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Helping the court understand what your ex has and has not paid toward medical expenses for your child

CONTEMPT LAWYER, CONTEMPT ATTORNEYIn Ohio, if your ex is court ordered to pay for part of your child’s medical expenses, and they are not doing it, then you may have to go back to court to enforce your order.  First, you need to follow the process to ask your ex for what is due.  In order to avoid problems, both with your ex (theoretically) and with the court, you need to get ORGANIZED.

Because of health insurance, paying for medical expenses can be complicated.  Therefore, you want to collect documents and organize information to show that you have gone through all the necessary steps and the money you are asking for is actually due.  Here is a list of information (and supporting documents) that you need to organize:

  • Date of Treatment
  • Name of Service Provider
  • Amount of Bill
  • Date Bill Sent to Other Party (note, you may have a deadline for this in your court order, such as 30 days)
  • Amount Insurance Paid (you should have provided your ex and/or the court with a copy of an explanation of benefits)
  • Amount You Paid (you should have provided your ex and/or the court with a copy of the receipt)
  • Amount Paid by the Other Party (your ex) (show the court copies of their check)
  • Amount of Unpaid Bill
  • Amount Still Due From the Other Party (your ex)

Ideally, the best way to organize this information is in a spreadsheet.  If you don’t have spreadsheet software, don’t worry about that, because the Supreme Court of Ohio has prepared a form that you can use to track this information, and to show the court how much is still owed.  Remember, this form is not a substitute for the supporting documents, just a SUMMARY of the supporting documents.  To see the Supreme Court’s form for tracking medical expenses, follow this link:

http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/JCS/CFC/DRForms/Form26.pdf

Before you file for contempt, you are required to try to work it out with the other party in some way.  You can use this form to help get yourself organized and see what is truly owed on medical expenses.  When you have given this to your ex, along with the supporting documents, if they still won’t pay, then you are prepared to assist your attorney with preparing for going to court.  Note: this is not the ONLY way to present your ex with medical expenses.  He or she cannot refuse to pay until you give them this spreadsheet.  It is just an organized way to present things to your ex and to the court.

You still have to understand the rules of evidence to get your documents into evidence at trial, but organization is half the battle and you will be well on your way to getting what is owed to you.

Columbus Contempt Lawyer

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DIVORCE LAWYER, COLUMBUS DIVORCE LAWYER, FAMILY LAWYER,  FAMILY ATTORNEYS IN, A FAMILY LAWYER, FAMILY LAW LAWYERS, FAMILY LAWYERS, OHIO DIVORCE LAWYER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYSDo you want your questions answered by a live person (either in person or by telephone)?  We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.

Franklin County Contempt Lawyer

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What do you do if your ex is constantly late exchanging the children?

visitation attorney, visitation lawyer, father lawyer, father attorney, fathers lawyer, fathers attorneyVirginia Cornwell is a Franklin County Visitation Lawyer, Family Law Attorney, and an Ohio State Bar Association Family Relations Specialist.  

Is your ex late to exchange the children most of the time?  If so, the important questions are 1) How late are they?  2) How late does your court papers allow them to be? and 3) What are you going to do about it?

First, what does your court order say about how late they can be before your ex loses their parenting time?  The specific terms of your order always trump contradictory language in the local rule.

In Ohio, each county has a local visitation schedule, sometimes several local visitation schedules (one for juvenile court, one for domestic court, and in at least one county, one for each magistrate).  Most of the time, at least part of this local rule is incorporated into your court order.  So the first step would be to read your court orders and see if the court order incorporated the local rule.

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mother lawyer, mother's lawyer, custody lawyer, child custody lawyer, lawyer visitation,If the answer is yes, then you must look to see if ALL of the local rule is incorporated into your court order, or just part of it.  Most local rules contain a provision, at least in the section for parents who are NOT long distance parents, about how long you have to wait for you ex to show up before they lose their parenting time.  Has that provision been made part of your court order?

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post decree lawyer, post-decree lawyer, change custody lawyer, change visitation lawyer, post-decree attorney, post-decree attorneysIn some contentious cases, one of the parents will abuse the “waiting period” and use it to make their ex wait, to create annoyance, or to take extra parenting time that they are not entitled to.  If this becomes a pattern, keep track of all the time you had to wait so that you can show it to the court.  The court has many remedies they can offer.  They can take away the wait period entirely if they think it has been abused.  They can make the other parent give make up time.  They can find the other parent in contempt of court, fine them, sentence them to jail time (subject to purging their contempt), and make them pay reasonable attorney fees and expenses.  If they find that one parent has continuously and willfully denied the other parent their parenting time by abusing this wait period, it is a factor the court can consider when deciding whether to terminate shared parenting or adjust parenting time.  The court can also adjust transportation responsibilities.

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If you have no provision at all regarding how long you have to wait before your ex loses their parenting time, and they are constantly late for pick-ups and drop-offs, maybe it is time for you to look at going back to court to get some additional language added to your orders to address some of the bad behavior that is going on.  If you have no court orders at all, and your former agreements are no longer working, despite your best efforts to work it out with your ex, then maybe you need a court order and not an agreement regarding when your child will be exchanged with the other parent.

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father lawyer, father lawyers, father attorney, father attorneys, father's attorney, father's lawyer, lawyer for fathers, dads lawyerNeed help understanding your parenting order or obtaining a parenting order from the court? We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please give us a call, and one of our Family Law Attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case.

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In Ohio, Failure to Obey Your Court Orders Can Cost You Custody

CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, COLUMBUS OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, COLUMBUS CUSTODY LAWYER, FRANKLIN COUNTY CUSTODY LAWYERVirginia Cornwell is a Franklin County Custody Lawyer and an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.

This is a cautionary tale about an Ohio Mother who, according to the court, denied the father of her child his parenting time and eventually lost custody.

The case In re D.M., 2011-Ohio-3918, is about willfully denying the other parent visitation. The child was born in 2004 and the parents split up and entered into a shared parenting plan in 2008. Soon after the father began dating another woman and the mother started denying him his parenting time with the child. According to the case, The Mother would not allow the Father to speak to his child on the telephone. The Mother testified that the son did not want to visit his Father so she would not make him. In 2009 the Father sought custody but custody was awarded to the Mother. Later that year the Mother was found in contempt for denying the Father his parenting time. In 2010 temporary orders issued regarding new visitation times for the Father. Later that year the Mother was found in contempt again for denying the Father his visitation. The guardian ad litem, who speaks for the child’s best interest, recommended that the Court consider granting custody to the Father but the trial court designated the Mother as the residential parent and legal custodian. The Father won custody of his son on appeal.

COLUMBUS CUSTODY LAWYER, CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, FRANKLIN COUNTY CUSTODY LAWYER, FRANKLIN COUNTY CUSTODY LAWYERS, COLUMBUS CUSTODY LAWYER, COLUMBUS OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERThe Mother had been the primary caretaker of the child since his birth. The appellate court stated that although it is not a codified factor in 3109.04(F)(1), Ohio courts have held that a party’s role as the primary caregiver is a relevant factor when determining the best interest of a child. But, caselaw also establishes that children have certain rights, including the right to love each parent. The court noted that the Mother had mental health and substance abuse issues, had defied court orders, and denied the Father his parenting time. In 2011, the appellate court found that the decision to award custody to the Mother was an error.

What this case tells us is that even if one parent has been the primary caregiver since birth, if they do not obey the court’s orders and deny the other parent his/her parenting time, they may lose custody.

If you are not receiving your parenting time, or if you have concerns about sending your child for their parenting time, you may want to get some advice from an Ohio Family Law Attorney before you act.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEYNeed some help? We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please give us a call, and one of our Columbus Family Law Attorneys will meet with you to discuss your case.

FRANKLIN COUNTY OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, FRANKLIN COUNTY CUSTODY ATTORNEY, FRANKLIN COUNTY OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, FRANKLIN COUNTY OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, FRANKLIN COUNTY OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.

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When should you file for Contempt?

CUSTODY LAWYER INHow long should you try to work out a problem with your ex? When should you “file for contempt”?  How long should you let this go on before you do something about it?  What should you do?

When making that decision, here are some things you should know about filing a motion for Contempt:

1.  The court will expect you to have tried to work it out in some way before your rush to court.  This does not mean you have to negotiate away your court ordered rights because the other party is dragging his or her feet.  It does mean, in the example of parenting time,  that you will have had to shown up to the exchange point even if the other party insists they will not be there – and you should have proof that you were there, such as a gas station, store or restaurant receipt.  You have to do your part of the court order first, even if they don’t do theirs, and then file for contempt.  Otherwise, they will turn around and file the same motion on you, or your motion will get overruled (thrown out).

2.  Where possible, you should have communicated,  in writing via text, email or a letter to try to resolve any misunderstanding.

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LAWYERS CHILD CUSTODY3.  You should have reviewed your court order to make sure you are reading the court’s order correctly.  Sometimes people prefer to rely on their (faulty) memory rather than read the actual order, and this causes a lot of problems.  Before you start thinking about contempt, read the order, and make sure you understand it.

4.  If you are not sure you understand what your court order requires, you need to talk to an attorney to make sure you do.

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5.  Once you are sure you understand your court order, you need to think about the time frame that a motion for contempt will be heard in your county.  Generally, larger counties have slower dockets and smaller counties have faster dockets.  This means that if you live in a larger (more heavily populated) county, it will take more time for your motion to be heard – and your ex may be holding on to your child that whole time.  Some issues can wait, and some need to get started as soon as possible.

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FAMILY LAWYERVirginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.

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Interference with Custody

Lawyer for CustodyInterference with custody is a crime in Ohio.  The issue comes up when somebody will not return your child to you.  This sometimes occurs with relatives or friends of the family who try to assert their wishes to spend (more) time with a child by simply refusing to return the child to his or her parent.  A parent may allow a person to visit friends or family , but the visit is over when the parent says it is over.

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LAWYER TO GET MY CHILD BACKOhio Revised Code 2919.23 says:

(A) No person, knowing the person is without privilege to do so or being reckless in that regard, shall entice, take, keep, or harbor a person identified in division (A)(1), (2), or (3) of this section from the parent, guardian, or custodian of the person identified in division (A)(1), (2), or (3) of this section:

(1) A child under the age of eighteen, or a mentally or physically handicapped child under the age of twenty-one;

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LAWYER FOR CUSTODYAnother example of Interference with Custody may arise when a person, rather than directly refusing to return a child, passively refuses to return a child by blaming the child for the failure to return to the parent.  Ohio Revised Code 2919.23 goes on to say:

(B) No person shall aid, abet, induce, cause, or encourage a child or a ward of the juvenile court who has been committed to the custody of any person, department, or public or private institution to leave the custody of that person, department, or institution without legal consent.

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ATTORNEY FOR CUSTODYOften, police are called when there is an interference with custody situation.  If the dispute is between two persons who have court ordered time with the child, the police often insist that “it is a civil matter” and tell you to call your lawyer.  Interference with Custody is a crime in Ohio, and there is NOTHING in the statute that says that the law does not apply to parents, grandparents or relatives.  This appears to be simply a matter of preference on the part of the police that the issue be handled in civil court whenever possible.  The police CAN make an arrest if they so desire.

It is sometimes difficult to get the police to prosecute interference with custody, but if they are called to assist and the person doing the interference does not return your child, the police may be willing to do so.

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