Domestic Relations / Family Law
At RothBlair we are committed to providing effective legal representation in the areas of contested divorce, uncontested or “no-fault” divorce, dissolution of marriage, child custody, child support, juvenile court matters, post-divorce matters (e.g., enforcement/contempt, alimony, child custody/support), prenuptial agreements and appeals. Unmarried persons in cohabitation also have rights that can be enforced in civil actions for the return of property (replevin) or for the division or sale of real estate (partition).
We can also assist if you need the immediate protection of the court through a Civil Protection Order (CPO) in Ohio or a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The practice area of Domestic Relations/Family Law may also have interplay with issues involving criminal and/or civil law — or one of the other practice areas at RothBlair such as business/contract law, real estate law, or Trust/Estate law.
Our many years of experience in the domestic relations and juvenile courts in the State of Ohio and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can help guide you from the planning and preparation stages of your case all the way through to a final resolution — whether by negotiated settlement or final trial.
Roth, Blair can expertly guide you through the many issues that arise in a divorce action in the State of Ohio or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A contested divorce action is commenced by one spouse filing for divorce against another spouse.
The legal issues that arise may involve:
- the proper state or county for the divorce action
- the grounds for the divorce
- temporary orders for custody and child support/spousal support and exclusive possession of the marital residence
- child custody allocation
- child support
- child parenting time (visitation)
- real estate
- personal property division
- motor vehicles
- business valuation
- debt/liability division
- brokerage assets/retirement assets/benefits
- separate property issues (gifts/inheritance)
- spousal support (alimony)
- income tax issues including the allocation of child dependency exemptions.
To help you reach your goals in a contested divorce action, we will devote extensive time to gathering necessary information by:
- meeting with you personally throughout the representation and through extensive contact via correspondence by letter and e-mail
- sending requests for information via subpoena to third-parties such as employers, banks and financial service companies
- utilizing experts to analyze issues involving the value of real estate, a business interest or the psychological state of your spouse
- requesting the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem to protect your children’s best interests
- the taking of the testimony under oath of your spouse and other persons with information relevant to your case
- utilizing mediation to resolve issues
- preparing for and attending temporary/interim hearings on your behalf and, if necessary, your final divorce trial.
At hearing or trial, we work hard to be your advocate before the Magistrate or Judge so that your facts and issues are properly presented for maximum effect and resolution in your favor.
In the State of Ohio, contested divorces without children are typically resolved within one year or less. Contested divorces with children are typically resolved no later than 18 months after filing.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a contested divorce must have a one-year period of separation before the courts will begin to address the issues between the parties. In the interim, the parties in Pennsylvania can use the services of the Domestic Relation Section, which can award temporary child support and alimony to a spouse.
Of course, not all divorces are contested. We have the experience to achieve an uncontested divorce for you in the State of Ohio and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the event such a resolution is in your best interests.
In Ohio, an uncontested divorce is usually undertaken through a Dissolution of Marriage. Under this action:
- no reason or grounds for the divorce are necessary
- all issues between the parties must be resolved at the time of filing
- the parties cannot reside together at the time of the signing of the dissolution action
- by law, the dissolution must be granted no earlier than 30 days and no later than 90 days after the filing of the dissolution action.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a “No-fault” divorce is achieved by both parties filing Affidavits of Consent for divorce 90 days after one spouse has initiated the divorce action. This eliminates the need for the one-year waiting period necessary in a contested divorce.
Juvenile Court Matters
Persons in Ohio and/or Pennsylvania that have never married but whose relationship resulted in the birth of one or more children must have the issues concerning their minor child or children resolved in the Juvenile Court, which has the ability to address issues concerning child custody and child support.
RothBlair also represents grandparents and other relatives and/or interested persons seeking temporary and/or permanent custody of minor children in Juvenile Court, as well as juveniles that may find themselves accused of acts of delinquency or traffic offenses.
It is often prudent for a spouse to seek contractual protection through a prenuptial agreement for the assets that he or she brings into a marriage and/or those assets which he or she may acquire in the years that follow.
RothBlair provides you with the legal counsel necessary to negotiate and finalize this important contract that will define the financial parameters of your new marriage — now and in the years that will follow.
Often, a person’s Domestic Relations/Family Law case will have legal errors occur at hearing or trial which require correction so as to not allow the client’s interests to be unlawfully compromised and/or defeated.
RothBlair has extensive experience in spotting and preserving the issues that give rise to a legal appeal to a Judge concerning a Magistrate’s Decision or to a Court of Appeals.
The 7th District Court of Appeals based in Youngstown, Ohio hears Domestic Relations/Family Law appeals from Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson County courts.
RothBlair has had recent success objecting to legal errors in Magistrates’ decisions that occur during interim hearings/proceedings in Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court.
If these legal errors are not corrected, they can have a lasting and detrimental impact on your case, now and in the future.
Appeals of note in this practice area include Letson v. Letson (11th District Court of Appeals), which clarified Ohio’s treatment of business assets in a divorce which had a prenuptial agreement; Bonacci v. Grenga (7th District Court of Appeals), which successfully challenged a trial judge’s erroneous child support calculations; and McCloskey v. McCloskey (7th District Court of Appeals), which required the Domestic Relations trial court to set forth specific facts/reasoning for its decision, as opposed to a Final Judgment which lacked the same.
Appeals have also been filed and argued before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania sitting in Pittsburgh, for domestic relations/family law clients and unmarried clients.