there are specific Internal Revenue Code factors that must
be considered when determining the frequency and manner of payment
of spousal support, along with the tax ramifications that spousal
support will have on both parties. As with all family law matters
it is recommended that you consult with an experienced family law
attorney to better understand your spousal support rights.
4. Child Custody - when ending a marriage with
children, the parties’ respective custodial rights must be
determined. There are two types of custody arrangements, sole
custody and shared
parenting determinations. Both types of arrangements
address the legal rights and responsibilities of the parents as
it relates to the children, however, the best
interests of the children should be paramount.In addition
to custodial rights, the parenting time for the parents needs to
be set forth in the final agreement. Parenting
time includes regular weekly and weekend parenting time
along with holiday, and vacation parenting times such as winter
break and summer vacation.
5. Child Support: regardless of the parenting
arrangement, the financial support of the children must also be
addressed. Everything from monthly child support, health insurance,
payment of extracurricular activities, and allocating income tax
dependency exemptions, must be clearly stated. Additionally, when
determining the child support amount it is very important to accurately
determine the parties’ incomes, along with important expenditures
such as health insurance premiums and child care costs. Not all
income is includable for purposes of calculating child support,
and some income such as overtime, bonus and commission income are
subject to averaging rules. It is possible for the parties to agree
to decrease or increase the child support amount (called a deviation
in child support), so long as the factors set forth under Ohio’s
child support statutes are observed and the Court finds that the
deviation is in the best interests of the children.
In Ohio, when a child is born to unmarried parents, the mother
is deemed the sole legal custodian of the child. What this means
is that the father will need to establish paternity of the child
(e.g. genetic testing) and establish his parental rights at Court.
Additionally, it is wise for putative fathers (if you believe you
may be the father) to register with the Ohio Putative Father Registry
within thirty-days following the child’s birth. You may register
online by visiting https://pfrpub.odjfs.state.oh.us/pfrweb/webforms/home.aspx,
and follow the prompts.
All parents have a duty to financially support their child, regardless
of whether there is a court order establishing parental
custody and child
When representing unwed mothers and fathers, I seek to understand
the relationship of the parents with one another to help determine
the child's best interest. It is very important to protect a parent's
respective rights while also addressing the child's best interests.
Often, a stepparent is the party raising a child in place of a
biological parent. Under certain circumstances, Ohio law provides
for stepparents to adopt the child. It is very important to thoroughly
prepare your stepparent adoption case to provide the best possible
outcome at Court.
A Stepparent Adoption provides the adopted child stability and
a nurturing relationship. When granted, the stepparent is granted
legal parental rights as if the child was his or her natural child.
As with all matters dealing with legal custody of a child, the Court
must find that the stepparent adoption is in the child's best interest.
The consent of the natural parent is not necessary in certain circumstances,
so it is important to determine how best to proceed before filing
a Stepparent Petition for Adoption.
I have represented both the adopting stepparent, and the biological
parent (not in the same proceeding), and am experienced in protecting
the rights of the parties and the best interests of the child.
When dealing with divorce, dissolution, child
support, establishing parental
/ companionship rights, stepparent
adoptions and annulment of
marriages it is important to understand Ohio law and its application to the
facts of each case. I limit my practice to legal issues facing Central Ohio
Columbus, Ohio Family Law, Divorce, Dissolution, Child Custody and Child
You do not hire a law firm; you hire
me, an experienced Columbus, Ohio Probate and Estate Planning & Divorce
and Family Law lawyer you can count on to be there when you
An experienced Columbus, Ohio Probate and Estate Planning & Divorce
and Family Law, Lawyer
Meet with your
lawyer when and where you can.
If you would like to speak with me regarding probate administration,
estate planning, trusts, wills, power of attorney, living will,
divorce, dissolution, child custody, child support, establishing
parental rights, legal separation, spousal support, grandparent
/ companionship rights, stepparent adoptions and annulment of marriages, please e-mail or
call (614) 461-5708 for a FREE initial telephone consultation.
Ohio, Probate and Estate Planning & Family Law Lawyer
Dirken D. Winkler
- serving clients in Central Ohio, including Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin,
Licking, Madison, Pickaway, and Union counties and the cities of Bexley,
Canal Winchester, Columbus, Dublin, Gahanna, Grandview Heights, Grove
City, Groveport, Hilliard, New Albany, Pickerington, Reynoldsburg, Upper
Arlington, Westerville, Whitehall, and Worthington. Give me a call at
(614) 461-5708. I look forward to representing you.
Columbus, Ohio, Family Law Attorney Winkler Legal Services, LLC
/ Page updated
Sunday, October 8, 2017