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Lee Alan Thompson
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Lee Thompson’s Answers

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  • Spouse wants 4 pets in divorce, leaving me 2.

    2 pets is probably all I can handle with busy work schedule but the best arrangement for the dogs and me would be a visitation arrangement which she doesn't want. She doesn't want to see me every week. I can't imagine never seeing the 4 other dogs...

    Lee’s Answer

    Well, I've had cases like this and while pets technically are personal property as far as Ohio law is concerned, people tend to look at a dog, cat, etc. as a member of the family. In cases where there are contested issues regarding pets, some judges will, without stating it, almost treat pets as a custody matter. It's not so much using the best interest test the court would use for a child, but looking at the relationship the parties have established.

    I did have a case where the court actually left the pet with one party but gave the other party "visitation" with the dog. Representing the person having the dog, I argued to the court we should get "dog" support since my client had to care for the dog on a more full-time basis. The court said no but did ask the other person if he would provide dog food and the husband said yes. It wasn't part of the court order though but because of the strong feelings each party had, I suspect he probably did.

    Going back to the property issue, dogs have a value, sometimes at least. I'm talking monetary, not sentimental or emotional. The court may in this situation just give each of you two but, again, if you have registered dogs, take into consideration the value and dividing appropriately.

    Experience tells me it is far to reach an agreement on this with your wife.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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  • Can i sue my ex for contempt and filing a false police complaint

    Ex filed a police complaint for an issue in a different country, which was already discussed in the court here in us. Is there a way to make sure she pays for this false complaint here, as I am not sure if I can go to home country until this issue...

    Lee’s Answer

    I'm not seeing how this is exactly a divorce question. You have elements of immigration law, criminal law and maybe a lawsuit if you can show what are called damages. But, if a criminal complaint has been filed, you really need to be speaking with a criminal defense attorney. False or not, if charges are filed, you'll need to be defend it.

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  • Can a young child's preference be used to change a custody order?

    Per our court order, I am the residential parent; my ex has been deemed unfit and has standard visitation of one evening a week and every-other weekend. My ex is trying to change this and regain custody, saying our 7 year old prefers to be with th...

    Lee’s Answer

    Your question is difficult to understand. I'm assuming a change of custody case has been filed. Where I'm not understanding a part of this is the finding the ex was found unfit and yet, it appears the ex somehow received unsupervised visitation(I'm using terminology throughout that is no longer used in Ohio but really, we have word changes but the basic premise is still the same).

    To answer in order though, yes the court can listen to the child but has to determine the child's reasoning ability. At seven, that may not be something the court can do. Even if the child says s/he want to live with the other parent, the court can overrule the child if it is not found to be in the best interest of the child. The issue of custody is not going to be left solely up to a seven year-old.

    Yes, the child can be interviewed in chambers by the judge without your consent. Finally, yes you can get a guardian ad-litem again. It sounds beneficial to get one actually in the way you describe this. There are other things by statute the court must find as well. It's also unlikely your child is going to see the inside of a courtroom.

    This is high stakes stuff you're talking about so my suggestion would be you get an attorney, especially true if the ex has one.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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  • Can a divorcing veteran allow non vet wife to assume VA loan and quit claim in ohio

    I am a vet and want to give my wife my VA loan as well as a quit claim. In accordance she had agreed to pay off my excessive credit card debt. Is this allowed in Ohio.

    Lee’s Answer

    Be careful with this and in doing so, get an attorney to fully protect yourself. The biggest concern should be what happens if she files a bankruptcy. On joint debts, you could be liable to the creditors. The creditors are not parties to the divorce and not bound by it. If she defaults and you are jointly liable, the creditors will come after you.

    There is specific language I use to protect someone in your situation. It's way to lengthy to put here but part of it to make sure it is specified payments of debts are in the nature of support, alimony or maintenance and not just a division of property and you want to get the words "domestic support obligations" in the order.

    This question, unlike many on this site, is highly technical and there is not a simple answer, but you should be able to do this and be safe. I wouldn't be turning a quit-claim deed over without more. Again, this is one you really need an attorney for. Another solution could be a joint bankruptcy if the debt load is "excessive" as indicated. These are decisions though that require more information.

    See an attorney. Many provide an initial free consultation.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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  • Visitation during divorce proceedings. Can a parent be refused visitation if they have not taken the Divorce With Children

    Course in Montgomery county, Dayton,Ohio? Divorce proceedings still continuing.

    Lee’s Answer

    Not likely at all. All counties have a parenting class set up for divorcing parents and in counties I'm aware of, it needs to be taken before the final hearing, not before visitation begins.

    Montgomery County, a county I do not practice in, would have local rules regarding the class. You or your attorney need to review the rule but, I can't imagine the rules says that. More likely it is the custodial parent telling you this and if that's the case, you should be filing a contempt. The kids need both parents involved in their lives.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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  • Can certain economic losses sustained by the family be used to determine the proper marital equity award?

    I had a short re-marriage to my husband. During the course of the marriage in 2014-2015, he worked 9 months and paid the mortgage of $500 a month. That equates to about $4,500 of marital equity. However, the (pro se) divorce I am seeking is on the...

    Lee’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Mr. Kirner is right about the equity in the home. A mortgage payment does not increase equity in the home by a like amount, at least it shouldn't. I know you are proceeding without an attorney and he may do the same or just ignore the divorce altogether.

    My thought is there is no equity in the home to divide. Therefore, I would not be subtracting anything as a result of receiving the income tax refunds. The other losses can be argued as being marital waste and if he has no attorney, a final entry could probably be fashioned in such a way that you are awarded the money. Depending on how you word it, it may be easy or difficult to collect.

    There is one other potential issue but there isn't enough information to answer it. There is a concept called "tacking" which simply means you may be able to make a short marriage longer by using the time of the previous marriage. This isn't always easy to do and on your own, you would likely have a hard time presenting the evidence and really, it should have been in your complaint for divorce. It would also be easier to amend the complaint and use gross neglect of duty and really, it would be a good idea to allege marital waste in the complaint.

    Although you are proceeding pro se, you still could have an initial consultation with an attorney to review these matters. There are attorneys that do not charge for an initial consultation.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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  • Can you sue for malicious slander, defimation of character, libel...

    Being threatened, harrassed, and your life purposefully made a living nightmare for 2 yrs.by your ex husband and his family.

    Lee’s Answer

    You can but this is really a case for the police first and foremost.

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  • Separated from Husband but pregnant by my boyfriend, can I still file for dissolution and not divorce?

    My husband and I have not lived together since November 14th 2014, we have hand written notarized papers that we have not lived together since, I know its not a legal document but it has to count for something. I got pregnant by my boyfriend in Ap...

    Lee’s Answer

    Really the court doesn't like to do this but I've been able to do it before and have filed while the mother is pregnant. You have to do it in a way that I doubt you'll find any forms for it though which means using an attorney.

    There's a presumption your husband is the father. You can file, name your unborn child as a party, name your husband the biological father as defendants and the complaint for divorce would look a little different than most.

    Years ago I did a dissolution similar to what you're talking about but, before filing anything, I talked to our judges and received an assurance that if I worded everything properly, I could get it approved. The difference there though was my client(husband) was being deployed and his wife was pregnant by another man and I think the judges took it into consideration. So it may depend on the judge.

    Essentially, you're combining a divorce with a paternity action. So, if the question is who you should contact, contact a divorce attorney in the Cincinnati area.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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  • Divorce with excessive alimony entitlement. What can I do about it? Can somebody help me?

    A 3 year divorce trial and I'm now ordered to pay $440 per week for life. That is more than half my take home pay. It is somewhere between 25 - 30% of my gross income. I'm ready to throw in the towel. My attorney is a nice guy but accomplished...

    Lee’s Answer

    That's a very long divorce(I assume the trial wasn't anywhere near three years). The problem is, there's not nearly enough information. After dividing property pursuant to R.C. 3105.171, the court then looks at the factors in R.C. 3105.18 to determine spousal support. Length of marriage is a factor but there are several others. The factor we can really determine from what you've stated is your gross income.

    That's not the end of the analysis and to get in all factors, so much more information is needed, way more than you can put here. The amount could be excessive but maybe not. Your real question now is whether anything can be done about it and that's not ascertainable either. You say the judgment was appealed. If it was tried to a judge and you've appealed, there wouldn't be much that can be done except appeal to the Supreme Court of Ohio. If however the trial was in front of a magistrate and by appeal you mean objections were filed and the decision upheld by the judge, if you are within time, you can appeal to the court of appeals.

    Absent grounds to vacate the judgment pursuant to Ohio Civil Rule 60(B), if the order is modifiable, and I assume it is, you could try to modify it but that would require a change of circumstances. If the length of time has been fairly short, it's not likely one has occurred, but someone would need to review everything.

    Either talk to the attorney that handled the case to see what options you have or, see another attorney to discuss it. On the surface, if it was tried to a judge, appealed and affirmed, you're probably going to have a difficult time presently.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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  • What is the legal definition of household goods and furnishings as it pertains to a will?

    My grandmother sold me her house, and left me all household goods and furnishings. I have received several different definitions. I am supposed to box up anything NOT included in this definition for the rest of the family. I just need to know wha...

    Lee’s Answer

    The short answer is anything in the house with the exception of wearing apparel I guess, would qualify as household goods and furnishings. It can be broadly defined. A probate attorney would be helpful. If there are things you do not really want, gather up and family and let people choose in some kind of rotation unless the Will specifically leaves a particular item to a named person.

    Best to you,
    Lee

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