Relationships & Resolutions

For such life-changing personal events as marriage, divorce, adoption or child custody, our family law attorneys provide the thoughtful insight and detailed support needed for effective agreements and resolutions.

Whether it’s managing the complexity of adoption, a thorough prenuptial document, a cooperative dissolution, or an adversarial divorce, we provide a uniquely human combination of experience and empathy to resolve matters efficiently.

Adoption is more than the process of establishing a new home for a child and creating a legal parent-child relationship — it’s the creation of family. While every adoption varies in procedure and complexity, the most important factors to consider at all times are the best interests and well-being of the child.

At Isaac Wiles, we are honored to help families grow through legal adoption. We represent both prospective adoptive parents and birth parents in private attorney adoptions, step-parent/relative adoptions, foster parent adoptions, and private agency adoptions. Through each family’s adoption journey, we prioritize the best interest of the child and use our knowledge and resources to meet the necessary legal requirements for adoption.

Persistence makes progress

The adoption process can be long, complicated and mentally taxing on every person involved. We understand adoption is a personal, life-changing decision with emotional peaks and valleys. Our Family Law attorneys are deeply experienced and well-prepared to accept the challenge of managing all legal processes, paperwork and court dates to ensure a smooth and efficient adoption. We carry the weight of the details for our clients so they can focus on preparing for life once the adoption is finalized.

The adoption process

Every adoption process begins with a home study, which is completed by the prospective adopting parent(s). It includes a criminal background check, a home visit, financial information, a physician letter stating that the adopting parent(s) are in good health, and five letters of recommendation from family members and/or friends. The adoption is finalized in one of three possible counties: the county where the adopting parent(s) reside, the county where the child is born, or the county where the birth parent(s) reside.

After a match occurs between the adopting parent(s) and the birth parent(s) — and after the birth parent(s) terminate their rights — the adopting parent(s) can file a petition for adoption with the probate court. The child must be in his or her new home for at least six months before the adoption can be finalized; consequently, the final adoption hearing is scheduled six months from the date the child is placed. Finally, a new birth certificate is issued listing the adopting parent(s) as the child’s parent(s).

When tensions run high during divorce or other family separation, it is often necessary to have a court decide the legal custody of minor children involved. Our Family Law team compassionately guides clients through all aspects of child custody and support matters and proceedings. This includes court appearances, sole or shared custody determinations, parenting time schedules, financial and healthcare support, and intrastate custodial disputes, as well as custody, parenting time and support modifications at later dates. Our attorneys assist in other parental rights and obligations matters as well, including establishing paternity, adoption, and grandparent/relative rights.

The best interest of the child

Child custody and child support are the most contested and emotionally-charged areas of family law and they require the skills, guidance and empathy of an experienced attorney. Our attorneys place child advocacy above all else and thoughtfully prepare for every matter with the best interest of each child as top priority. This can include presenting evidence to the court about a child’s well-being, from school and health records to personal testimony. We help our clients understand the law and form realistic expectations for custody and support determinations.

Child custody & child support determinations

Child custody includes two determinations: sole custody or shared custody (called shared parenting). “Custody” gives the custodial parent the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. Sole custody means one parent has these rights; shared parenting means they both do.  Under either scenario, parenting time can vary. Shared parenting does not mean each parent gets an equal 50% of the parenting time, it only means the parents share custody rights.

Child custody issues also occur in situations other than divorce, such as when parents of a child are unmarried, or a parent is unfit to care for a child. In these situations, custody can be awarded to one or both of the parents, or a relative or close friend if a judge determines that it is in a child’s best interest.

The Isaac Wiles Family Law team includes attorneys with more than 135 years of combined experience in the areas of divorce, dissolution, separation, premarital agreement, child custody and support, and adoption law. Our attorneys include those listed among: the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys Best in Client Satisfaction, Best Lawyers in America,  Ohio Super Lawyers and Martindale-Hubble. The Family Law team includes a former Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Court judge, who previously served as a foster parent.

No matter the circumstance, the process of terminating a marriage can be extremely overwhelming and uncertain. Whether the route of divorce or dissolution is chosen, legal professionals that are experienced and honest, and patient yet bold, are needed to protect the goals and rights of each client.

The Family Law attorneys at Isaac Wiles help clients understand the differences between divorce, dissolution, and legal separation and move forward with the option that works best for them. We understand the gravity of this decision, and both the mental and emotional tolls each option takes.

Preserving relationships and assets

Ending a marriage takes great patience. Untangling assets and debts, figuring out support and custody issues, and establishing each spouse as a parent who parents separately takes much more than a few days. Every case and each detail is different, and we want to ensure a solid footing for those wishing to live separate lives.

Our team is extremely comfortable and experienced in each termination process, and in the courtroom when needed. We are prepared to vigorously defend our clients in complex divorce proceedings, especially those that concern the welfare of children and the preservation of critical assets. Through confident and compassionate support, our attorneys assist with child custody and support, parental rights and responsibilities, as well as spousal support, division of assets and debt, business valuation, separate property tracing, and other intricate business interests. We also help with post-judgment (decree) modifications.

Divorce vs. Dissolution

There are two ways to end a marriage in the State of Ohio, divorce or dissolution. Divorce terminates a marriage in an adversarial proceeding when one party alleges grounds for termination. Dissolution can only occur when both parties agree on every issue, and the agreement is formally recorded in a separation agreement.

Divorce

A divorce starts by a spouse filing a complaint for divorce and asking the court to terminate their marriage. In the complaint, the filer alleges fault to the other spouse under one or more of Ohio’s statutory grounds. A divorce allows the court’s assistance in setting “rules” for the parties to follow while they sort things out, and it establishes finality with a known court date. The primary issues in a divorce situation include:

  • Residency
  • Financial (Assets & Debts)
  • Child Custody
  • Parenting Time
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Healthcare Considerations

If the parties cannot settle these issues, then there is a trial before a judge or magistrate who decides the contested issues.

A contested divorce case can last in excess of one year, with multiple court appearances. It looks and feels adversarial, even if the parties reach an agreement sooner than expected. And, it can be expensive, depending on its complexity. A divorce case may require a party to hire expert witnesses, such as accountants or psychologists. If custody and/or parenting time issues arise, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent the best interest of the child(ren).

Dissolution

A dissolution is an agreed termination of marriage. Not only is it less time intensive than a divorce from filing to completion, but to some, it brings mental and emotional peace because they did not “go through a divorce.” A dissolution agreement between spouses must be made on all issues, including division of assets and debts, child custody and parenting time issues, child support and/or spousal support.  Once agreement is reached, dissolution documents are filed with the appropriate court. The parties then appear at a brief court hearing after which a judge terminates the marriage.  While final hearings must take place within 90 days of filing, most are scheduled 30 days after filing, making dissolution a faster resolution once a complete agreement is reached.

In some instances, the parties may solicit the help of a third party, neutral mediator to facilitate settlement negotiations on key disputed issues. A mediator can work with opposing spouses and their attorneys to draft a settlement agreement that a court is likely to approve at a final hearing.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is essentially the same as a divorce. All of the same paperwork must be prepared as one would for a dissolution or a divorce. However, at the end of the proceeding the parties are only “legally separated.” In the eyes of the law they remain married. A legal separation is typically requested for religious reasons or so that a party can stay on the other’s health insurance. In our experience, most parties ultimately decide to terminate their marriage once they start down the path of legal separation.

The Isaac Wiles Family Law team includes attorneys with more than 135 years of combined experience in the areas of divorce, dissolution, separation, premarital agreement, child custody and support, and adoption law. Our attorneys included those listed among the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys Best in Client Satisfaction; Best Lawyers in America; Ohio Super Lawyers and Martindale-Hubble. The Family Law team includes a former Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Court judge, who previously served as a foster parent.

To safeguard the property and financial rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce, many couples choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. The benefits of a prenuptial agreement include documenting each spouse’s separate properties and/or businesses, assigning debts, detailing special arrangements between to-be spouses, and reducing conflict and extensive court proceedings should divorce arise later.

At Isaac Wiles, our Family Law team routinely works with couples to establish prenuptial agreements that protect and manage their individual financial assets and liabilities in the event of dissolution or divorce. More people than ever acknowledge that marriage is not just a romantic relationship, but also a business relationship in which each spouse’s financial interests and rights are valued.

Protections and provisions

Our Family Law attorneys pour through the details to ensure our clients can safeguard their individual assets and liabilities prior to saying, “I do.” Prenuptial agreements might include determinations of property, limitations on debt liability, provisions for children from previous relationships, protection of family property and estate plans, and distribution of property after divorce. We help create exhaustive, formal prenuptial agreements that take into consideration the businesses, retirement, real estate, bank accounts, credit cards, children and debt each spouse brings to the relationship…before walking down the aisle.

The Isaac Wiles Family Law team includes attorneys with more than 135 years of combined experience in the areas of divorce, dissolution, separation, premarital agreement, child custody and support, and adoption law. Our attorneys included those listed among the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys Best in Client Satisfaction; Best Lawyers in America; Ohio Super Lawyers and Martindale-Hubble. The Family Law team includes a former Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Court judge, who previously served as a foster parent.

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