Decisions and situations encountered during a divorce. 

Divorce can be one of the most emotional and grueling times in your life. There are many unknowns and fears. No one enters a marriage believing that it will end some day, however almost 50 percent of all marriages do end in divorce.   It does not only mean that people have to deal with the end of a relationship, but they also have to figure out how to share and split everything, who will have to move out, and many other unpleasant things. There can also be many child custody and support issues to consider.

If you have children, don’t use them as leverage in a divorce struggle between you and your spouse. Make sure that you are being a good parent by taking care of your children, and by make sure that your children understand that you love them and have their best interests at heart.  There are several factors the court will consider in custody matters.

One important factor that will help determine who receives custody of the child is the establishment of who is the child’s primary caregiver. This can take many factors into account – the financial well being of each parent, the amount of time the parent spends with the child each day, and the proximity of the parents to the child’s school and other important functions.  Other factors include which parent has the most stable home environment for the child.  Most importantly, what the “best interest” of the children involved is most important.  Other factors and issues to consider include whether one spouse has problems with alcohol or substance abuse that could put the child at risk.  Sometimes when parents can’t reach an amicable decision about the placement of the children, the court will appoint an GAL (Guardian ad Litem).  This is a neutral person to access the situation and inform the court.  The GAL usually will complete a recommendation to the Court in regards to the children’s best interest.  This recommendation is not taken lightly by the Court and is used as another factor to determine custody.  Knowing the issues to consider will help you get custody in your divorce.

There are many decisions and situations that someone may encounter during the divorce.  We can offer the support and guidance needed to get through your divorce with your best interest in mind.  Never put yourself down, just understand that whatever was done will never be undone and you are moving forward in the process. We are here to help with the process, to take the fear and unknown and give you support you need during the divorce. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation please call Kurt Law, Inc. at (440) 516-1010.

How do you choose the right attorney?

You do not want “a Jack of all trades and a master of none.” At Kurt Law Inc., we market as your premier law firm. We have a strong group of attorneys that can help you with most legal needs.  We have an attorney that has worked in Medicaid, estate planning for over 35 years; we have a criminal defense team with over 50 years’ experience and so on.

Be a wise consumer of legal services. Interview several lawyers before choosing one. Question the lawyer about his or her credentials, experience, staff, and timeline for working on and finishing your case. Look for a lawyer who sensitively listens to you, candidly answers your questions, encourages collaboration, and considers you a member of the legal team.  You want an attorney that will be honest, direct, and get the best result possible. At Kurt Law, that’s how we provide legal services.  Under the law, we get the best result possible.

Before you hire a lawyer, have a frank discussion about fees, including how and when the lawyer sends bills. We always will discuss fees at our FREE legal consultation. We do have payment plans available, but litigation is costly. In your consultation we give you the costs and option available for your case.  Every case and matter is different and handle as such. Remember, you get what you pay for!

Once you have decided upon the lawyer with whom you want to work, consider the following:

  1. Don’t delay! Deadlines may affect your case and legal rights. For example, if your loved one died as a result of the negligent or intentional behavior of another person, you may have only one year from the date of your loved one’s death to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator. Also, if you are a surviving spouse and your loved one died without a will, there may be a limitation period on the property rights that you can claim as a surviving spouse. Finally, although most states no longer have estate or inheritance taxes, a few states still do; you do not want to incur penalties and interest by not filing the estate or inheritance tax returns on time.
  2. Take a notebook or journal with you to each appointment with your lawyer and make notes of your meeting, especially recording activities that your lawyer wants you to do.
  3. In defense of lawyers everywhere, I beg you to not shoot the messenger. Your lawyer may need to tell you things that you do not want to hear…difficult legal realities about your legal matter that your lawyer did not create.  Don’t. During this difficult time, your lawyer can be a powerful ally who you don’t want to alienate.  At Kurt Law, we will provide your remedies under the law.  Sometimes, it’s not the option you envisioned, but we will get you the best result we can for you under the law.
  4. Don’t panic if you have to go to court. Sometimes, it is justified, and sometimes it is not.
  5. Release your expectation of quickly finishing your case.  At your consultation, we can discuss your expectation and timelines on your matter.
  6. Call Kurt Law, Inc. for your FREE consultation (www.kurtlaw.com) at (440) 536-4530. If you choose to look for another attorney, feel free to call the Ashtabula County Bar Association at (440) 998-2628 for another possible referral.

So you were speeding…

We have all been there, it’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the sun is blue and the roads are clear.  You are driving, minding your own business, reflecting on how great life is, when your reverie is broken by the angry wail of a siren.  Your heart sinking, you pull over and wait for the “ma’am, do you know how fast you were going?”  Fifteen minutes later you are on your way, ticket in hand, driving with an extra measure of caution.

Police Car What do you do next?   The instinct of many people is to get the whole process over with as quickly as possible. Many people take what they think is the quick, easy and economical way out of  calling the court and paying the fines over the phone if possible, or showing up at the first hearing, pleading guilty and paying the fines and court costs.  It is easy to look at a minor traffic ticket and think, “It’s only $100.00, it will cost me more in time and money to hire an attorney than to just pay the fine.”  At first blush that line of reasoning makes sense, however, the quick and easy solution can have serious long term consequences.

 

In Ohio there is a points system in place for moving traffic violations.  Depending on the severity of the violation 2-6 points are attributed to your license, and if you receive 12 points in two years you are subject to a six month suspension from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, after which you must take a remedial driving course and retake the state driver’s exam. This suspension is separate and apart from any suspension or consequences you might receive from the court.  Most moving violations are 2 points.  However, speeding violations can be up to 4 points while offenses involving drugs or alcohol are at least 4 points, and often 6.

Back to the question of what do you do next?  Call an attorney.

What can an attorney do for you?  An attorney can advise you as to whether you should fight your ticket.  An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to obtain a violation with less points, or no points.  In short, an attorney can help you navigate and unfamiliar system and keep you from taking the “quick and easy” way out that can lead to significant hardship later on.  In the long term, the cost of an attorney is a small price to pay to avoid the cost and inconvenience of a 6 month license suspension.

We Are Here to Help Small Businesses and Small Business Owners Harvest Their True Potential

We all know this is an exciting time in the Cleveland region, a time full of big dreams and great potential.  At the same time, the delivery of legal services is changing, and Kurt Law Office is changing as well.  To help businesses and individuals harvest their collective and individual potential at this unique time, Kurt Law Office, a woman-owned law practice in Lake County, has expanded the firm and added Practice Groups serving General Corporate and Small Business Services; Probate and Estate Planning; and; Real Estate/Construction Law.

Attorney Pamela Kurt, Owner and Principal at Kurt Law, described the change as an investment in the business community and people of Lake County. “More and more I have seen how small businesses can reach their full potential by using skilled, affordable legal counsel and business services.  One of our small business attorneys can be an invaluable partner who helps a small business owner harvest his/her professional and make their dreams become a reality.”  In addition to traditional legal services, a small business attorney can help minimize numerous business risks for small businesses through such services as general risk management, contract and document review, business planning, drafting legal and non-legal documents and, on the more personal side, creating a basic estate plan that protects the people and families that create, own, and operate the small business.

“We come to work every day committed to helping our small business clients build the life they dream of, protect what they have already built, and solve some of life’s more challenging problems.  We consistently counsel our clients about how the legal system can, or cannot, help them harvest their potential and accomplish their goals,” said Kurt.

As a forward-thinking legal service firm, Kurt Law Office is committed to providing innovative, skilled professional legal services.  Kurt Law Office is currently exploring expansion into several neighboring counties in the Northeast Ohio region.  We are also welcoming our most recent additions of Amy J, Casner, Esq. and Oliver Herthneck, Esq.  Stay tuned for more announcements as we harvest OUR potential!

Please call our office at (440) 516-1010 for your consultation for your business evaluation and/or legal needs.

When Should I File for a Modification of Child Support?

Child Support Agreement

Child Support can be a complicated subject during and after a separation. Who should pay? How much should they pay? When can I modify support? All of these are legal questions that can impact both the person paying (Obligor) and the person receiving (obligee). Each question can have their own article, but this article will focus on modifying child support. If the parties agree, then you can modify the support. If there is no agreement, you have to ask the Court to modify.

Under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3119.79 Recalculating amount of support by court upon request, either party may ask the court to modify the support. If the amount as recalculated is more than 10% greater than or less than the current amount of child support required to be paid, then the new amount “…shall be considered by the court as a change of circumstance substantial enough to require a modification of the child support amount.” This is a great baseline test. If, by recalculating the support, there is a 10% difference, that is a good indication to file for the modification. This is typically seen when there is a job or income change. Either party increases or decreases income, so they seek a modification. You cannot include a new spouse’s income for child support. It is only based on the obligor’s and obligee’s income.

ORC 3119.79 goes on to say that when determining the percentage of difference in the new figures, “…the court shall consider, in addition to all other factors required by law to be considered, the cost of health insurance the obligor, the obligee, or both the obligor and the obligee have been ordered to obtain for the children specified in the order. Additionally, if an obligor or obligee under a child support order requests that the court modify the support amount required to be paid pursuant to the child support order and if the court determines that the amount of support does not adequately meet the medical needs of the child, the inadequate coverage shall be considered by the court as a change of circumstance that is substantial enough to require a modification of the amount of the child support order.”

The Court needs to determine that if there is a “…substantial change of circumstances that was not contemplated at the time of the issuance of the original child support order or the last modification of the child support order, the court shall modify the amount of child support required to be paid under the child support order to comply with the schedule and the applicable worksheet through the line establishing the actual annual obligation, unless the court determines that the amount calculated pursuant to the basic child support schedule and pursuant to the applicable worksheet would be unjust or inappropriate and would not be in the best interest of the child…” (ORC 3119.79 (C))

So, a good rule of thumb is that if there is a 10% change in the support amount it can qualify for a modification.  For additional assistance on your specific matter, contact Kurt Law Office at 440.516.1010.