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Deborah Zaccaro Hoffman

Deborah Hoffman’s Answers

713 total


  • If my husband wants to adopt my child and he has been the acting father for all of child's life what steps need to be taken??

    my husband has been the child's father for the 11 years the child has been born! The bio father abandoned the child early on and has never had any contact at all! I was told once that a home visit would still need to be done even though he has bee...

    Deborah’s Answer

    Yes, a home visit will need to be done - or more precisely a "home study" that will include a home visit by a social worker. The largest part of a stepparent adoption is typically the amount of paperwork that must be assembled, including medical and financial information, and a background check. A criminal conviction is not necessarily a problem, but will depend on the type of offense and how recent. It does not sound like the consent of the child's biological father will be required, although he will still need to be served him with process, which can be by publishing notice in the paper if his whereabouts are unknown. Like someone else said, it's not one of those things that is typically a do it yourself process, but barring anything unusual in your home or background it should go fairly smoothly.

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  • How can my ex-husband still be living with his intrusive girlfriend if he is turned over to guardianship by the state?

    I divorced my husband last month. His daughter was given Power of Attorney and she had him turned over to guardianship. His attorney is now also his guardian for his estate and another person is his personal guardian. His attorney told my lawye...

    Deborah’s Answer

    Maybe his guardian feels it's better for him to be living with an intrusive girlfriend than in an institution? If his dementia is only slight, he probably doesn't meet the criteria for admission anyway.

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  • I need a continuance but the judge advanced the hearing date on a child visitation issue.

    I filed a request for continuance based on the court date being scheduled 4 days (June 5) after I start a new job after moving across the country the week before. The jurisdiction is in Ohio. The child and I have lived in Colorado for three years....

    Deborah’s Answer

    If you have an interstate custody case, you definitely should retain counsel. Normally counsel would file a Notice of Appearance and try to get the hearing converted to a status conference because they have been retained last minute. That is assuming we're not talking about a contested trial or anything that has been on the docket for months or an emergency involving a threat to the child's welfare.

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  • Can I get my wedding ring back?

    I bought my ex fiancée a wedding ring. I still owe on the ring. We are not together anymore. Can I get my ring back to help pay the bill?

    Deborah’s Answer

    Unless you're in the 2nd Appellate District in Ohio, in theory it's a conditional gift and you're entitled to get it back. In practice, it will likely be difficult unless you want to take her to court.

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  • Unloading a hostile and belligerent Plaintiff attorney that is sabotaging my case, claiming "no evidence" before discovery?

    Active Civil Rights Section 1983 case for $10,000,000, police misconduct, excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution. - He files pleadings without my review and approval; refuses to amend to make corrections; is withh...

    Deborah’s Answer

    This sounds like a battle for control over how the case is handled. My advice would be to get an attorney whose judgment you trust. It doesn't make any sense without formal legal training to argue over how pleadings should read, who should be deposed, and when discovery should be provided. If you don't trust his professional judgment on those matters, you should not be hiring him. If you are unhappy with his attitude you can discharge him as he said and there is no particular way that needs to be done, although he will need to file a withdrawal with the court since a lawsuit has already been initiated. I don't see any ethical issues here as annoyed as you may be with him.

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  • If you have a consultation with a lawyer can the defendant use that lawyer?

    I had had a consultation with an attorney the last time me and my ex went to court. I received papers that he is taking me back to court and that the attorney I spoke with is his lawyer. Can he use that attorney? is that a conflict of interest?

    Deborah’s Answer

    I wouldn't touch your ex's case with a 100 foot pole if you'd been in my office regarding the same matter. It could just be a record-keeping issue with that attorney or switching to a new system (not excusing just speculating). A voice mail to that attorney pointing out the issue may be sufficient to turn the light bulb on that a withdrawal is appropriate. Otherwise like someone else suggested you can file a motion.

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  • Insurance fraud

    Adopted a child thru children services with severely mental problems that came out after a few years. Singed her back over to state so she could get help that we could not provide. After signing her back to state my insurance started getting charg...

    Deborah’s Answer

    It is not clear what you mean by signing her back to the state, whether that the adoption was permanently dissolved or that the state has some form of temporary custody. Why is she still on your insurance at this point?

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  • I have a special needs trust and want to know if I can pay someone else's medical bills with it?

    I know there are a lot of rules about how you can spend the money in your special needs trust so I am asking if I can pay for my mom's dental bills with it.

    Deborah’s Answer

    You can't distribute money from the trust for any reason because you are the beneficiary and not the trustee and have no authority to distribute funds. If your mother is the trustee, she also can't distribute trust money to herself for her personal benefit without violating her fiduciary duty.

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  • What do I do?

    My daughter attends Ferris state univ. in Big Rapids, Mich. We live in Cleveland, Oh. She was caught up in an internet scheme that cleared out her bank acct. She reported the incident to campus police. When she talked to us (her parents), she...

    Deborah’s Answer

    Something doesn't add up in the story she is giving you. You can find counsel for her by calling the local bar association. She shouldn't be talking to anyone else or providing details online about what happened.

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  • Hi what can i do about a dissolution of marriage if i don't agree to the terms?

    My name is Cortney Garinger and my husband filed in the state of Nebraska and i have been living in the state of Ohio for over 6 months. we have two children together and he wants legal joint custody and physical joint custody. i do not want to go...

    Deborah’s Answer

    If you were here 6 months before he filed, Nebraska probably doesn't have jurisdiction to determine child custody, though it may be able to terminate the marital status and order support. You should sit down with someone and go over your options, but if you want to stay here with the kids it would probably not be a good idea to have Nebraska have jurisdiction if you can avoid it as if you need to go back to court in the future, you will be traveling out there.

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