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Deborah Zaccaro Hoffman

Deborah Hoffman’s Answers

732 total


  • What loopholes can I use for the adoption of my son?

    His father has not been a part of his life for quite sometime yet will not sign off rights to allow my fiancé to adopt him.

    Deborah’s Answer

    First you need to get married so you can do a stepparent adoption. Next you need to stop chasing the birth dad regarding adoption. Let him initiate the contact with the minor (not with you) and don't obstruct it. If a year goes by and he makes minimal contact OR does not support the child, his consent is not necessary. Keep a record of any contact made starting today and do not stir the pot. (Please excuse my plain speaking).

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  • Can I get emergency medical power of attorney for my 30-year old daughter who abuses her prescribed xanax medication?

    I would like to be able to give the medication to her as prescribed, but am not able to do that unless she gives it to me immediately, but she takes some out first and then it's too late.

    Deborah’s Answer

    You have a larger problem. You are attempting to manage the behavior of someone who is actively exhibiting addictive behavior. This never lasts for long. If things get bad enough, it is possible to request the probate court order someone into drug treatment, if you agree to pay for it. This is really non-legal advice but in the meanwhile I would recommend contacting an organization such as Families Anonymous for information on how its members deal with their family members who have similar issues. Take care.

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  • Can I get a court appointed attorney to contest my children's aunt's petition for guardianship of them?

    2 minor children of unmarried parents placed under emergency guardianship of deceased father's sister. Parents already have custody order grants them shared parenting.(joint custody) Natural (custodial) mother wants to contest the guardianship a...

    Deborah’s Answer

    Not usually for a civil matter. Which county is the guardianship in? Someone who applies for guardianship (or custody) is supposed to list any previous custody orders for exactly this reason.

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  • I want to change my son's last name

    His biological father has never seen him and is in prison for life and my son is 8

    Deborah’s Answer

    For an adoption someone would need to apply to be the new legal father. If it is just a name change you seek that can be done through your local probate court without the adoption process. Your son's father (assuming he established paternity) will still need to be served with process and have the opportunity to object even though he is in prison.

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  • Emergency guardianship of adult drug addict sister

    Is there a petition that can be filed to have someone involuntarily entered into rehab. If so, how quickly can such a petition be expedited as the individuals life is at risk?

    Deborah’s Answer

    Yes, there is, but you have to be willing to advance the cost of the rehab if necessary. It is a relatively new (within the last couple of years). The person must be in imminent danger or imminent threat of danger to self, family, or other, or is substantially likely to be in the near future. Usually by the time people are asking this question that tends to be true. Please feel free to give a call if you would like to discuss.

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  • I need help filling out temporary guardianship paperwork of a minor in Lake County Oh

    I have had guardianship of my Niece and Nephew since Nov of 2014. Their father signed a document with myself and a notary. It is a temporary guardianship agreement so I could get medical treatment and care for them in his absence. This paperwork w...

    Deborah’s Answer

    All courts are supposed to accept the Ohio Supreme Court's probate forms, located here for guardianships:

    https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/LegalResources/Rules/superintendence/probate_forms/#guardianship

    Forms for a minor are 15.0 through 16.5. The others are for adults who are alleged to be incompetent. You should not need anything of the inventory or accounts forms unless your little people have money you haven't mentioned. Usually it's quickest if the father signs a Waiver of Notice form, that way the court doesn't have to serve him with process. You will also need the child's address for the last 5 years, if you don't know dad can hopefully tell you.

    Also try to find the McKinney-Vento liaison for the district here:

    https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/School-Improvement/Federal-Programs/No-Child-Left-Behind/Program-Information/McKinney-Vento-Homeless-Children-and-Youth-Program/McKinney-Vento-School-District-Liaison

    Districts aren't supposed to refuse to enroll kids because they don't have the right paperwork. Often this comes up for children in foster care but the law is supposed to cover things like kids in homeless shelters or who have been abandoned and there's no parent around who would have the right paperwork.

    Last thing is, ask them if you can file a poverty affidavit to ask the court to waive the $150 fee. I don't know if Ashtabula will do that or not, it is on a case by case basis.

    Good luck.

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  • Gardianship over my stepson

    If my wife were to die and my stepson father has never been in the picture, never met him, lives in a different state and is not on the birth certificate do I have legal custody over him.

    Deborah’s Answer

    The simple answer is "No." Adoption, legal custody, and guardianship are actually three different issues. Unless you had done a stepparent adoption before your wife died, you would not automatically have custody of your stepson. You could file in court for either guardianship or legal custody, but the biological father would have the right to challenge it. How successful he would be is very dependent on the specific facts of the situation.

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  • Can I go to jail for having a friend ask my ex if I get my daughter on my visitation and she has a protection order on me

    I have been following the order but she has not

    Deborah’s Answer

    Read the exact order you have but typically in Ohio you cannot have someone violate the order on your behalf.

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  • Can I divorce my husband for Adultery if I can prove I got herpes from him?

    Married 6 years. He owns his own business, travels to Vegas. I'm his 3rd wife, I was recently diagnosed with herpes & fibromyalgia. I had STD testing done prior to marriage which came back negative. He refused. I have been told by his 2nd wife t...

    Deborah’s Answer

    There is no way I can think of to prove the heroes came from him and not someone else (and yes that accusation will probably be made). If you want a divorce you can probably get one on an issue much easier to prove. Spousal support depends on a lot of different factors but who is at fault for the marriage's breakdown isn't generally one of them. That being said, it would be worth talking to an attorney in the area you live in as local standards vary from one part of the state to another. If it is helpful, there and medicines and dietary that will suppress the virus so it has less impact on your life. Sadly one of the hardest things about life is that people can do very unfair and lasting damage without being held accountable by the legal system. You might also consider talking to a personal injury attorney about the odds of that kind of claim separate from the divorce. Good luck.

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  • His children have threatened to declare my husband incompetent and have our marriage annulled. Can this happen?

    He is 85 I am 56 we have been together for seven years. He recently started to have treatment for the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. His doctors have not declared him incompetent, he is still capable of everyday life. His children are trying to ...

    Deborah’s Answer

    I would do two things: 1. Lawyer up so you don't have to talk to his children directly. It will save you a lot of heartache. 2. Make sure your husband has a durable power of attorney in place because you can expect as he declines that his children will file for guardianship of him. That is a more likely problem than them trying to get his marriage annulled or force a divorce. I'm not even sure how one could do that. Other estate planning should be done as soon as possible and videotaped in case his children contest his competency to make those plans after he passes away.

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