Not all disagreements create a “high conflict divorce.” In nearly every divorce or dissolution, there is some point when the parties have a disagreement about something. One spouse might object to the valuation of a home improvement project while in another case, two parents may disagree about whether their daughter should participate in “school cheer” or “private cheer.” However frustrating these disagreements may be at the moment, these disputes often work themselves out once the parties establish open lines of communication and have some time to reflect on the disagreement.
If you run a Google search for “high conflict personalities” you will find a list of character traits which describe a person with a high conflict personality as a person who has:
Whether you are litigating a divorce or attempting to negotiate a dissolution with a spouse who has a high conflict personality you will have to develop strategies for communicating effectively with your spouse in such a way that does not give them the opportunity to raise the level of conflict.
When you know that you are dealing with a person who is prone to instigate conflict, your first instinct might be to avoid contact with that person altogether; however, you may not be able to do so if you are negotiating a dissolution or co-parenting minor children. Here are some tips that you can both agree to use to set the ground rules for communication:
Realize that you will have to set personal boundaries when it comes to dealing with a high conflict person. In parenting situations, rather than investing your energy in trying to win the battle with your former spouse, try to focus your attention on making sure you are meeting your child’s needs. It takes two to have a conflict and if one party chooses to disengage the other party will have no one with whom to do battle.
Do not try to deal with a high conflict divorce on your own or with an attorney who is not experienced in litigating contentious divorce cases. Christopher M. Alexander makes it a goal to find constructive ways to lower the level of conflict for our clients during divorce and other family law disputes. When you need a skilled and experienced family law lawyer to fight for your goals, call Christopher M. Alexander at (513) 228 – 1100, mobile (513) 226 – 8489, or online at Chris@awklegal.com.
Last month, I created a blog post exploring what a deposition is, and when it is used. Now, let’s address how to prepare for a deposition.
In any case where you are going to be deposed, you will want your attorney to be present. This is because everything you say during the deposition is under oath and is being recorded (either type or via a video-recording). That makes it critical to have your attorney with you.
Additionally, your attorney will need to be there to object to certain questions. For example, any questions that call for a privileged response need to be objected to. If they are not, then the privilege may be waived. That waiver could apply to future hearings.
Most importantly, you need to spend time with your attorney prior to the deposition to prepare. If possible, you should prepare for the deposition in the same room or office will it will be taken, so that you can get comfortable with the surroundings. Your attorney should provide an outline of questions that may be asked so that you can formulate your ideas and refresh your memory. Also, you should take some time to review any potential exhibits at the deposition.
Many cases are won (or lost) at the deposition. They are critical evidentiary resources and should be treated in much the same was as the actual trial.
As an expert witness retained to determine an individual’s earning capacity, a Vocational Expert will prepare a report based upon a foundation of scientific principles relevant to vocational standards. These standards include; an analysis of the documentation listed, test selection, administration, and an analysis of test findings. A review and application of vocational literature will be conducted and an “expert” opinion consistent with and based upon the combination and analysis of the information collected will be generated.
The Vocational Expert will apply methodology that is commonplace in the field and that has been peer reviewed, using sources that are commonly relied upon by Vocational Experts, career, and rehabilitation professionals. This methodology includes the following steps:
The following tests will commonly be utilized by a Vocational Expert:
The Academic Achievement Battery (AAB) measures basic academic skills including letter and word reading, and mathematical calculation.
The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence-2 (WASI-2) is an I.Q. assessment and includes scales measuring memory and abstract reasoning amongst other skills. The test provides a full scale intellectual score.
The Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS) is an individually administered test with 8 parts. Each part is timed. Each part measures a different aptitude and is scored in stanines. Stanines are a nine-point standard scale. The raw scores are transformed into a stanine from one to nine so comparisons between the different aptitudes can be compared without distortion. The 8 parts include: Mechanical Reasoning (MR), Spatial Reasoning (SR), Verbal Reasoning (VR), Numerical Ability (NA), language Usage (LU), Word knowledge (WK), Perceptual Speed and Accuracy (PSA), and Mechanical Speed and Dexterity (MSD).
The Validity Indicator Profile (VIP) is used to determine if the individual being assessed is compliant with test instructions and if he/she tried his best. A person's test performance is found to be valid or invalid by an analysis of Primary Validity Indicators. The Primary Validity Indicators are: Consistency Ratio, Conformity Index, Individual Consistency Index, Score by Correlation, Slope by Consistency Ratio, and Curvature.
Understanding how a vocational assessment will be conducted is an important first step in determine whether to retain and use this type of expert witness as part of divorce litigation.
Every now and again, whether you are creating an Ohio estate plan, buying or selling a house, filling out applications, or many other reasons, you might need to have a document notarized. A Notary Public performs the notarization in accordance with Ohio law and you are on your way.
Recently in September 2019, Ohio implemented Senate Bill 263, The Notary Public Modernization Act. The new law makes sweeping changes to Ohio law to include, among other things, how a person can become a Notary Public, how much they can charge, the proper language for their notarial certificates (the written statement that is signed and sealed at the end of the document that provides how the notarization was performed), and also new rules about becoming an “Online Notary Public.”
When having a document notarized, it is important to work with a Notary Public that is aware of the law and that has kept up to date on the recent changes in Ohio. All of our attorneys at AWK Legal are Notary Publics and are able to assist our clients with properly executing important documents throughout Ohio to include in Butler, Warren, and Hamilton counties.
If you’ve come to the end of the line with bill collectors, past due notices, and upside down car loans, and you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Warren County, Butler County, Hamilton County or Montgomery County, here are a few items that you should bring with you for your first attorney consultation.
Although there is much more documentary information that will need to be gathered before an attorney can successfully prepare a bankruptcy petition, the above is a pretty good list to enable the attorney to provide you initial advice on whether bankruptcy is the best option for you. If you’re having financial difficulties that don’t seem to be getting any better from month to month, call AWK Legal at (513) 621-5088 to set up a free consultation. We’ll help you decide whether bankruptcy is the right decision for you.
You have a civil case pending, and your attorney asks for your availability to schedule a deposition. He or she wants you to clear your calendar for a half-day, a full day, or maybe even several days. But what is a deposition?
Well, depositions are the taking of sworn testimony from a witness outside of Court. This type of fact-finding began in the early nineteenth century. In a civil case numerous parties may be deposed.
During the deposition itself, an attorney will ask questions of a witness. These questions can be very broad, and generally the person being deposed has to answer. Of course, if the opposing side is asking questions, your attorney will be there and can object to certain questions. Ohio Civil Rule 30 lays out the groundwork of how depositions can be used in civil cases.
Depositions are a very useful tool. They help lay out what evidence certain parties have. They can be used in civil cases, custody/divorce cases, and even criminal cases. In short, depositions can often save time and costs to narrow down the issues at trial.
A qualified Vocational Expert can provide an opinion in a variety of areas of vocational rehabilitation, vocational and earning capacity, lost earnings, cost of replacement labor and lost ability/time in performing household services.
In a divorce, a Vocational Expert will be hired by one spouse to prepare a report based upon a foundation of scientific principles relevant to vocational standards. These standards include; an analysis of income and employment documentation, test selection, administration, and the analysis of test findings. The end result of the Vocational Expert’s analysis will be an expert opinion of a spouse’s earning capacity.
You may be reluctant to add the cost of an expert witness to your mounting divorce costs. However, under the right circumstances, a Vocational Expert can save you significant money in the long run. For example, if your spouse is responsible for child support and/or spousal support but claims a sudden inability to work or reduction of wages, a Vocational Expert can provide an unbiased assessment of your spouse’s true earning ability. It is not unheard of for a spouse to intentionally reduce income to keep support obligations low, especially in instances where the spouse is self-employed.
If you are involved in a divorce in Warren County, Butler County, or any Ohio county, where one spouse has recently experienced a significant reduction in income, a Vocational Expert’s analysis will show the Judge what the spouse should be earning. Then, the Judge can impute or assign the additional income to that spouse. The resulting child support and/or spousal support determinations will be based on imputed wages, rather than actual, reduced earnings.
Done correctly, a Vocational Expert’s opinion can be highly persuasive in negotiations, during mediation and if necessary, at trial.
So, you’re driving down the highway in Butler County, Warren County, Hamilton County, or any Ohio county, minding your own business, keeping a weather-eye out for the local constabulary, when you spy down the highway, a good half-mile away, a state trooper - lights flashing. Surely, he must already have a paying customer in his sights. You adjust your speed accordingly and prepare to gape at the poor schmuck that had the misfortune to run into such horrible luck on such a beautiful, cloudless day. When, seemingly suddenly, the very same state trooper is pointing at you! And motioning for you to pull over to the side of the road! He can’t mean ME?!? Can he???
Well, of course he means you - and of course you’re suddenly the poor schmuck who has run into such rotten luck on such a suddenly gloomy, (but cloudless) day. But how could this happen? You saw him coming, literally, a half-mile away!
Unfortunately, you’ve been nabbed by a not so infrequently used sting operation involving the aircraft section of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, with the assistance of a traditionally marked Ohio State Trooper Vehicle unit. Operations such as these have been used by the Ohio Highway Patrol for decades, but because they are so insidious, you probably haven’t been particularly aware of their existence – unless you happen to be one of the unfortunates who come in their crosshairs.
The operation works using two time-honored concepts – mathematics and stopwatches. Not your grandfather’s traditional stopwatch (now we’re in the digital age), but instruments of measurement that do the hard math for the officer. Next time you drive on the highway, pay careful attention to the outside lane of the highway. If you’re observant, you may notice a series of five lines, about the width of a parking space line, but only about three to five feet long. It is these series of lines that let you know that you are in an air speed zone. And if you see these markings, be aware that on a clear day, you may run the risk of falling victim to this slightly more sophisticated speed trap. The five white lines are exactly 1,320 feet apart or one-quarter mile apart. By using his digital stopwatch, a pilot trooper can calculate the speed of your vehicle by recording the time it takes your vehicle to cross each white line.
Upon determining that a vehicle is speeding, the pilot trooper radios down to his companion in the patrol car who is stationed about a half-mile past the last white line. He describes the vehicle and confirms with the vehicle trooper that he has identified and stopped the correct vehicle. From there a ticket is issued and you are on your way to paying a fine and potentially incurring points on your driver’s license.
If you find yourself in a traffic situation such as this, speak to an attorney to see how best to deal with the circumstance. The attorney may have some ideas to improve the outcome for you – beyond just paying out the ticket.
In Ohio, employees generally cannot be fired simply because they become pregnant. The Ohio Revised Code provides that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice:
For any employer, because of the race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry of any person, to discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against that person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment.
R.C. § 4112.02
Federal Law may also protect pregnant employees via The Pregnany Discrimnation Act of 1978.
After childbirth, a woman may also be entitled to time off, if she qualifies for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Moreover, upon returning to work, employers must provide nursing mothers with a private room with a lock, that is not a bathroom, to pump breast milk. Your employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you for requesting accommodations to pump milk.
In short, the law does have protection for pregnant employees. However, those protections are routinely tested by employers around the State.
AWK Legal is happy to announce that Attorney Jesse Bowman has opened an additional office in the historic Rentschler Building, 6 South Second Street, Suite 508, in downtown Hamilton. The building is conveniently located across the street from the Butler County Probate and Municipal Courts and a short walk away from the Butler County Common Pleas and Domestic Relations Courts.
The new location was needed as Jesse continues to increase his work serving the people of Butler County and will provide his clients with a closer location to their homes. Jesse will continue to work primarily at our Mason office, and will be available by appointment in his new Hamilton office.
Attorneys Jesse Bowman; Max Kinman; Chris Alexander: David Wagner