How do I choose an attorney to represent me?

Start by asking friends, check the Yellow Pages for lawyers who indicate they handle domestic relations cases or call the Cincinnati or Ohio Bar Association, Lawyers’ Referral Service.

Remember, the lawyer you choose will be the one who stands up for your rights in court. Look for one who seems helpful to you, and whom to trust to handle your case competently and efficiently.

Of course, we would like to be one of the law firms which you consider. Ours is a family law practice with experience in a broad range of legal issues, including divorce and dissolution. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our services with you.

My spouse and I have everything worked out, why do we need a lawyer at all?

Sometimes your situation may be simple enough that you might only need a lawyer to help you prepare the appropriate papers, file them with the court and have the divorce granted. There are usually considerations which most people do not think about and which should be discussed and considered. For example, your rights regarding interests in insurance policies, pensions, and other retirement plans. There are tax considerations regarding alimony and child support payments which both parties should be aware of. There are numerous ways to resolve child custody to accommodate both parties’ needs. Your lawyer will help you deal with these questions and select the best alternative you and your family.

I am afraid this whole procedure will get really complicated and I will lose everything.

Many times, much of the anxieties surrounding divorce is related to a very human fear of the unknown. Will I lose the kids? Will I get taken for a financial ride? Will I be able to afford to live after this over? Will I ever see my children again?

These are major issues, big enough to unsettle anyone. Generally, the law tries to protect both parties’ rights, the husband and the wife. Both parties are entitled to a fair and equitable property settlement, sufficient child support and alimony based upon need and ability to earn a living. Tap your lawyer’s experience to find out what is typically considered fair in situations similar to yours and then decide with your lawyer what would be a good settlement for you. By investing this time with your attorney at the beginning of your case, most of the “surprises” that complicate a divorce may be avoided.

What is the law regarding custody? What are my other rights?

If the parents cannot agree, the Domestic Relations Court, after a thorough investigation, will decide which parent should have custody by determining what is in the best interests of the minor children. The law says that both parents stand upon an equality as to care, custody, and control. Today most cases result in both parents sharing custody or “shared parenting”.

First of all, how much is a divorce going to cost?

Legal fees vary according to the complexity of your particular situation. They vary according to the hourly rate and basic fee charged by the law firm which you choose and by the total amount of time your attorney must spend to adequately represent you and resolve your problems.

A simple, uncontested case warranting a minimum fee might be one involving a couple without children, without real estate or significant assets and both parties working and earning a living. In contested divorces whether the dispute involves the grounds for divorce, custody, alimony or property settlements, your attorney will need to spend more of his time in resolving such issues which will obviously be reflected the fee he charges you.

The cost of your divorce or dissolution can vary widely. After your initial consultation, ask your lawyer to confirm your fee arrangement in writing and ask what problems or issues might complicate the divorce and make it more expensive to you.