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Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law And Employment Law Matters

Each case we handle has unique aspects that must be addressed when developing a legal strategy. However, similarities between cases are common. The content on this page is designed to address common questions regarding family law and employment law issues.

If your question is not listed here, call us or email us and we will address your issue.

Family Law Questions

How is child custody determined in Ohio?

When determining the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the court always acts in the best interest of the child.

Ohio statutes call for the allocation of physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the amount of time each parent spends with their child. Legal custody refers to the right to participate in decisions regarding a child’s education, health care, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities and other factors that influence a child’s life.

Ohio judges base decisions on what is in a child’s best interest on a number of factors, including the wishes of each parent; the wishes of the child if the court deems the child old enough and mature enough to express his or her desire; the child’s relationship with each parent, siblings and others who have a significant effect on the best interests of the child; and the physical and mental health of all parties.

What rights do unmarried fathers have?

When a child is born to an unmarried woman, Ohio law stipulates that the mother is the sole custodial parent. A father must establish paternity and petition the court to be granted legal custody or parenting time.

Once paternity is established, a father is obligated to help support the child financially. However, an unmarried father is not guaranteed parental time or legal custody. If a mother withholds parental time from a father after a court has ordered it, she may be held in contempt of court. An unmarried father may apply to have his name added to birth certificate as well as the Ohio Putative Father Registry. This allows fathers to be contacted if the child is ever placed for adoption. Registration must be completed within 30 days of a child’s birth.

What is the difference between divorce and dissolution?

In Ohio, divorce and dissolution are distinct legal actions. Dissolution is a non-adversarial means of ending a marriage. A dissolution petition is filed with the court only after both parties have reached terms on the issues that must be addressed, such as property division, custody and spousal support.

In divorce, one party must allege that the other party is at fault under one of nine statutory “fault grounds” or one of two nonblaming grounds. The fault grounds include adultery, willful absence for more than one year, extreme cruelty, or imprisonment in a state or federal institution.

A so-called “no-fault divorce” refers to citing one of two nonblaming reasons to end a marriage: incompatibility or living separately for at least one year. Most Ohio divorces are filed on a no-fault basis. Proving fault in a divorce does not necessarily give the proving party an advantage in matters such as property division. There may be a reduction in parental rights if the fault involved criminal actions or is deemed potentially harmful. A knowledgeable family law attorney can advise you on the best steps to take.

How is property divided when married couples in Ohio divorce?

Ohio uses an “equitable distribution” model to divide marital assets. If you or your spouse brought assets into the marriage and those assets were not combined with marital assets, they remain separate property and will not be divided between both parties. Marital property consists of all assets and debt that you or your partner acquired while you were married with a few exceptions such as inheritance, gifts or income received from a property that you owned prior to your marriage.

Equitable distribution does not mean that marital property is divided 50-50. If you cannot reach an agreement amicably regarding how to divide property, the court will consider a number of factors to make its decision. These include the length of the marriage, each party’s assets and liabilities, each party’s ability to earn a living, and whether one party receives and remains in the family home. No two cases of dividing marital property are alike. It is important to have a knowledgeable family law attorney protect your interests in these matters.

Employment Law Questions

What steps should I take if I am experiencing harassment or discrimination at work?

To be successful pursuing a workplace discrimination lawsuit, you need facts. Thus, an important component is to keep detailed written records of discriminatory or harassing behavior. Describe the offensive act, including the names of any witnesses as well as the date, time and location. Also, keep any physical evidence you have, such as written documents or emails.

If a hostile work environment causes you to miss work, keep records of that. Also, if you seek medical treatment for stress or other health issues related to the hostile work environment, keep those records. Report offensive behavior to the company management.

Employers are obligated by law to investigate a complaint of discrimination or harassment. If the problem persists and your employer does not take action or retaliates against you, it is time to enlist the help of a knowledgeable employment law attorney.

How do I know if I have a valid overtime lawsuit?

State and federal labor laws require employers in Ohio to pay workers who are not exempt 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in each week. Workers who are exempt from overtime laws include executives, administrators and sales employees. Ohio law also exempts live-in caregivers, nonprofit children’s camp workers, many farm workers and members of an employer’s immediate family.

There is a misconception that all salaried employees are exempt from overtime laws. Your daily job duties and weekly income are the main factors determining whether you are eligible for overtime. Some employers improperly classify workers as exempt. If you believe your employer is not paying you overtime wages that you qualify for, consult with an experienced employment law attorney who will protect your rights.

How closely can an employer monitor my activity on the internet, emails and telephone conversations?

Employers have great latitude to monitor their workers’ internet activity when they are using work-issued computers or communicating through work email. Employers may block their employees from using specific internet sites and reprimand workers if they do not follow policies that are clearly stipulated. Emails on a company’s email system are considered company property.

An employee has slightly more privacy regarding phone conversations. While an employer may monitor employees’ business-related phone calls, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) prevents employers from monitoring personal phone conversations, even when company telephones are being used. According to the ECPA, an employer can only monitor a personal phone conversation when the employee is aware that the call is being monitored.

What constitutes unlawful retaliation on the part of an employer?

State and federal laws prohibit employers from taking retaliatory action against employees who participate in what is legally known as a protected activity. This includes reporting harassment, discrimination or serving as a whistleblower. Retaliation includes any “adverse action” by an employer that would dissuade a reasonable person in that situation from making a complaint. Examples of retaliatory actions include:

  • Firing
  • Not renewing an employment contract
  • Demotion
  • Negative changes to job assignments
  • Increased surveillance
  • Inexplicable negative job performance reviews

The first step is to speak with your supervisor or your supervisor’s supervisor (or an HR representative) about your concern. If your employer does not take action to correct the problem and the problem persists, it may be time to speak with an employment law attorney.

We Are Ready To Answer Your Family Law Or Employment Law Questions

At The Law Offices of Nicholas A. Kulik, LLC., we welcome the opportunity to answer your questions regarding a family law or employment law matter. Call 513-964-4767 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.