Cincinnati Divorce Attorney Zachary Smith



Top 4 Mistakes in an Ohio Divorce

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When you decide to end your marriage, you’re probably uncertain of what to do next. Some things are intuitive, like the need to divide property or to divide custody of minor children, but understanding the logistics of how you dissolve your union can be far more complicated.The first and most important thing you will need to do when you’ve decided to dissolve a marriage is to contact a divorce attorney. Getting legal help is imperative because your attorney can help you to avoid problems and pitfalls throughout the divorce process.

What happens with your divorce settlement agreement is going to have a major impact on your future. Any mistake during the process can potentially cost you money, property, or parenting time. Zachary D. Smith, LLC will help make certain your divorce goes as well as possible so you can make the best of difficult circumstances and be ready to move on with your life.

A Divorce Attorney in Cincinnati Helps You Avoid 4 Common Divorce Mistakes

Talking with an experienced attorney is essential to avoid a variety of errors that may arise during a divorce, but you should be aware of four of the most common mistakes made when ending a marriage.

  • Letting your anger dictate your divorce outcome: You may be tempted to drag out your divorce or to fight about everything to punish your ex, but that isn’t good for anyone involved, especially if you have children. This action also costs money that should be divided up among you and your ex. By setting aside anger and making clear headed decisions, you will likely have more financial security after the divorce has been finalized.
  • Going to court for everything: You can work with a divorce attorney to try to negotiate a parenting plan for your children and for child and spousal support. Likewise, a divorce attorney can assist you in creating a plan for property division. If you don’t go to court, but rather work collaboratively, you’re likely to end up with an agreement that satisfies all parties involved.
  • Failing to understand what your rights are: A lot of people make incorrect assumptions about their rights. You may assume your ex will get to keep more property if he earned more or that your former wife will get custody of the kids because she was their primary caretaker. Don’t assume anything without consulting with an attorney. Without first knowing your rights, you may be sacrificing what you are entitled to by law.
  • Not properly addressing marital debt: You need to determine which spouse is going to be responsible for paying back which debts you owe. It is also important to know that a creditor can still consider you responsible for debt you co-signed for—even if your divorce agreement says your ex is supposed to be paying it. To avoid this, you may want to ensure debt is refinanced so only the person obliged to pay has his or her name on the debt.

Divorce should provide a fresh start, and you do not want mistakes in the process to hinder your ability to move on and build a better future. Contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC, a leading divorce attorney in Cincinnati to successfully help you through such stressful times at 513-275-1164 or visit for further information.

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Family Law Disputes: Which alternative is right for you?

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The legal field provides a plethora of approaches to resolving disputes in the family law realm. While the family law dispute process can seem daunting and extremely difficult, you are not alone in this difficult time. Litigation can bring fear in even the most hardened individuals, so it is useful to examine multiple alternatives. Today, we will discuss both the collaborative approach and the mediation approach.

Collaborative Family Law is a client-centered approach to problem solving during the divorce process. The goal of collaborative family law is to allow all parties to dissolve a marriage with minimal interference from the court system. Conversely, the Mediation process consists of a neutral third party (acting as a mediator) who facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties. The goal of the mediator is—to name only a few—to find common ground, to reason, to suggest, to convey information, and to provide the skills necessary to find a resolution to the conflict. Below we’ve provided information on the processes of both the collaborative approach and mediation to help you decide which process fits your particular situation.

Collaborative Family Law

The Collaborative Process begins when all parties execute a Collaborative Participation Agreement. The Agreement binds the signors to the tenants of cooperation, honesty, integrity, and professionalism. There are no secrets in the Collaborative process, all parties agree to be forthright in all information regarding the marriage. The Agreement also requires the parties to agree that they will not seek Court intervention. This process is formal and requires both parties to have outside counsel.

Full disclosure of all relevant information is an important part of the Collaborative Process, if one party fails to fully disclose relevant information, then the process will be terminated. It is the job of counsel in the Collaborative Process to ensure that the client is being fully represented and informed of all requirements to reach a successful resolution. Each party may bring forth individuals with specialized knowledge to further the process, these individuals may be experts (such as appraisers, certified business valuators, etc.) or other any number of other professional specialists (such as child specialists, family relations specialists, financial specialists, etc.). The information provided by these experts or specialists can provide information to assist all parties in coming to an amicable, client-centered outcome.

If, however, the parties are unable to amicably resolve all disputes, or if one of the parties feels they are unable to proceed without Court intervention, each party must retain new legal counsel and must—with some limited exceptions—wait 30-days before going to Court.

Family Law Mediation

The mediation process works in stages:

  • Introduction
  • Fact Finding and Identifying Issues
  • Brainstorming Options
  • Negotiating Options
  • Preparing Terms of Agreement
  • Revision of Agreement by Attorneys and Submission to Court
  • All parties involved in the mediation process are able to provide input at each stage regarding the dispute and resolution. This involvement provides both parties with the power to create terms which are specifically tailored to the unique situation at hand.

    In mediation, there is no requirement of separate legal representation, as with the Collaborative Process. The mediation process is informal and does not require the parties to sign a no-court agreement. The process of mediation is highly flexible and allows all parties to have a high level of involvement in the dispute resolution process. The mediator does not decide the outcome of the process, rather they are charged with assisting both parties to resolve their problems and design an agreement which is most beneficial for each party.

    To ensure the informal nature of the process remains intact, mediation communications are confidential. Generally, no party to mediation may break confidentiality unless both the speaker and all those involved agree that the communication may be shared. A mediator may not share the content of a private communication with any person, including a judge presiding over the dispute except in the situation where the mediator is under a legal obligation to disclose the communication (for example a threat of harm, admission of a crime, or admission of abuse). Once a final agreement is reached, the mediator may inform the Court of the individuals who met for mediation and that a final agreement was reached—full stop.

    As with the Collaborative process, an agreement may not be reached during mediation. Any issue that is left unresolved will be settled by further negotiations or may have to be determined by a magistrate or judge.

    If you feel your dispute may be best reached by either the collaborate method or by mediation, contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC for representation. Zachary D. Smith is a member of the International Association of Collaborative processionals and Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professions. Likewise, Zachary has received extensive mediation training specifically concerning Family Law matters. For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC at (513) 275-1164 or visit to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.

    Posted in Family Law Tagged with: ,

    What You Need to Know About Divorce in Ohio

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    If you are seeking to end your marriage in the state of Ohio, you need to be aware of the laws regarding divorce in the state. Ohio divorce law differs from that of many other states. One of the primary ways in which the laws of this state differ from that of other states is by giving those seeking to end a marriage the option of seeking a dissolution of marriage or a divorce. There are separate requirements that must be fulfilled for each option.

    Divorce vs. Dissolution of Marriage

    Dissolution of Marriage

    For couples who are seeking a way of terminating their marriage out-of-court in the state of Ohio, a dissolution of marriage is an option. To seek a dissolution of marriage in Ohio, at least one spouse must reside in Ohio for a minimum of 180 days. This type of marriage termination requires that both of the parties to the divorce agree on the stipulations of the divorce including, property division, alimony, child custody, child support, and other important issues. All of these terms must be set forth in an agreement which must be attached to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the petition must be signed by both spouses. From which, there will be a court hearing within 90 days of the filing of the petition.


    The spouse who files for divorce must reside in Ohio for 180 days prior to filing. Unlike with a dissolution of marriage, a divorce requires a finding of fault by the court. Some of the statutory bases for a finding of fault include: adultery, extreme cruelty, gross neglect of spousal duty, bigamy, willful abandonment by the non-filing spouse for a year or more, imprisonment of the non-filing spouse, constant drunkenness, or incompatibility. It is important to note that incompatibility cannot be used as a grounds if one of the parties believes that the couple is compatible. To prove that one of these bases exist for a divorce, either the party filing for the divorce and a corroborating witness must testify that the grounds exist or the non-filing spouse must admit to one of the grounds for divorce.

    Division of Property

    In Ohio, marital property must be divided by what is known as equitable distribution. This does not mean that property is divided equally between the spouses as is often the case in community property states. Instead, property must be divided fairly between the two members of the couple. This determination is often made by the court. If you are seeking to end your marriage in the Cincinnati area and you are concerned about how your marital property will be divided, contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC, a reputable family law attorney in Cincinnati, OH, for assistance.

    Family Counseling

    The court has the power to order the spouses who are seeking a dissolution of marriage or a divorce to seek family counseling if there are children involved. The length of time that is ordered to remain in counseling will be determined by the court.

    If you or anyone you know is seeking to terminate a marriage in Cincinnati, Ohio, Zachary D. Smith, LLC, is your source for a successful outcome. As one of the top divorce attorneys in Cincinnati, he will represent and guide you every step of the way. For further information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the law office of Zachary D. Smith, LLC at (513) 275-1164 or visit

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    Division of Property in an Ohio Divorce

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    One important issue that must be decided when a marriage comes to an end is how the spouses’ property will be divided.  This can often be a significant area of contention between the two parties.  There is room for disagreement and legal maneuvering between the parties in this area in the state of Ohio because, unlike a number of other states, Ohio is not a community property state.  Instead, in a divorce proceeding, Ohio uses an equitable distribution standard in which the property of the marriage is to be distributed fairly between the parties.  This determination is often made by the court.  If you are seeking to end your marriage in the Cincinnati area and you are concerned about how your marital property will be divided, contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC, a reputable family law attorney in Cincinnati, OH, for assistance.

    What Constitutes Marital Property in Ohio?

    The court has the duty to make the determination of what constitutes martial property in a divorce proceeding in Ohio.  Real property, personal property, and /or retirement benefits or interests in any of these types of property that is acquired during the marriage by either spouse is considered to be marital property.   Furthermore, income generated by separate property or an increase in value of separate property that is the direct result of labor or contribution of either spouse during the marriage can be considered marital property.

    Marital property does not include any inheritance that a spouse receives. In addition, the following is considered to be separate property:  property that is acquired by a spouse after a legal separation has taken place; passive income generated by separate property; real or personal property that one spouse owned prior to the marriage; property defined in a prenuptial agreement as being outside of the realm of marital property; gifts that are made to only one spouse; and compensation for pain and suffering related to accidents and injuries that a spouse has suffered during the marriage.  It is important to note that the court has the jurisdiction to determine the distribution of both marital and separate property in a divorce proceeding in Ohio.

    If you or someone you know is going through a divorce proceeding and are concerned about obtaining a fair distribution of marital property, contact the law office of Zachary D. Smith, LLC,  today. The experience, dedication and knowledge of Zachary D. Smith will definitely bring about a successful outcome for you. For further information or to schedule an appointment please visit or call (513) 275-1164.

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