Family Law

Frantz Ward's Family Law Practice has extensive experience helping clients navigate their legal matters. Our expertise entails unwinding emotionally-charged family relationships with sophistication, understanding, and compassion. We handle a wide range of family law matters and explore the best solutions for the situations in a straightforward, effective manner. In doing so, we provide realistic expectations and comprehensive advice.

The preferred outcome in many cases is a negotiated, mutually-agreeable settlement, and we are proficient in alternative dispute resolutions. We are also skilled in litigation when necessary and will guide cases through the court process.

In either case, we work efficiently with clients to find creative solutions to all family law matters and advocate for successful results. We practice across Northeast Ohio, including the counties of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Portage, and Summit.

Our family law capabilities include:

Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage - We thoughtfully learn the particular circumstances involved with the situation and work together to determine whether divorce or dissolution is the most suitable path.

A dissolution is a "divorce" settlement without court involvement that allows the parties to negotiate equitable resolutions and avoid unnecessary litigation. We offer a variety of approaches to achieve these settlements, including facilitated negotiations; mediation; collaborative divorce; or cooperative divorce.

If a mutually agreeable resolution is not achievable, the parties may pursue the path of a divorce, which is a lawsuit where the court determines the issues and the final decision.

Post-Divorce Issues (Enforcement and Modification) - We understand the emotional impact of divorce and the sensitivity of parenting disputes. When issues arise post-divorce, we take the time to understand all elements of the situation and determine the best course for the immediate concerns, as well as future disputes. In some cases, negotiation or mediation may solve the dispute; whereas, in other cases, litigation is eminent.

Spousal Support - The determination of spousal support is a highly-customized area based on many factors. Spousal support laws seek to prevent a divorced spouse from suffering from a decrease in standard of living. We take the time to gather all relevant information and determine whether spousal support is appropriate. If so, we employ a myriad of tools, including forensic experts if needed, to determine a reasonable outcome.

Child Support - Child support is a court-ordered periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a minor child after the end of a marriage or other relationship. We successfully settle and litigate child support matters for both establishment and modification.

Mediation - Frantz Ward serves as a professionally-trained divorce mediator. We are jointly hired by the parties to facilitate confidential discussions to help make informed decisions and reach an agreement on the issues. Mediation focuses on problem solving and provides the parties control over the outcome. As a result, this process can be less expensive, both financially and emotionally. While a mediator cannot provide legal advice, it places the parties in the driver's seat to determine their future, which can be empowering and rewarding.

Parenting Coordination - A parenting coordinator is a neutral third-party appointed by the court that works with families post-divorce to facilitate the resolution of future-disputes. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the parenting coordinator has authority to make decisions as defined by the court order. The parenting coordinator utilizes tools such as education, case management, coaching, and decision-making to help parents co-parent without court involvement. This is a valuable asset to manage conflict while a family is in transition.

Prenuptial Agreements - While most prenuptial agreements are intended to protect assets, these contracts (between two parties before their marriage) can create a voluntary agreement for debt protection, avoid arguments in the event of divorce, and address a wide range of other concerns. This agreement defines the rights of the parties should the marriage terminate by death or divorce.

Child Custody/Shared Parenting - When the end of a relationship involves children, nothing is more important than securing their safety and their future. Our focus is to establish custody and parenting time that is optimal for all involved, while preserving family relationships. Our extensive experience in family, domestic relations, and juvenile courts, as well as in parenting coordinator and guardian ad litem roles, allows us to explore and advise clients on all options specifically related to each individual case.

Business Valuation & Division - Often, a business may be considered a marital property and, as such, it is subject to division. In order to divide the business in a fair and equitable manner, the value of the business must be determined. We have experience working with Frantz Ward attorneys in other disciplines and outside experts to gather the information needed to address this important division.

Special Needs Children/Child Support Past Emancipation/Guardianship - We understand the intensity and complexity special needs children bring to a breakup. We help parents understand their options and rights regarding their children’s continued care, decision-making, and financial support. We also understand that continuation of child support after the child turns 18 years old may need to be addressed based on the child’s physical and/or mental disabilities. We also evaluate guardianship and visitation after emancipation.

Grandparent/Relative Companionship Rights - Frantz Ward assists parents, grandparents, and other relatives obtain visitation and other rights through domestic relations/juvenile court proceedings, as well as guardianships in probate court.

Stepparent/Inter-Family Adoption - Stepparent and inter-family adoptions are often complex and require extensive paperwork. We have thorough knowledge of the adoption process and can help families formalize their parenting relationships legally.
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