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Modifying Child Custody In Ohio

Courts modifying child custody in Ohio have to follow a set of rules. As always, the best interests of the child must be considered.  However, before getting to that point, the court must consider a number of factors as to whether the case qualifies for a modification of parental rights and responsibilities.  A change in circumstances is required to even gain the right to be in court on a child custody modification motion.  This requirement promotes stability in the child's life and prevents motions for changes in custody based on insignificant events.


Ohio Marriage Contracts

Ohio marriage contracts involves three parties: (1) you; (2) your spouse; and (3) the State of Ohio. Marriage is a legal contract with rights and obligations.  Of course, marriage is not just a cold legal concept—marriage is a spiritual and personal relationship between two people.  The obligations of marriage: mutual respect, fidelity and support.  The duty to support includes the parties’ mutual biological and adopted children.


Ohio Divorce Impacts Benefits

An Ohio divorce impacts benefits in many ways. Benefits can be preserved while the divorce is pending. Rights to benefits can either be awarded or denied after the divorce is finalized. When a divorce is filed, most domestic relations courts in Ohio automatically issue retraining orders. These restraining orders prohibit the parties from selling assets or destroying assets, and from cancelling benefits. This means neither party can remove the other from any insurance coverage, including health insurance.


Ohio Child Custody Evaluations

Some child custody battles in Ohio need a more in-depth look than what can be provided by just the testimony of the witnesses. Ohio child custody evaluations can provide that deeper look into the parents and children involved.  A child custody evaluation is ordered by the court and usually consists of psychological evaluations of the parents, observations of the parents with the children, interviews of the parents, and collateral information.


Rights Of Students In Public Schools

Do juveniles have the same rights as adults? Generally yes, but such rights are balanced against protecting the juvenile from himself or herself as well as keeping schools safe.  This article focuses on the rights of students in public schools.


Ohio Courts And The People Who Work There

Identifying courts and court personnel in Ohio courts requires the right resources. There are trial courts, courts of appeals, supreme courts, and the people who work at these courts.  This article is a guide for the some of the most common Ohio courts the people who work there. (more…)

What is OVI in Ohio

What is OVI in Ohio? I typically use the term DUI in my articles because that is what most people commonly call the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol.  Even Ohio lawyers loosely use the term DUI, rather than the official term of OVI.  DWI is typically recognized as an outdated term by both laypeople and professionals.   What are DUI, OVI, DWI, and BAC in Ohio? DUI is driving under the influence.  DWI is driving while impaired.  DUI and DWI are acronyms that are no longer used in Ohio since Ohio enacted a law in 1982 that refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as OMVI or “operating a motor vehicle impaired.”  But, what is OVI in Ohio if OMVI was the official term at one point?  When Ohio removed the requirement that the vehicle be motorized, the offense was shortened to OVI, or “operating a vehicle impaired.”  This leaves us with the term BAC, which is still alive and well today in the law.  BAC refers to blood alcohol content.  In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08 breath alcohol content or greater.  If the driver is under 21 years of age, the legal limit is as low as .02 breath alcohol content.  For many people, that can be reached with as little as one drink within the hour before testing.   (more…)

Battle Between The Landlord And Tenant For The Security Deposit

There are several rules setting forth the rights and duties between a landlord and the tenants in Ohio when the tenants are using the premises as their home. This article will focus on the tenants’ right to a security deposit, as well as the landlord’s right to use the security deposit.  In other words, we will look at the batter between the landlord and tenant for the security deposit.  The landlord must return a tenant’s security deposit within thirty days of the day the tenant vacates the property as long as:  
  1. The rent has been paid in full;
  2. The premises have no damage beyond normal wear and tear; and
  3. The tenant gave the landlord a mailing address where the security deposit could be sent.
  Any security deposit withheld must be listed in a written itemization of damage or unpaid rent, which must be sent to the tenant along with the remainder of the security deposit. Damage does not include normal wear and tear.  Normal wear and tear includes routine property maintenance.   (more…)

Piercing The Corporate Veil In Ohio

Shareholders are usually not liable for the debts of the corporation. In a simple breach of contract case, creditors may only be able to pursue the corporation.  However, creditors of a corporation may sue the shareholders directly if the following are true:  (1) control over the corporation by those held to be liable was so complete that the corporation has no separate mind, will, or existence of its own; (2) control over the corporation by those to be held liable was exercised in such a manner to commit fraud or an illegal act against the person seeking to disregard the corporate entity; and (3) injury or unjust loss resulted to the creditors from such control and wrong.  This is otherwise known as piercing the corporate veil in Ohio.   (more…)

Pay To Stay In Jail

Many county jails in Ohio have a pay to stay in jail policy. The ACLU issued a report on this practice, stating that this burdens a population that likely cannot afford such fees in the first place.  Potential fees include booking fees and daily lodging fees.  According to the report, the jails in Holmes County, Medina County, Cuyahoga County, Ashland County and Summit County do not charge any of these fees.  The Wayne County jail was listed a charging a $10 booking fee but no daily fees.  The counties that offer work release as an option usually charge daily work release fees.  A work release pay to stay program may not have the same concerns cited by the ACLU because the inmates are being given the opportunity to earn amounts greater than the cost of their stay in jail.   (more…)

Filler Weight Is Included In Drug Cases

Filler weight is included in drug cases. Believe it or not, it is illegal to possess and sell fake drugs in Ohio.  Fake drugs are officially referred to as counterfeit controlled substances.  While a controlled substance is usually part of a class of illegal or strictly regulated substances, a counterfeit controlled substance is a non-controlled substances that a reasonable person would believe to be a controlled substance because of its similarity in shape, size, color, markings, labeling, packaging, distribution, or price.   (more…)

Should Filler Weight Be Included In Ohio Drug Cases

  Should filler weight be included in Ohio drug cases? Many drug offenses are based on the weight of the controlled substance found in the suspect’s possession. However, the tests performed by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) do not test for the purity of the substance. When cocaine is cut with sugar or some other filler material, should the level of offense be based on the actual weight of the cocaine or the total weight of the cocaine and filler?  Most appellate districts in Ohio have ruled that the total weight of the controlled substance and filler can be used.   (more…)

Juveniles Can Be Tried As Adults In Ohio

A child under 18 years of age would ordinarily have his or her case heard in juvenile court. In order to try that child as an adult, the child must have been 14 years old or older at the time of the offense.  As long as the age limit and certain other criteria are met, juveniles can be tried as adults in Ohio.   (more…)

Business Income In Ohio Child Support and Divorce

One of the more difficult tasks in calculating child support and spousal support for Ohio divorce and child custody is calculating and determining business income.  Business income in Ohio child support and divorce is complex and filled with pitfalls.  It can be frustrating to watch the opposing parent reduce his or her income significantly through business expenses.  Does this mean that the opposing parent’s income can be reduced from $120,000 in gross receipts down to a net profit of $30,000, simply because he or she claimed $90,000 in business expenses?  Not necessarily.


Medicaid Planning In Ohio Can Include Annuities

Medicaid planning in Ohio can include annuities.  An annuity can be an effective Medicaid planning and estate planning device, if done properly.  This article will focus on annuities as a Medicaid planning device.   An annuity is a product sold by insurance companies, which pays you back in payments over a set number of years.  I discussed annuities in more detail in a previous article.   (more…)

Estate Planning In Ohio Can Include Annuities

Estate planning in Ohio can include annuities.  An annuity can be an effective estate planning and Medicaid planning device, if done properly.  This article will focus on annuities as an estate planning device.   An annuity is an insurance product, which does one of the following: pays you back in payments over time; pays you back when you decide to draw the money out; or pays named beneficiaries when you die.  An immediate annuity pays fixed payments over a certain number of years or over your lifetime.  A deferred annuity earns interest and dividends until you decide to withdraw the money.  Annuities are different than bank accounts, as they are not insured by the FDIC.  Some of the money is guaranteed by the Ohio Guaranteed Insurance Fund.  While the amount of gain is taxed, the original investment is not.   (more…)

Estate Taxes in Ohio

Even though the Ohio estate tax was repealed effective January 1, 2013, there are still estate taxes in Ohio.  A decedent’s estate may still have to pay a federal estate tax of 40% of the gross estate that is more than $5.34 million.  5.34 million dollars is the exempt amount that is not subject to federal taxation.  One may deduct funeral and burial expenses, payment of debts, charitable gifts, and most transfers to the surviving spouse.  One cannot exempt transfer on death or payable on death property from estate taxes.   A federal estate tax return (Form 706) does not always need to be filed.  When the decedent’s gross estate is more than the exempt amount, the return must be filed, even if it shows that no tax is owed.  Filing a federal estate tax return can allow a surviving spouse to combine his or her exemption with the deceased spouse, otherwise called a “portability election.”  If a wife inherits five million dollars from her deceased husband and files a federal estate tax return on the unused exemption, the wife would have $10.34 million in exemptions available in her estate upon her death.   (more…)

Enforcing Ohio Divorce Decrees

An Ohio domestic relations court not only has the power to issue a divorce decree, but it also has the power to enforce it.  Enforcing Ohio divorce decrees is important because, without enforcement power, the decree would simply be a list of suggestions.  The divorce court enforces its orders through its contempt power.  Typically, the wronged party files a motion to show cause as to why a party should not be held in contempt of court.  The prosecuting attorney can file a motion for contempt for failure to pay child support.  The court then sets the matter for hearing for the offending party to appear before the court and explain why he or she should not be held in contempt.   If someone is held in civil contempt of court, he or she will be given a chance to correct the situation, commonly referred to as a purge period.  Failure to purge contempt in the time allotted can result in a jail term.  Repeated contempt motions can result in longer jail terms for failure to purge contempt.   (more…)

Ohio’s Sudden Emergency Defense To Personal Injury Claims

Ohio’s sudden emergency defense to personal injury claims should be considered when pursuing and filing a personal injury case.  You can certainly bet that the insurance company and their lawyers will be considering and raising this defense if they believe it can defeat a personal injury claim.  A good personal injury lawyer always anticipates the defenses in building a case for the client.   What is the sudden emergency doctrine?  The sudden emergency defense consists of:
  1. The person was confronted by a sudden or unexpected emergency;
  2. The claimed emergency was not the result of any fault of the person or any circumstance under the person’s control; and
  3. The person exercised such care as a reasonably cautious person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.

Can An Ohio Police Officer Arrest Someone Outside Their Jurisdiction?

Can an Ohio police officer arrest someone outside their jurisdiction? A police officer cannot arrest someone for a crime committed outside of their jurisdictional limits.  The question is what their jurisdictional limits are.  The state highway patrol and sheriffs or their deputies have the power to make arrests for violations on all state highways, but only for certain listed offenses.  Generally, all other police officers are limited to the area they were elected or appointed to serve.  Township police officers who are not commissioned peace officers cannot enforce traffic laws on any state highway.  Commissioned peace officers serving a township with a population of 50,000 or less cannot exercise their powers on interstate system highways.  Out of town officers hired or appointed by the local department have authority in that area for that limited time.   (more…)

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