Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Process For Registering Your Parenting Order With A Court In The State Of Ohio For Enforcement

If you have a custody or visitation order from another state and have resided in Ohio for at least six months, you should seek the assistance of a lawyer to assist you with the process for registering your parenting order with a court in the state of Ohio for enforcement.

By registering the out-of-state decree and/or judgment entry with an Ohio court, you then have the right to have an Ohio court and/or police officer, if necessary, enforce your decree just as they would if it were made by an Ohio court.  However, it does not mean that jurisdiction has automatically been transferred to Ohio or that an Ohio court can modify the order.  Ohio courts can only enforce the order.  The registration of an out-of-state order can be contested, but only on a very limited basis. 

To register the out-of-state decree for modification requires a different set of factors, including that Ohio has become the home state (the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding the commencement of a child custody proceeding) for any minor children.  Contact Joseph Stafford at Stafford Law Co., L.P.A. to discuss whether your matter meets the criteria for the registration of an out-of-state decree for modification purposes.   

For more information, or to schedule an appointment contact Joseph Stafford at Stafford Law Company 216.241.1074.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Collaborative Family Law

Collaborative divorce is a  process designed to make more efficient the process for ending a marriage, and to encourage clients and attorneys to reach a resolution quickly, avoiding expensive litigation.  Attorneys have been practicing variations of collaborative divorce in Ohio for a long time.  However, Ohio recently adopted the Collaborative Family Law Process Act (R.C. §§ 3105.41 to 3105.54). The Act defines the Collaborative family law process as a “procedure intend to resolve a matter without intervention by a court in which the parties sign a collaborative family law participation agreement and are represented by collaborative family lawyers.”   

A Collaborative family lawyer is a “lawyer who represents a party in a collaborative family law process but does not include a lawyer who is a public official and who does not represent individuals other than public officials in their official capacities”.  Attorneys that practice litigation can also be collaborative divorce attorneys.  An attorney does not have to be in an association, club or specialized firm to practice collaborative family law.

In order for the collaborative process to be successful, everybody’s motivation and financial goals must be aligned.  In the event the parties do not reach an agreement, the Collaborative Family Law participation agreement and the Act require that the attorneys cannot represent the parties in any court proceedings.  Therefore all the time spent in selecting an attorney that each party likes and trusts and all the time and money spent negotiating trying to reach resolution will be lost if no agreement is reached.

The lawyers at Stafford Law have been employing collaborative law techniques to resolve cases for their clients even before the adoption of the Collaborative Family Law Process Act and are skilled at reaching the successful resolution of your divorce matter and achieving your family law goals.

For further information on this topic, or to schedule an appointment with Joseph Stafford call 216.241.1074 or visit Stafford Law Company's web-site at

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Departure From Marker v. Grimm When Calculating Child Support With A Combined Income Of Greater Than $150,000?

  The Eighth District Court of Appeals issued a recent decision marking a substantial
departure from the well known law created by the Supreme Court of Ohio in Marker v. Grimm,
65 Ohio St.3d 139 (1992).

  In Marker, the Supreme Court of Ohio determined that any court or agency computing a
child support order must follow the statutory requirements literally and technically in all material
aspects. This includes computing a child support computation worksheet and making it a part of
the record (i.e. attaching it to the order).

 The issue being considered by the Eighth District Court of Appeals in In Re: J-L.H., 8th
Dist. No. 100469, 2014-Ohio-1245, was that an administrative order did not include a child
support computation worksheet, and on this basis the trial court dismissed the agency’s
complaint. While first agreeing that Marker applied to the matter being decided in In Re: J-L.H.,
the court of appeals made a sharp departure from the long standing precedent. The court of
appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and decided that a child support computation
worksheet was not necessary. The court of appeals further indicated that in cases where the
combined gross income of the parties is less than $6,600 or more than $150,000, a child support
computation worksheet is not required to be used by the court or agency computing child
support. The court of appeals specifically held (even though it was not deciding this issue) that
“under R.C. 3119.04(B), courts are not required to use the guideline worksheet to determine the
appropriate amount of child support (as long as they make a finding that the amount is not less
than the $150,000 equivalent).”

 This holding will prove problematic as under the statute and Marker a trial court is
required to compute and utilize a basic child support computation worksheet when analyzing the
proper amount of child support.

 The In re: J-L.H. decision is available on the Supreme Court of Ohio's Website at

For more information regarding these issues, and the process involved, contact Joseph Stafford at 216.241.1074 or visit