Frequently Asked Questions
Many people who seek out legal services have common questions. Attorney Amy Turos is often asked the following questions, which may be helpful as you consider your need for legal representation. We’re happy to answer any additional questions you may have – call our Garrettsville office at 330-221-3104.
Divorce and family court matters
Q: I am getting divorced. Do I really need an attorney?
A: Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to consider legal counsel for major life events or changes, including a divorce or legal separation. An attorney plays an important role in understanding the laws and how to protect your rights and the rights of your children, if you are a parent. Our firm remains up to date on Ohio laws regarding family legal issues and how they are interpreted in regards to divorce/legal separation, marital property, child custody/visitation issues and family/spousal support.
Q: Can you tell me what the difference is between a divorce and a legal separation?
The quick answer is that while a divorce is a formal termination of a marriage, a legal separation is a period of time when two spouses legally separate, and when that period ends, you remain married to your spouse. Many times, a married couple will pursue a legal separation if they are not sure if they want to legally terminate their marriage or if they cannot divorce due to financial, religious or other reasons.
Importantly, what divorce and legal separation do have in common is that they both require court orders for spousal support, property division and other related issues. If children are involved, both divorce and legal separation also include orders for child support and custody arrangements.
Q: What are my rights as a father or a mother?
A: Parents (father or mother) share the same legal right to physical custody of their children. If you are pursuing a divorce or a legal separation and you are interested in pursuing custody in some form, you must make a case to the court that a proposed custody arrangement with you is “in the best interests of the child.” Most states require this as the legal threshold in order to award physical custody of your child.
What can help show this to the court? Proof of a stable and clean home environment, especially if you are a father seeking custody. As this remains a challenge in some custody cases, we recommend giving us a call so that we can further assist you in building the best possible case and help you avoid some of the mistakes that prevent fathers from being awarded custody.
If you are not seeking custody or do not wish to be the custodial parent, you can pursue visitation rights (parenting time), which is when your child or children is allowed to spend time with you even though you may no longer see them on a day-to-day basis.
Fathers can pursue visitation rights before the court and seek a specific amount of time (as little or as much as desired) if physical custody was not awarded. In most states, the courts will look to see if the child could be exposed to any type of physical endangerment while in the father’s care, and seeing none, will allow visitation rights. The courts do recognize that, regardless of a divorce or separation, a father’s presence in a child’s life is an important component of their development.
As a non-custodial parent, showing the court that your child or children will have proper sleeping arrangements (such as bed or bedroom), a clean home and that you can make time to spend with them, will assist in your request for visitation rights.
Probate and Estate Planning questions
Q: Is it possible to avoid probate and how do I do that?
A: There’s a reason why many people seek to avoid probate: It can be time-consuming, expensive and difficult to understand.
There are some ways to avoid probate. Among them, you can establish a Lifetime Revocable Trust, which requires you to transfer all of your assets and other securities from personal ownership to the trust. When you die, any additional property that was not put into the trust can be transferred using a “pour-over will.”
Probate can also be avoided if you own joint property. When you pass away, the property will pass to the surviving joint owner. Finally, some assets, such as life insurance policies and pension funds, will not go into the probate process and will pass directly to the contract beneficiary.
Q: If both parents would die, who would raise their children?
A: Parents can name someone to act as a legal guardian as part of a will. If this did not occur and both parents would pass away, a court-ordered guardian will be appointed for the surviving children. This guardian is generally named in what would be the best interest of the child, however, without making their interest/intentions known, this guardian may not be whom the parents would have chosen.
Q: How can I pay you for your services?
A: The Law Firm of Amy R. Turos offers a variety of options for payment as well as a payment plan. We are happy to discuss our affordable options as well as your needs upfront.
Q: Where do you practice Family Law?
A: We are located in Garrettsville, and primarily serve Portage, Trumbull and Summit Counties, though we do provide services in Geauga County.