It is important to know that you have many marriage termination options in Ohio. I am attorney Bobbie O’Keefe, and I am committed to explaining all of your legal options. Going to the courtroom to resolve your conflicts is usually not the best tactic, though I will professionally and diligently represent you in court if that is necessary.
Contact me online to schedule a consultation at my Columbus office and learn more about your options.
Out-Of-Court Marriage Dissolution Options
There are a number of methods that will put you in the best position for resolving your case without resorting to expensive and time-consuming litigation. If couples are able to work toward a peaceful solution, the anger, hostility and stress that are usually present in most divorce cases are greatly minimized.
The following strategies can be used in almost all family law matters, including divorce and dissolution, child custody, third-party rights, paternity and post-decree contempt or custody modification cases:
Mediation involves the parties in dispute going to a neutral third party who will guide them through the discussions necessary to resolve their disputes without a court or judge making decisions for them. Sometimes a couple will resolve their disputes with a mediator and then seek the assistance of lawyers to draft the paperwork necessary for their final agreements to be approved by the court.
Other times, a case will be filed in court by one party or the other, and then the party will decide to go to a mediator to help them reach a settlement on one or more of their issues. A mediator does not make decisions for the parties but helps them have calm, respectful and knowledgeable conversations about their issues so that they are better able to make mutual decisions.
I strongly encourage the use of mediation for many of my clients, and I have also served as a mediator in many cases. I have received advanced training in negotiation techniques and mediation strategies for couples and families.
I have been extremely involved in practicing and promoting the collaborative process for the resolution of family law issues. The primary focus of collaborative law is to bring together a team of professionals who work cooperatively, rather than adversarially, to assist clients in reaching a complete resolution of all of their issues in a mutually beneficial and amicable way.
These professionals include two collaboratively trained attorneys, one representing each client. Often, a financial professional acts as a neutral financial analyst for both parties, and a communications professional or parent coach helps the couple communicate productively rather than destructively.
The focus is for each party to work toward achieving their personal and individual interests as much as possible, as well as resolve to feel safe and respected when doing so. If for some reason that does not occur through collaboration and the parties end up having to litigate their case, none of the professionals involved in the collaborative case, including the attorneys, will be able to represent either of the parties in litigation.
Early Neutral Evaluation
Early neutral evaluation (or ENE) is a service in which I would meet with both parties going through a termination of their marriage, without representing one or the other. I would obtain then all of the financial and background information relative to the family’s circumstances and attempt to help the couple resolve their issues through mediation and negotiation techniques. In some cases, we might involve a neutral financial professional or a parent coach to assist in facilitating an amicable resolution to your case.
If that is not successful, I would then suggest some fair and equitable settlement options based on the circumstances of each party and their children. In this situation, I would serve purely as a neutral professional.
This is a favorable option for those who are willing and capable of settling matters peacefully and do not want to invest in an expensive litigation process, but do not fully understand the options for settlement.