Frequently Asked Questions: Family Law Attorneys

Q: In what situations would I need a Cleveland family law attorney?

A: Family law firms specialize in situations that pertain to family relationships, including, but not limited to, adoptions, divorce, child custody agreements, domestic violence cases, contractual matters such as prenuptial agreements, same-sex marriages and grandparents' rights to visitation of grandchildren. A Cleveland family law attorney is absolutely vital to legal proceedings that require a great deal of paperwork and legal compliance, such as an adoption or a contested child custody case.

Q: How is a Cleveland divorce attorney or family law attorney different from other practices?

A: Family law issues are often quite complex because of the intimate nature of familial relationships and the multiple perspectives from which a case can be analyzed. As a result, family law cases have facets to consider to which other law practice areas do not assign as much weight. For instance, a Cleveland child support attorney can recognize scenarios that could affect the outcome of the final child support agreement, such as who cared for a child more when that child was sick.

Finally, the intensely personal and emotional nature of divorce means that a Cleveland family law attorney must have "exceptional interpersonal skills and be adept in managing emotionally volatile situations," in the words of the University of Baltimore School of Law. This requirement means that skilled Cleveland family law attorneys must be able to counsel using not only legal expertise but also emotional empathy.

Q: Do I need a Cleveland divorce attorney if I am trying to file for a no-fault divorce in Ohio?

A: No-fault divorces, sometimes called uncontested divorces, have different definitions in different states. According to the Ohio State Bar Association, a true no-fault Ohio divorce can only be sought in situations where the parties have been "living separate and apart for one year without interruption and without cohabitation" and also agree that the marriage is incompatible.

As an alternative, people can seek a marriage dissolution in Ohio once all issues have been mutually agreed upon by both parties, including division of property, resolution of debts, parental rights and visitation agreements, child support, spousal support and any other relevant elements of the case. A Cleveland divorce attorney is often needed to help parties reach an agreement regarding these factors that is both sound and legally binding.

Q: Could I represent myself for a divorce in Ohio?

A: Coming to an agreement during a pending divorce case is never easy, especially if crucial spousal factors are involved, such as business ownership or child custody. Not having a divorce attorney jeopardizes a party's ability to exercise his or her legal rights regarding these factors. An improper filing or a failure to discover all relevant information could lead to a complete loss of everything the divorcing party holds dear.

Since the court staff must remain neutral and cannot offer legal advice or suggestions, parties choosing to not be represented by a divorce attorney put the personal assets and relationships they value most at extreme risk.

Q: Can a family law firm help me with a collaborative law divorce in Cleveland?

A: Collaborative law is an emerging field of law practice designed to reduce the amount of stress and adversarial behavior during a divorce in Cleveland, Ohio. Certain family law firms, such as Laubacher & Co., have affiliations with the Center for Principled Family Advocacy, enabling them to facilitate a collaborative law divorce that can make life easier for everyone involved during the divorce while honoring all legal obligations.