Fogt Law Office Can Help Give You a Fresh Start
A divorce is an emotional and stressful event in a person's life. It not only affects them, it affects their children. A divorce also impacts a person's financial security. You can depend on Attorney Christopher M. Fogt's experience and knowledge to ensure that you and your children receive the best possible outcome. He is a calm and prepared professional advocate that is focused on your case. Attorney Fogt is also a member of the Montgomery County Family Law Forum that provides several seminars every year on various divorce topics to better represent their clients.
Attorney Fogt listens to his clients so that he understands their goals and priorities. All clients are unique. He communicates well with his clients, opposing counsel, and the Court. He also provides straight-forward advice.
A divorce legally terminates the marriage. Another purpose of a divorce is to equitably divide the parties' assets and debts. It is important to conduct thorough discovery to ensure an equitable distribution of the parties' assets and debts. This is done by utilizing a Request for Production of Documents (Ohio Civil Rule 34), a Request for Interrogatories (Ohio Civil Rule 33) and a Request for Admissions (Ohio Civil Rule 36) as well as other means.
A dissolution is still a divorce and terminates the marriage. The difference between a divorce and a dissolution is that with a dissolution, the parties agree on all terms and conditions of their divorce. Typically only one spouse hires an attorney. That attorney will draft the parties' dissolution. Sometimes, the other spouse will have their own attorney review the dissolution for peace of mind. Also, there is usually much less discovery conducted than in a divorce. Since a dissolution is more amicable and much less time consuming, it costs much less than a divorce.
A non-contested divorce is scheduled when one of the parties does not file an Answer to the other's Complaint for Divorce and does not show up at the divorce hearing. A divorce is sometimes scheduled for a "non-con" when the parties settle their divorce and have submitted their agreement to the Court or plan on reading it into the record. At a "non-con" the parties go to Court and either the Court and the parties acknowledge their agreement on the Record or their agreement is read onto the Record.
Sometimes parties wish to stay married for religious reasons or to maintain health insurance for the other party so they are granted a Legal Separation by the Court.
Child Custody and Parenting Time
This is the most difficult aspect of a divorce. It is great when parents can agree upon custody and parenting time as well as help the children adjust to the divorce. When the parents cannot agree on custody and/or parenting time there are number of factors the Court considers to determine custody. (See Ohio Revised Code 3109.04(F)). A few of these factors include, but are not limited to:
- The children's relationship with parents, their siblings, and other close to them;
- The parent more likely to facilitate parenting time;
- Whether the children will need to adapt to new home, school, or community; and
- Which parent is more involved with the children, their schools, their medical needs, etc.
Depending on your case, Attorney Fogt may advise you to request a Guardian-ad-Litem, "GAL." A GAL is an attorney that conducts an investigation, writes a report and submits recommendations to the Court focused on custody and parenting time of the children. The GAL will meet with both parties, the children, other people that are important to the children such as grandparents and teachers, review school records, as well as documentation provided by the parties to the GAL and more. The GAL then submits his report and recommendations to the Court and provides a copy to both parties' attorneys. Often, the GAL report helps resolve the custody and parenting time issue.
Attorney Fogt has been a GAL for 11 years and can provide insight as to what is important to the GAL. For instance, it is best to be organized and honest with a GAL. It is natural for one party to have concerns about the other party. It is best to discuss those concerns with the GAL with the focus on the children's best interest. It is also normal and healthy to have nice things to say about the other party.
Child support is paid during or after a divorce, dissolution, or legal separation. Child support is typically ordered to be paid by the non-residential parent to the residential parent. In Ohio, child support is calculated based on the income of the parents, health insurance cost, and daycare cost. A common misconception is that child support automatically terminates once the child(ren) reach the age of eighteen. Child support orders can continue until the child(ren) no longer attend an accredited high school on a full-time basis or reach the age of nineteen.
The amount of child support ordered is determined by the Ohio Child Support Guidelines as required by Ohio Revised Code sections 3119.021 and 3119.022. Child support obligations are calculated using the Basic Child Support Schedule and either the Sole/Shared Child Support Computation Worksheet or the Split Parenting Child Support Computation Worksheet. The Sole/Shared Worksheet is utilized in most circumstances. The Split Worksheet is only used when both parties are the residential parent of at least one child.
Spousal support is to ensure that both parties have sufficient funds to support themselves after the marriage. In determining whether spousal support is reasonable and in determining the amount and terms of payment of spousal support, each party shall be considered to have contributed equally to the production of marital income.
In Ohio, courts have broad discretion in determining the amount and duration of spousal support payments. For instance, one county typically does not order spousal support unless the parties have been married for at least 5 years. Also, for every 3 years of marriage, spousal support may be ordered for 1 year. For example, if a couple has been married for 15 years and there is a decent to a large disparity between the parties' income levels, then the Court would likely order spousal support to be paid for 5 years at the calculated support amount.
Spousal support can be ordered for a specific period of time after the marriage or it can be indefinite. In addition, courts can order temporary spousal support, which is only required to be paid during the pendency of the case.
When determining spousal support, judges consider a multitude of factors under Ohio Revised Code section 3105.18 including but not limited to:
- All income sources for the parties;
- Relative earning abilities of the parties;
- Ages of the parties;
- Physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
- Retirement benefits of the parties;
- Relative education level of the parties;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Standard of living established during the marriage;
- Relative assets and liabilities of the parties; and
- Tax implications for the parties.
The divorce process can be stressful for a number of reasons. One thing that tends to stress clients is the change of pace during the divorce. In the beginning, there is a lot of work quickly done. Then the divorce slows down, then speeds back up at the end. Attorney Fogt helps provide peace of mind throughout the process by communicating with clients even when there is not much happening in their case and making sure everything in their case is being done.
To file a divorce, there are many forms that are required by the Clerk's Office and/or Court that a client has to complete for the Court. They may seem daunting, but Attorney Fogt will answer your questions and guide you through it.
Another strength of Attorney Fogt's is his ability to conduct relevant and detailed discovery of your spouse's assets, debts, tax returns, employment records, bank records, retirement and 401(k) accounts and other such accounts, stocks and bonds, various collections whether gun and sports memorabilia, deeds and mortgages, and car titles.
After your divorce is filed, a pre-trial will be scheduled. Both parties and attorneys have to be present. Though only the attorneys and the Judge talk about the case to determine if there are any agreements on any issues as well as determine which issues remain. The Pre-Trial usually lasts only 15 minutes.
About a month or two after the pre-trial, a Settlement Conference will take place. If the parties can come to an agreement prior to the settlement conference, the parties can submit their Final Decree and Judgment for Divorce to the Court and then be divorced at the Settlement Hearing. If the parties do not reach an agreement prior to the Settlement Hearing, the Court will give the parties some time at the Settlement Conference to come to an agreement. If the matter cannot be settled the matter will be scheduled for trial.
Hearings and Trial
During the divorce, there may be hearings on Temporary Orders as to spousal support, child support, and property issues. If the parties cannot reach an agreement to settle the divorce, then there will be a trial on the remaining issues.
Attorney Fogt is a great advocate at hearings and at trial. Not only does he have a lot of hearing and trial experience in family law court, he has extensive hearing and jury trial experience in criminal court and even more experience with hearings in juvenile court. Most divorce attorneys do not have the such extensive hearing and trial experience nor the skillset to rely upon as Attorney Fogt.
Post Decree Issues
It is important for your attorney to draft and/or review the terms and conditions of the Final Decree and Judgment of Divorce to reduce the chance of Post-Decree Issues. Sometimes Post-Decree Issues cannot be avoided. For instance, which school district should the parties' 2 year old attend once he becomes school age. In contrast, all assets and debts should have been finalized in the Final Decree and Judgment for Divorce.
Divorce can be expensive, but it does not have to be. Attorney Fogt is mindful to settle your matter amicably with the other party in part to help save your financial resources. Attorney Fogt though cannot prevent the other party as well as his/her attorney from arguing over petty things or making poor legal arguments. However, Attorney Fogt knows how handle these issues, which in turn, will benefit you and your case. It is always best to work in good faith with the other party.
Fogt Law Represents Clients in Many Courts
Attorney Fogt practices Family Law in Montgomery County, Greene County, Clark County, and Warren County. He has and is willing to practice in other counties on request.