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Dirty Ohio Custody Case Tricks to Watch Out For Part 1, by a Columbus Ohio Child Custody Lawyer

OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, COLUMBUS OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS IN OHIO, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio Custody Lawyer and Ohio Custody Attorney.  She is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist, one of approximately 100 attorneys in Ohio to have received this honor.  
Our Ohio Custody Lawyers know that in custody litigation, people do not always play nice.  In fact, most of the time they will do nearly anything to win.  Unfortunately, the conflict can sometimes become more about “winning” over the other parent than what is in the best interest of the child.  This article is about some of the unfortunate, tactics (both directly aggressive and passive aggressive) that we see in Ohio custody cases.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYSDIRTY TRICK NO. 1: AVOIDING SERVICE.  People will go to great lengths to delay the inevitable, and step number one is avoiding service.  This can be especially devastating if you are trying to serve a restraining order on the party to prevent them from moving your child out of the state.  An experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer  will know the “tricks of the trade”, so to speak, and will be able to help you serve those papers on the opposing party and get your case rolling.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERSDIRTY TRICK NO. 2: SHOWING UP AT THE FIRST HEARING AND ASKING FOR A CONTINUANCE TO GET AN ATTORNEY, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE ALREADY HAD WEEKS OR MONTHS TO DO SO.  The person who currently has the most legal rights over the child is not anxious for that to change, and is motivated to delay the proceedings.  This is one of the most common ways that they accomplish this.   An experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer can help you keep the opposing party from abusing this trick, although they may receive one continuance to obtain an attorney.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERDIRTY TRICK NO. 3: FAILING TO PAY THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM, IN ORDER TO KEEP THE GAL FROM DOING THEIR JOB.  When a GAL begins their investigation, this represents the possibility of change.  For the party who does not want anything to change, this is a threat.  The GAL does not start work until they have been paid the fee, which is usually split in some fashion between the parties pursuant to the court’s order.  The party who sees the GAL as a threat sometimes delays or refuses to pay the GAL’s fee, with the result being the GAL does not begin work, and the process is delayed.  An experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer can advise you regarding how to deal with this problem and make sure the GAL starts work despite the other party’s resistance.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERSDIRTY TRICK NO. 4: THREATENING THE CHILDREN.   This dirty trick is especially loathsome.  Most people do not threaten the children physically (although some do, unfortunately).  This is usually more of a psychological threat to the children, such as “if the court gives Daddy what he wants you won’t ever see Mommy again (or your dog, or your sister, etc.).  It is a terrible thing to do, for any reason, but unfortunately it happens all too often.  The threat is designed to sway what the children will say to the Guardian ad Litem or the Magistrate.  If this happens to you, your Ohio Custody Lawyer will know what to do, and you should tell them immediately.

 

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERSDIRTY TRICK NO. 5: HOPSCOTCH COUNSELLING.  Sometimes people put their child in counseling right around the time of litigation, in order to (hopefully) solicit some information from the child during counseling that will help their case.  This tactic is suspect if the need for counseling arose right around the time the litigation was initiated.  Then once the child has made a statement which the parent believes is detrimental to the other parent, the other parent is invited to attend counseling.  After that, with very little contact with parent B, and getting most of their information from Parent A, the parent who initiated counseling and has a litigation agenda, the counselor makes statements to the guardian ad litem, which the guardian ad litem almost always follows because the counselor is an “expert”.  Although counselors are not supposed to make recommendations regarding custody, as a treater, all to many of them do not know this, and will produce a letter supporting the agenda of the parent who sought them out and gave them most of their information (and is also pressuring the child).  Even more suspect is when the counselor is someone that the lawyer recommended.  Even more suspect than that is when Parent A did not get the desired result from the first counselor, so they move on to counselor B.

In this situation, it may be toxic for Parent B to become involved with the counselor at all.  Before having any contact with the counselor, Parent B should speak to his or her experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer and carefully plan his or her response to the situation.

 

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

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 Ohio Child Custody Lawyers will meet with you to discuss your case.

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

 

 

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

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Ohio Series on Divorce Part 21: Dealing with the Guardian ad Litem

divorce custody lawyer columbus, divorce custody lawyer ohio, divorce lawyer columbus, divorce lawyers columbus, divorce lawyers ohio, divorce lawyers ohio, divorce attorneys ohioIf custody or parenting time is contested in your Ohio divorce, then the court is probably going to appoint a guardian ad litem.  To read about what a guardian ad litem is, click HERE, and to read about the Ohio Supreme Court Rule governing guardian ad litem investigations, click HERE.

Once you have a guardian ad litem (attorney appointed to represent the best interest of the child) appointed to your case, they will do an investigation.  You and your Ohio Divorce Lawyer  want to do your very best to help the guardian ad litem understand your point of view.  Here are some tips for doing the best job you can with the guardian ad litem.

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Columbus Divorce Lawyer, Divorce Lawyer Columbus, Divorce Lawyers Columbus, Divorce Lawyers Columbus OHio, Divorce Attorney ColumbusThe guardian ad litem (GAL) will almost always send a questionnaire to be filled out with details about the case, along with perhaps some releases.

  • Take your time to do a good job on the questionnaire, but do NOT submit it to the GAL until your Ohio Divorce Lawyer has had a chance to look at your responses.
  • Do not sign any releases until you have your Ohio Divorce Attorney‘s consent to do so.
  • Fill out the questionnaire thoroughly, and take the questions seriously.  Do the home work to give complete answers.
  • Understand that NOTHING you say to the GAL is privileged, the questionnaire may be disclosed to the other side in discovery, and may even end up as a trial exhibit.  Yes, there is a chance, although slim, that the Magistrate will see your questionnaire.  Therefore, do not be casual when answering, be careful.

Understand that GAL’s often have a busy case load.  The more organized you and your Columbus Ohio Divorce Lawyer are when presenting your information to them, the more easily the GAL can understand your point of view.

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divorce lawyers columbus, divorce lawyers ohio, divorce lawyer columbus, divorce lawyer ohioYour Columbus Ohio Divorce Lawyer should prepare a packet of information to be sent to the guardian ad litem.  What goes in that packet of information should, at a minimum, include a copy of all the pleadings in your case.  If your Columbus Divorce Attorney has additional information relevant to your case, you and/or your Columbus Divorce Lawyer can organize the information in a way that is easy to digest (usually, but not always, chronological order).  It is helpful, but no crucial, if your Columbus Divorce Attorney can send this information to the GAL before his or her first interview with you.  Hopefully, the GAL will have had time to look at the information before your first meeting, but do not become upset if it does not work out this way.  Be respectful of their schedule and work load.  They do not receive a packet of materials from all Ohio Divorce Lawyers, and the bigger the packet, the bigger an unexpected surprise the GAL will have received.

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Before your first meeting with the GAL, think about what you want to tell him or her.  Make a list of important points, so that you do not forget them.  Think about what you think the other side will want to say to the GAL, so that you can present your side of the story.  If your Columbus Divorce Lawyer sent materials to the GAL (other than just pleadings), you should bring a copy with you so that you can tell the GAL about those materials, especially if the GAL has not had a chance to read them yet.

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  • Tell the truth.
  • NEVER FORGET, the GAL is not your attorney, and nothing you say to them is privileged (secret).  They can use ANYTHING you say against you, if they think it is best for the child.
  • The GAL is not exactly a neutral, they are an advocate for the child.  They will use any evidence they gather from their investigation in whatever way they think will benefit the child, as long as it is legal and ethical.
  • If you have ANY QUESTIONS AT ALL about touchy subjects that will have to be discussed with the GAL, talk to your attorney first.  You may find that the subject you are worried about is perfectly okay to discuss with the GAL.  Regardless, you will feel more confident and less nervous having discussed it with your attorney first.

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divorce custody lawyers columbus, child custody divorce lawyers columbus, custody divorce lawyers columbus, columbus ohio divorce lawyer, columbus ohio divorce lawyersAfter the GAL’s investigation is complete, he or she will make a recommendation to the court.  This recommendation is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE.  Very important.  Some courts flatly follow the recommendation of their guardians without variance.  In this writers experience, with many different Ohio counties, about 90% of the time, if a case goes to trial over custody matters, the court will make orders which are the same or similar to the recommendation of the GAL.  Do not count on being the exception to the rule, and don’t expect your attorney to make you the exception to the rule once the bad news is in.  Instead, work hard at the very beginning of the case to present organized information to the GAL about your point of view so that this person can understand a lot of information in a short period of time, and hopefully reach a favorable conclusion.

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Ohio Father's Rights Lawyer, Ohio Father's Rights Attorney, Columbus Father's Rights Attorney, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyer, Columbus Father's Rights LawyersNeed some help? We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please give us a call, and one of our Ohio Child Custody Lawyers will meet with you to discuss you case. Columbus Father's Rights Attorney, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyer, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyers, Columbus Father's Rights Lawyers

 

 

 

You may be interested in some of our other divorce articles:

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Supreme Court of Ohio Adopts New Rules Governing Guardians ad Litem

On January 20, 2009, the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted new rules concerning the requirements to become a Guardian ad Litem.  These rules specify both the duties and obligations of Guardians ad Litem appointed in juvenile and domestic child custody case.  Previously, some counties had adopted local rules concerning the duties of a Guardian ad Litem, while others counties did not have a formal rule.  In order to create a uniform standard for the performance of an Ohio Guardian ad Litem, the Supreme Court of Ohio has adopted the following rules: [Read more…]