How We Work With You on Family Law Issues
At the Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller, our office policy is to spend some time with you on the telephone initially to learn about your circumstances and determine if we can help you.
For support during your divorce, contact our law office in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss your family law issues.
Initial Phone Call
Your first call will be with our legal assistant Susie Simmons. She will ask you a few questions. After we get the “basics” from you, we can provide you information about divorce/dissolution based on what you have told us.
While no legal advice is given to you at this time, here are some of the topics where our legal assistant might want to briefly discuss your facts and circumstances that relate to::
- Divorce versus Dissolution—Do you know the basic differences?
- Are there Minor Children?Do you know anything about shared parentingvs. sole custody?
- How are the minor children presently being support and that Child Support Guideline Calculation attorney will prepare.
- Financial disclosure—The fact that this will be required of both you and your spouse.
- Separate property vs. marital property—Do you or your spouse have any property that you owned prior to the marriage, or have you inherited or received any gifts during the marriage
- Division of assets and debts and the preparation of a marital balance statement that will include Retirement and Deferred Compensation
- Spousal support (alimony)—Is this likely a consideration for you?
- Attorney fees and billing practices
- Private judging
- Basic do’s and don’ts—Depending on your circumstances
- Office policy—How the attorney proceeds
- How you should prepare for an initial in-office consultation should you wish to schedule one (the kind of information you should try to gather and bring with you to maximize the benefits from this consultation)
Initial In-Office Consultation
If at the completion of the telephone consultation, you wish to follow up with an initial office consultation, we will explain just how that consultation is handled. We will explain the time you need to allow for it, how to prepare for it, what to bring with you, the cost involved with it and more. The initial consultation is an opportunity for you to interview us as well as for us to interview you to determine if we’re a good fit. It is usually an extremely informative consultation.
Once You Become a Client
You become a client when you have signed our standard written fee agreement and paid a retainer. As we proceed, we will make every effort to be responsive to your telephone calls, basic questions and concerns as quickly as possible.
It is the policy of this office to keep the client fully informed regarding all matters relating to the case. We provide to you a copy of anything that comes into or goes out of this office on your behalf for the benefit of your review and consideration. If anything of significance (a settlement proposal, separation agreement, shared parenting plan) is prepared, it must be read and approved by you before it would be communicated to your spouse or your spouse’s attorney.
We work very closely with you, planning ahead for any important deadline, so that you understand the significance of these events that are approaching and so that both attorney and client have time to prepare for it in advance.
Occasionally, it may be necessary to engage outside specialists for services, including but not limited to:
- CPAs/Certified Divorce Financial Analysts
- Communication Coaches
- Parenting Experts/Parenting Co-ordinators or Guardians ad litem
- Vocational evaluation specialists
- Pension appraisers
This will be done on our recommendation but with your approval.
Keeping Your Children’s Best Interest in Mind
The divorce/dissolution process is an extremely difficult and often painful process. Our goal is to get you through the process in the most positive way possible. We try to keep you on a positive track and not allow anger and resentment to prevent us from obtaining a reasonable and fair resolution for you. This is extremely important, particularly if there are minor children involved.
We encourage our clients to focus on what’s best for the minor children. Our attitude is that while it may be unfortunate that this marriage is going to end, we now need to concentrate on how to make that happen in the most positive way.
Where the children are concerned it is sometimes helpful to involve a professional counselor (or in some contested cases a guardian ad litem is appointed) to keep the focus on what’s best for the children. Where there are minor children of the marriage, Ohio law requires that we address all parental rights and obligations.This means that we address each parent’s time with the children, whether there will be shared parenting or sole custody, who will carry the health insurance coverage for the children, child support and basically, everything that will apply to the children.
With regard to the financial issues, we will help you navigate the discovery and document exchange process for all assets, all debts and all income, so there is complete financial disclosure by both parties. We will assist you in the preparation of a marital balance statement, or with your agreement a CPA will be retained for this purpose.
We will also help you prepare a budget in order to determine your specific needs. A budget will also help in determining whether it is feasible to retain the marital home or sell it. All of these steps are necessary in order to come up with a fair settlement proposal. After we have complete financial information, we will be able to outline for you what would be a reasonable financial settlement.
Preparing Separation Agreements
After an agreement has been reached between the parties, a separation agreement must be drafted to recite all of the terms of the contract, in detail, with regard to how everything is to be divided between the parties, including any spousal support paid, how long it will continue, etc. The separation agreement will be incorporated into the final court decree terminating the marriage and thereby all terms become a court order.And, if there is shared parenting, a shared parenting written shared parenting plan must be prepared and incorporated into a final Decree so that it also becomes a court order.
Contact a Columbus Divorce Lawyer Today
If this is the type of comprehensive service you are looking for, we encourage you to contact our Columbus law firm at 614-764-0423 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation on the collaborative divorce process. Beyond this free 30 minute consultation on the collaborative divorce process only, all legal services are provided on an hourly rate basis, and our attorney fees are based on the actual time incurred.