I have been practicing primarily family law for more than fifteen years here in Bradley and the surrounding counties. Family law means almost anything that affects the people in your home - whether it is divorce, custody issues, adoptions, taking care of children that are not your own, or even wills and end of life decisions. I work in the historic law office of Susie Starnes and Associates, in downtown Cleveland, only a few blocks from the Bradley County Courthouse, and I meet personally with every single client, every single time.
If you find yourself in a marriage that is no longer functioning, divorce may be an option for you. Issues such as co-parenting with your spouse and division of assets and debts are normal in most cases. More complex issues like alimony, what to do if you need to sell a house or other property, and how retirement accounts are to be divided are also quite common. My years of experience can help navigate the most simple, uncontested divorces all the way to the complex divorces that need a Judge to decide their outcome.
Sometimes, after a divorce, circumstances with co-parenting change and a Court needs to determine what is in the children’s best interests at the time. Changes in co-parenting time, custody or child support are common, especially with children whose parents divorce when they are young. I have not only years of experience in helping others with divorce and post-divorce issues, but have also been through a post-divorce co-parenting litigation with my own children, and know how worrisome the process can be. Let my experience, both personal and professional, work to your advantage.
More and more people are choosing to have children together without first getting married. If their relationship does not stay intact, unmarried parents often face specific problems, like establishing legal paternity and how to share co-parenting time. Many times there are informal child support arrangements between the parties that can be very difficult to prove if the parties are no longer getting along, and child support arrearage issues must be litigated. I have practiced in the Juvenile Courts with both unmarried fathers and mothers on countless occasions, and work very hard to ensure that my clients can be the very best parents they can be and that the financial issues specific to unmarried parents are handled in a professional manner in keeping with the law.
Going through the whole process of litigation, and then having an opposing party that either can not or will not follow the Court’s Orders is one of the most frustrating issues with which my clients routinely deal. Further Court actions are sometimes necessary to make sure the other side follows the Orders of the Court, and I can guide you through the process in the most helpful way I can.
Unfortunately, with the opioid epidemic and other drug use rampant, many children are left with parents who cannot care for them properly. If you have a child near and dear to your heart and you want to take care of that child with all the legal protection you need to do so, I can help file the appropriate paperwork in Juvenile Court and advocate for the child staying in your care for as long as needed.
Adoptions are one of my favorite parts of family law. Whether you are a step-parent wanting to adopt a step-child, a grandparent wanting to adopt a grandchild you have been raising, or a caregiver for a child that has been in need due to their family situation, I would absolutely love to help make your family a forever family.