Cincinnati Divorce Attorney Zachary Smith



3 Challenges Every Divorcing Couple Face

divorce attorney in Cincinnati, OH
Every divorce case is different. People come to the table with different agendas, different property, and different family configurations. These variables can impact how one’s divorce plays out. That having been said, there are three challenges that many divorcing couple faces.

Division of Property

In every divorce case, the parties must divide their property. “Property” is a broad topic when it comes to divorce. It includes the couple’s real property, such as their house or vacation cottage, household goods, art, and jewelry. It also includes stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, and bank accounts.

Most couples come to a settlement on property division without court intervention. This can be accomplished via lawyers negotiating, mediation, or discussion and agreement during a collaborative law divorce. However, sometimes the parties cannot agree on property division, hence, the courts will decide how to divide the property.

Often, the largest sticking point in property division stems from a party’s belief that property division should be equal. However, that is not what the law says. Rather, the law requires property division is “equitable,” not “equal.” The courts are permitted to consider a number of different factors when determining the division of property.

Division of Debt

Like the division of property, the division of debt is done “equitably,” not equally. This means both parties are subject to being assigned any debt of the marriage. One cannot assume, for example, that if a car loan is in one spouse’s name, that spouse will be assigned the responsibility for that debt. Sometimes, in order to reach an equitable solution, the court will assign responsibility for debts inconsistent with the name associated with the debt. The division of debt and the division of assets are not performed in a vacuum. With the assistance of lawyers, mediators, or in a collaborative setting, most couples are able to come to an agreement about debt division without court intervention. However, if couples cannot agree, the court will rule on the issue.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, may be awarded to one of the parties in a divorce, however this is not automatic. As with most issues in a divorce case, whether a court will assign spousal support, for how long, and in what amount depends on the individual couple. Couples who have only been married a short period of time rarely receive spousal support. In the case of a marriage of 20 years or more, courts may assign one party spousal support for an extended period of time. However, in most cases, spousal support is ordered for a finite period of time, and only if one party demonstrates a need for the support.

Whether you are looking for a collaborative divorce, or think mediation or negotiation would suit your family better, the highly experienced and reputable divorce attorney in Cincinnati, OH, Zachary D. Smith, LLC, offers comprehensive divorce representation and is an expert family law attorneywith over 25 years of experience. To learn more or to schedule a consultation please contact ZDS Law at (513) 275-1164 or visit for further information.

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Three Approaches to Keeping Divorce Costs Down

Many people are surprised at the cost of getting divorced.  The following are suggestions that will help to keep costs lower.

  1. Consider Your Expectations

    In a divorce, couples divide assets and debts, determine whether alimony is appropriate, determine the appropriate amount of parenting time for each parent, and evaluate appropriate child support.  Consider your expectations in each of these categories.  Consider the reasonableness of these expectations.  For example, if you want all the assets, none of the debts, lifelong alimony, and full custody of the children, this is going to be difficult (if not impossible) to negotiate.  The more reasonable your approach to resolving the relevant issues, the more quickly your divorce case will likely proceed to completion.

  2. Understanding that Every Divorce is Different

    If you enter into the divorce process expecting things to go the way they did for your friend Sara, or your Aunt Jane, you may be in for a surprise.  Every divorce case is different.  Base your expectations on what your divorce lawyer is telling you is reasonable, not on the advice of friends and family.  Rely on friends and family for your emotional support, but not for legal advice.

  3. Organization Matters

    As your divorce begins, your lawyer will ask you for documentation of certain things.  Provide the needed documentation quickly and in an organized fashion.  This allows your attorney to begin the process sooner than later.  Recall that divorce attorneys charge by the hour.  How many times do you want to pay your attorney to ask you for the same documents?  Once should be enough.

  4. Additionally, consider organizing your thoughts.  You can call your attorney every time a question pops into your head; however, this tends to get expensive.  Consider writing down your questions and waiting a few days.  Once you have allocated your questions, a single phone call to address a series of questions will suffice; especially in the long run.

    Considering Divorce?

    Zachary D. Smith is a trained family law mediator, serves on the Executive Committee of the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and has extensive experience as a highly reputable family law attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Zachary D. Smith can help you and your family navigate the unfamiliar waters of divorce and separation. For further information or to schedule a consultation please contact ZDS Law at 513.275.1164 or visit to learn more.

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Divorce Experts

In this article we discuss the many reasons why an expert may be needed during the process of divorce.

Property Expert

In many cases, a divorcing couple owns some real property of value. This can include the family home, vacation homes, and rental properties. When dividing assets and debts during a divorce, knowing the actual value, both current and future value, is critical. A property divorce expert can provide valuable insights, which leads to educated decisions about how to divide the assets.

However, property divorce experts are not just limited to real estate experts. If a couple has a gun collection, stamp collection, antiques, jewelry, art, or other valuables, a property expert can determine fair market value. Even if the couple has no intention of selling the asset, knowing how much it is worth allows for educated negotiation of the division of other assets.

Vocational Expert

A vocational divorce expert provides information on someone’s earning capacity, both now and in the future. Particularly in a case where one party stayed home to care for the children, or only worked part time during the marriage, there may be a question about how much training and education a person may need in order to become self sufficient. Vocational experts consider the person’s age, current level of education, training and experience, the labor market, the number of jobs available in the desired industry, and average wages. This type of expert is useful when assessing the appropriate amount of spousal support one spouse should pay to the other.

Child Psychologist and Other Child Specialists

In cases where there are disputes related to child custody and parenting time, child psychologists and other therapist provide valuable insights. A court makes determinations about child custody and parenting time based on the best interests of the child. The court has a host of factors they can consider. The opinion of a child expert can provide valuable information to the court.

Medical Experts

Medical experts may be hired during a divorce, particularly if a child has special medical and/or behavioral needs. Issues such as long term care, the cost of treatments, alternative treatment approaches, and the individual needs of the child can be addressed by a medical expert.

Are You Considering a Divorce?

If you are considering a divorce, you need a divorce attorney who has the experience necessary to handle your case. At Zachary D. Smith, LLC, we offer comprehensive divorce services. Whether you are interested in mediation, a collaborative divorce, or are interested in traditional divorce representation, Zachary D. Smith, a leading family law attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio is the one who can successfully represent your interests. For further information or schedule an appointment please contact ZDS Law at 513.275.1164 or visit to learn more.

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Financial Tips to Consider when Getting Divorced

If you are getting divorced, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the number of decisions you need to make. Often, during divorce, people make decisions with their heart and not their head. Below are a few money tips to consider as your divorce progresses.

Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

A credit report provides a roadmap to your credit history. It also serves at least two separate purposes in a divorce. It can let you know about joint accounts you may have forgotten about. Additionally, it identifies debt you share with your spouse. Discuss with an attorney how and when to remove your spouse’s name from any joint accounts. While you may be tempted to just close all joint accounts, this can have a negative impact on your credit score.

Consult with a Financial Planner

Many people insist a financial planner is too expensive. However, often people make uninformed decisions during a divorce, which can be even more costly. Without question, a person’s financial situation will change after the divorce. Figuring out what you can afford ahead of time provides you with priceless information when evaluating offers from the other side.

Don’t Keep the House without Careful Consideration

Keeping the house after a divorce can be a very expensive and ill-advised decision. When calculating the cost of keeping the home, one must consider both the fixed costs, like the mortgage payment, the insurance, and the taxes, as well as the unfixed costs, like maintenance, repairs, and upkeep. A financial planner can help realistically assess whether a person can afford to stay, or what they might need in order to be able to stay comfortably.

Consider Health Insurance Costs

Health insurance can be costly. Don’t forget to factor this cost in when evaluating how much you need to live on. While COBRA may be an option for the first 18 months, it is not always the best choice. Some people find more affordable solutions in their state health insurance exchange.

Create a Thorough Inventory

You need a complete inventory of your property prior to a divorce. This includes houses, boats, and cars, of course. It also includes art, jewelry, and antiques. However, don’t forget about the small things. Furniture, bedding, pots and pans all cost money to replace. Finally, in order to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the property, don’t forget about items such as tools, fishing, hunting, or camping gear and the like. Your Cincinnati divorce attorney can achieve a more fair settlement if they know about all the family assets, even the ones you don’t want.
If you are considering divorce, contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC. Zachary Smith is a highly reputable and experienced divorce attorney in Cincinnati. Zachary Smith knows that each case is different, thus works with clients to find solutions that work best for them and their families. For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC at 513.275.1164 or visit to learn more

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3 Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Often times couples struggle with the decision of whether to get a divorce. There can be compelling arguments both for and against it. However, once the decision is made to divorce, couples often skip over the next important question – how to divorce. Divorcing couples have options. One of those options is a collaborative divorce. Unlike the stereotypical knock down drag out fight that takes years, fighting over every fine linen and each hour of parenting time, a collaborative divorce involves the parties agreeing to work together to resolve the issues pertaining to the divorce.
There are many benefits to a collaborative divorce. In this article, Zachary Smith, family law attorney in Cincinnati, OH, discusses just a few of the benefits.

Collaborative Divorces Often Resolve More Quickly

On average, collaborative divorce takes between 50 and 70 percent less time than a traditional divorce. There are a couple of reasons for this. In a collaborative divorce, for example, the couple jointly provides all the essential documents and information. Contrast this with a traditional divorce, where the lawyers could spend months fighting over discovery issues. Additionally, in a traditional divorce, the parties each hire their own expert to argue the other side is wrong. In collaborative divorce, the parties hire a single, neutral expert. Finally, in a collaborative divorce, the parties do not have to wait until the judge has time before they can meet and discuss issues.

Collaborative Divorces are Less Costly

Divorce attorneys are typically paid by the hour. In a collaborative divorce, the parties are specifically paying their attorneys to come to a resolution about these issues. This takes less time, and therefore costs less money. Additionally, as discussed above, collaborative divorce lawyers hire experts to work on the team, seeking a resolution, rather than fight against each other.

Collaborative Divorces are Private

Collaborative divorce work is done in an attorney’s office. Couples have the opportunity to discuss past events and future plans in the safety of the meeting. Traditional divorce, on the other hand, results in discussions on the record in open court. In court, a record is made of everything that is said, and this record is available to the public.

Cincinnati, OH family law attorney Zachary D. Smith, serves on the Executive Committee of the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals. He is well versed in collaborative law, which allows for creative problem solving. Contact ZDS Law todayto schedule a consultation at 513.275.1164 to determine if collaborative divorce is the best option for you or for further information please visit

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Family Law Myths

Family Law Myths
In family law, there are an abundance of myths and falsehoods that make the rounds periodically. In this post, we seek to debunk some of the more popular myths.

Myth: Divorce Lawyers are Unnecessary if You Have a Prenup

Prenuptial agreements certainly provide some guidance as to how property may be divided, however, that presumes the prenuptial agreement is legally binding. A divorce lawyer first reviews a prenuptial agreement to determine whether it is valid. Factors impacting validity include:

  • Is it in writing?
  • Is it signed by the parties?
  • Was it executed freely and voluntarily?
  • Are the terms unconscionable?
  • Was full disclosure provided?
  • Are the terms fair and equitable given the circumstances?

Even where a prenuptial agreement is valid, there are certain terms and conditions which cannot be dictated by a prenuptial agreement, including parenting time and child support, for more information on prenuptial agreements, see our previous post Understanding Prenuptial Agreements.

Myth: Parents Can Deny Visitation to Those Who Don’t Pay Child Support

Child support is ordered by the court. Visitation or parenting time is also ordered by the court. These two things are not linked. One is obligated to pay child support. One is also obligated to allow the other parent time with the child as ordered by the court. One cannot deny child support if the other parent doesn’t comply with the parenting time schedule. One cannot deny parenting time if the other parent doesn’t pay court ordered child support. This myth can actually get parents in trouble, if they act on the mistaken belief they can deny visitation or refuse to pay child support. Instead, if a party isn’t paying child support, or isn’t complying with the parenting time ordered, the remedy is to return to court, preferably with an experienced family law attorney.

Myth: Property is Divided 50/50 in Divorce Cases

In a divorce in Ohio, there are a number of things a court will consider when dividing assets and debts. While in some cases, the property is divided in half, this is not always the case. Furthermore, this is not what the law requires. Instead, the court is required to make decisions about property division that are fair and equitable, taking into consideration a number of different factors.

Myth: All Divorces are the Same

Some people enter into divorce proceedings with a frame of reference. Perhaps they have a friend or family member who has recently gotten a divorce. However, every case is different. Courts may not award custody or divide property in the same way from case to case. This is because every case comes to the court with a host of different factors and considerations.

Considering Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, contact the and highly reputable and experienced family law attorney in Cincinnati OH, Zachary D. Smith, LLC. As an experienced divorce and family law attorney, Zachary Smith can successfully guide you through the process of divorce from start to finish. To schedule a consultation please contact ZDS Law at 513.275.1164 or visit to learn more.

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Back to School: Preparing Your Children for a Successful School Year

Back to School Preparing Your Children for a Successful School Year

Talk to Your Child’s Teacher About the Divorce

Teachers identify divorce as one of the top five major life changes that can be a barrier to a child’s learning. If you have recently separated or divorced, let your child’s teacher know. You don’t have to discuss the details of the divorce. Rather, just let them know your child is going through some changes at home. Make certain your child’s teacher has contact information for both parents.

Make Certain Everyone Is on the Same Page About Parenting Time

Parenting time schedules may change when school starts, or they may remain the same. However, with the added complication of school bus schedules, after school activities and the like, it may take a few weeks for parents and children to adjust to the new schedule. Consider a system that works for your family, depending on the age of your children and the communication level you have with your ex. Whether you use a synced Google Calendar, or have a color-coded hard copy calendar at each house, your system will help the children (and you) know exactly who will be where and when.

Plan for Important Events

Your children will have major projects due, auditions, recitals, school plays, and athletic events. Make a plan for these important events. Consider a joint calendar where both parents can enter information about the children’s events and project due dates. This allows both parents to provide support and assistance.

Make a Plan for Fees

As soon as children return to school, the steady request for school related funds and fees begin. From lunch money to instrument rental to art fees, kids will need money for school related activities. The first step is to check the divorce decree to determine what plans, if any, have been made to address who is responsible for fees. If no plan has been made, consider creating a plan in advance. Some parents agree to start a joint account, where each parent contributes a nominal amount of money each month to cover unexpected fees. Other parents keep an accounting of expenditures, and “settle up” monthly or quarterly. Still other parents simply pay as they go. As with many post-divorce solutions, there is no “right way” to handle school fees. However, making a plan ahead of time about the way your family will handle expenses, regardless of the plan approach, is a good idea.

If You are Considering Divorce

If you are considering divorce, contact the highlyreputable family law attorney in Cincinnati, Zachary D. Smith, LLC. Zachary Smith believes in strategic advocacy. He works hard to represent your interests, as well as the interests of your family. To schedule a consultation please contact ZDS Law at 513.275.1164 or visit to learn more.

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Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney

Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney
When you decide to get a divorce, choosing the right divorce attorney may feel overwhelming. Below are some tools to assist you in finding a divorce attorney that will meet your needs.

Interview Attorneys

Trust is one of the main factors in choosing a qualified attorney. The best approach is to visit and interview more than one family law attorney. At some point during your divorce proceedings, you may find yourself overwhelmed, guided by emotion rather than common sense, or otherwise in a position where you need level headed counsel. Interview with an eye towards whether you and the potential lawyer communicate well and whether you believe you can trust them when you say, “I’m not sure what I should do.”

Look for an attorney who listens to your situation before determining the best course of action. You also want an attorney who has familiarity with different ways to resolve cases. Any attorney can litigate a divorce. However, attorneys open to mediation and collaborative law alternatives may better suit your needs.

Understand the Difference between Divorce Resolution Approaches

As we have written about before, there are a number of options for dispute resolution, including collaborative law, mediation, and litigation. Mediation and collaborative law approaches are both typically less expensive than litigation. Additionally, agreements made in mediation and collaborative law are reduced to writing, just as litigated court order are, however, the process and discussions leading to the resolution are private in collaborative law and mediation approaches. Litigation occurs in court, in public, with a record made for anyone to review if they are so inclined. Most people agree that it is in your best interest to seek an attorney who is at least open to the possibilities of mediation and collaborative law approaches.

You’d be surprised how many people ask the lawyer that did their will if they can handle their divorce, or some similar mismatch. While technically, any attorney licensed to practice law could take your divorce case, a divorce is too important to leave to someone who doesn’t regularly practice family law. If you are looking for a highly experienced and successful family law attorney in Cincinnati, OH, consider Zachary D. Smith, LLC. Zachary Smith dedicates his practice to family law issues. He is experienced as a family law mediator and serves as the co-president of the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

To learn more about ZDS Law Firm and how we can successfully help you through this difficult time please visit or contact Zachary D. Smith, LLC at 513.275.1164 to schedule a consultation. Together we can determine if your case and our firm are a good fit.

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General Guidelines While a Divorce is Pending

Guidelines While a Divorce is Pending
If your divorce is pending, there are a few guidelines that you should follow. This is for your protection. Some of these are absolute requirements, and others are simply suggestions, however, it is a good idea to follow these simple rules to avoid problems down the road.

Avoid Social Media

Rarely, if ever, does someone regret not posting some detail or another about their lives on social media. On the other hand, there are plenty of documented cases of people regretting sharing information they, in retrospect, wish they hadn’t. Keep your divorce out of social media accounts. Let it proceed to resolution without public comment. Certainly, you are permitted to speak with friends and family about your situation. There is just no good reason for posting it to the world. Recall, while you may no longer be connected with your soon to be ex on any social media platforms, odds are good that you have some friends or family members in common. You should presume anything you post will be seen by your ex, and your ex’s lawyer. There’s no need to create additional problems by posting something you can’t take back.

Do Not Involve Your Children

Even if your children are grown, they have no place at the table in divorce discussions. Do not involve your children in divorce settlement negotiations or provide them with the intimate details of the demise of your marriage. The interests of your children are best served by letting them know you will always be there for them and will always love them. It is not their job to handle the adult and private concerns surrounding your divorce from their other parent.

Do Not Make Decisions Recklessly

Sometimes a person makes a reckless decision during divorce proceedings, and clings to it beyond all reason. For example, there is only one marital bed. It cannot be divided into two. It cannot be awarded to both parties; hence, being adamant about the bed at the cost of the rest of your divorce settlement, is an example of a reckless decision. This decision may be made in anger, as a response to something unrelated to property settlement or otherwise completely lacking a rational basis. This is one of the reasons you hire an attorney. You need someone who is not emotionally tied to your divorce to consult with you and advise you when you are making reckless decisions.

Considering Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, you need a qualified family law attorney in Cincinnati, OH on your side. Zachary D. Smith, LLC offers strategic advocacy in the area of family law. Mr. Smith is trained as a family law mediator, participates in collaborative law divorces, and is also experienced in litigation. For further information or to schedule a consultation please contact ZDS Law Firm at 513.275.1164 or visit

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Child Support and Remarriage

Child Support and Remarriage
It is not uncommon for someone with a child support obligation to remarry. Nor is it uncommon for a person marrying someone who has a child support obligation to wonder the impact of the obligation. Here we seek to answer some of the questions that may be too uncomfortable to ask before marrying someone with a support obligation.

Will My Income Be Considered In Assessing Future Child Support?

The short answer is, “No.” In both Ohio and Kentucky, child support is calculated based on the biological parent’s income. As a general rule, because you are a non-parent, your income will not be considered in child support.

Will My Income Be Used To Pay Back Child Support?

As a couple, you can decide together if you will use your income to pay their back child support obligation. It is not required.
However, there may be tax implications as tax season approaches. If you file joint tax returns, and you are expecting a refund, the government may take the refund under something called “revenue recapture.” They may take a refund, up to the amount of the back child support owed. If some of the tax refund is based on your earnings, and your previously withheld taxes, you can file a form with the government, preserving your portion of the refund.

Can I Lose Anything Besides Tax Refunds?

If the parent owed child support is so inclined, they can put a lien on any property owned by the person owing the debt. If you and your spouse own a home, even if it was originally yours before marriage, it is possible the parent owed child support could put a lien on the home. However, if the home remains yours, as premarital property, they cannot put a lien on the home.

How Do I Preserve My Property As Premarital Property?

The safest and best way to ensure the assets you own remain yours is to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage. A qualified family law attorney can help with this.

If You Are Considering Remarriage

If you are considering remarriage, and either you have or your fiancé has a child support obligation, there are steps you can take to protect yourselves and each other. Of course, you will want to take care of the children. However, you should also take steps to protect your personal, premarital property. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that, should the marriage break down, each party to the marriage retains the property they had when they came in to the marriage. A prenuptial agreement takes little effort, but is an important investment in your family’s future.
Contact top family law attorney in Cincinnati, Zachary D. Smith, LLC, for assistance with your prenuptial agreement and all your family’s legal needs at (513) 275-1164 and /or for further information please visit

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