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North Royalton Legal Blog

Marital dissolution: a form of divorce available in Ohio

Divorce is sometimes portrayed as always being a traumatic court proceeding in which two spouses battle it out for child custody, child support, spousal support and property. However, not all divorces look like this. Sometimes two people simply grow apart, and they jointly realize that it isn't working out and it would be better not to be together. Maybe they've even separated, with the two no longer living together. Is there an easier way for them to dissolve the legal bonds of matrimony?

In Ohio, a marital dissolution may be the legal solution to the couple's problem. A marital dissolution is a no-fault form of divorce. It works well if both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce. For example, if a separated couple has already informally divided their property, worked out a child custody and child support arrangement, and agree on the issue of spousal support payments, there are probably no issues to fight over if they choose to divorce.

Those facing OVI charges in Ohio do not have to do so alone

Drunk driving cases are common in the North Royalton area municipal and mayor courts. This does not mean, however, that drunk driving is not a big deal. The reality is that there can be very serious consequences to an OVI conviction. Drivers convicted of OVI face higher car insurance premiums, significant fines, potentially lengthy driver's license suspensions, and as we discussed in the past, they also may face serious jail time.

In many kinds of OVI cases, Ohio judges are required to impose a mandatory minimum term in jail upon conviction. Not only is there a mandatory minimum, but the sentence cannot be broken up to accommodate work obligations. It must be served consecutively. If a person loses their job due to having to serve jail time, the entire trajectory of their future could be altered.

What makes a good attorney ?

Before I went to law school and started practicing, I thought the law was black and white, right and wrong. Unfortunately, that could not be further from the truth. The law is mostly just one big shade of gray. Many clients' find the other side's arguments (whatever they may be) to be wholly unreasonable and ridiculous. This means that in most instances they are unwilling to see their own mistakes, or assign some value to the other side's position. This is even more true in the world of domestic relations (divorces/dissolutions - property division and children issues).

Estate planning resolutions for the new year

Ohio residents make many New Year's resolutions, and January is the month when most of them will try to keep them. While some may choose to increase exercise or eat healthier, another important resolution that should be made is to create a comprehensive estate plan.

One of the first steps that one should take that is to write a last will and testament. This is a necessary document for anyone over the age of 18. Without a will, state laws dictate how assets and property will be distributed to one's heirs and who will get custody of one's minor children. Family conflicts can be avoided by taking the time to create a well thought-out will outlining the disposition of one's assets and the guardianship of one's minor children.

Ohio law aims to reduce distracted driving accidents

At the end of October, a new law went into effect which aims to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents in Ohio. In 2017, nearly 14,000 vehicle crashes occurred due to distracted driving in Ohio. The crashes resulted in 55 deaths, and the number of fatal crashed doubled from 2016 to 2017.

Two women facing drug possession charges after unrelated stop

Many people do not realize that just because an individual has been charged with or arrested on suspicion of committing a crime, it is not necessarily the case that they have committed it. In fact, everyone has the right to convey their side of the story in a courtroom and one of the steps criminal defense attorneys take is to challenge the elements of the prosecution's case to prove the innocence of their client. When it comes to drug possession charges, one of the tactics could be to challenge the very reason the drugs were discovered in the first place.

This might be the strategy to consider for Ohio residents who have been charged with multiple charges relating to drug crimes. Police officers pulled over a 37-year-old woman after a random vehicle registration check led to the discovery that there was an active warrant out for the person's arrest. The woman was the owner of the vehicle and police suspected she had a baggie of suspected crack cocaine tucked into her shirt.

New Child Support Changes coming in March of 2018.

In March of 2018, the child support guide lines will be modified for the first time in years. There will be some substantial changes, however no one really knows what actual result these will have. It seems that the legislature modified the guidelines for situations in Juvenile Court, and did not really address the situation on Domestic Relations Court (married or divorced parties). In March, the entire amount of the cost of health insurance will be deducted from the parties gross income for the purposes of the calculation. The assumption will be that the "custodial parent" will be the health insurance obligor (provide health insurance). Previously just the cost to insure the child was captured, and the respective cost was divided between the parties based on their respective percent of income. Further in 2018 there will be three steps of "deviation" or reduction to child support based on the number of overnights the non-residential parent has parenting time. The first step is over 90 night, and seems to warrant a 10% downward deviation. The second step is over 140+/- nights and warrants a further deviation, however they have not addressed what percent deviation this amount will be. At this time the standard schedule in Cuyahoga County is at 138 nights, so this will be interesting to see how this plays out. There is a 3rd deviation warranted at over 145 nights. Again, a 50/50 schedule seems to warrant a pretty substantial deviation downward in child support. There has been no specific direction given on if this this a 25%, 50% or more deviation. It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the near future.

Drug possession criminal reform bright light at end of year

Though Issue 1, Ohio's drug crime constitutional amendment, failed at the ballot box in November, Ohio Senate President has started taking steps to make good on his promise to reform drug laws. Though he opposed the failed amendment, he had claimed he would work toward changing the laws and introduced Senate Bill 341 in furtherance of that.

Proponents of Issue 1 see the empty bill as a positive step, hoping it will reduce prison populations and improve treatment for addicts. By introducing an empty bill, he has opened up the topic for public discussion and the ability to reintroduce the bill next year with specifics. Among other things, the senate president, along with others, is examining reducing most fourth and fifth degree drug felonies to misdemeanors so the judge can sentence the defendant to drug court and to allow those who have been incarcerated or are on probation for those newly classified claims to petition the court to reduce their sentences.

The difference between contested and uncontested divorces

Conflict is often the root of many marital squabbles but in many situations Ohio residents are able to come to terms with their spouses and move past their disagreements. However, when marital strife becomes unbearable, individuals may turn to the courts to release them from their legal bonds. Divorce is the common term given to the litigious process that severs the legal relationship between two people.

For some, the conflict that they experienced in their marriage will continue into their divorce. When the partners to failing marital couples cannot agree on how they will split up their money or if one will be required to pay the other support, the case may be considered a contested divorce. Contested divorces can require negotiations between the parties and their attorneys to find acceptable solutions to the parties' varying opinions.

What is drug paraphernalia?

Drug possession arrests and convictions can impose serious penalties on the lives of Ohio residents. Whether their arrests are for allegedly possessing marijuana or narcotics, drug possession charges can be costly and can leave individuals with marks on their criminal records. However, there is a drug charge that may affect an individual that does not even involve the presence of drugs on a person. That charge is possession of drug paraphernalia and this post will briefly discuss what that may mean.

Drug paraphernalia is the collection of items that a person may have that they need to use drugs. For example, rolling papers for marijuana may be considered drug paraphernalia, as may pipes, scales for weighing drugs and others. The presence of drug paraphernalia on a person may suggest to law enforcement officials that a person is engaged in the act of possessing or selling drugs and therefore breaking the law.

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