Juvenile Law is a special area of law that can mix family law and criminal law. It is typically broken down into three separate areas: delinquency, abuse/neglect/dependency cases and private custody/support/visitation cases. Delinquency is essentially criminal or traffic law involving minors. The abuse, neglect and dependency cases are those cases where Children’s Services has become involved and are attempting to impose conditions on you to keep your kids or where they have removed your children. The private cases can be establishing or modifying custody, establishing or modifying child support, and establishing or modifying visitation. Additionally, paternity actions are generally filed in juvenile court as well.
The practice of juvenile law is different, however, than adult criminal or domestic relations court. Proceedings are different, the rules are different, and the people involved are different. Anytime your children’s well-being is at stake you should make sure that you have competent representation with experience. Our attorneys at Deal & Hooks have significant experience throughout Southwest Ohio. Both Mr. Hooks and Mr. Deal act as a court appointed Guardian ad Litem and appear regularly in front of judges and magistrates to give their recommendations of how cases should be resolved. We have successfully tried contentious custody battles, and been involved in high profile cases involving allegations of abuse, neglect and dependency.
There are few things that bring as much fear and apprehension as contested, child custody proceedings. This is the case whether the parents are married and the proceedings are happening in Domestic Relations Court or if they are unmarried and the proceedings are taking place in the Juvenile Court. The trial court determining which parent gets custody of the child or children looks at a number of factors. These proceedings can take a significant amount of time. In the meantime, there are short-term considerations that need to be worked out, including where the child will live until the case is decided and what the other parent’s visitation schedule will be. Inresolving the case the client needs to decide whether they wish to have legal custody of the child, seek to enter into a shared parenting arrangement with the other parent, and what type of visitation schedule is desired. These are just a few of the many considerations that need to be made.
An experienced attorney can walk parents through the process. They can explain what factors the court looks to in making the decisions about custody and visitation, and they can help to gather evidence to present the case in the light most favorable to their client. Additionally, an experienced attorney can help facilitate a resolution of the case to the satisfaction of all parties whenever this is possible, saving the client time, money and unnecessary stress about an uncertain outcome.
Our attorneys have experience in resolving these cases and in trying these cases. Mr. Hooks handled a landmark custody case involving international law, as well as Ohio law when the first Hague Petition case was tried in Dayton, Ohio in 2008. His client ended up the victor and the child was allowed to remain with his father here in Ohio rather than be forced to move to Israel. The father was ultimately awarded custody of the minor child. Additionally, both Mr. Deal and Mr. Hooks have experience acting as a Guardian ad Litem in Juvenile Court where they are both appointed by the Court to investigate custody disputes and make recommendations to the Court as to what situation may be in the child’s best interest. Both Mr. Deal and Mr. Hooks have tried numerous other cases involving custody disputes and obtained favorable outcomes for their clients in various courts throughout Southwest Ohio and the Miami Valley.
Our philosophy with custody proceedings is to discuss the matter thoroughly with our clients and to investigate the matter before giving our recommendation to the client. The client is involved in all aspects of their case. He or she will make the final decision regarding any settlement discussion, and will actively participate in trial strategy.
Child support determinations can have a tremendous impact on a parent’s life and a child’s life. In Ohio there are guidelines that establish the support order based on the parents’ collective income, the custodial situation, daycare expense, healthcare expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses. An effective attorney will be able to obtain a favorable outcome in either modifying or establishing support based on actual income.
There are times a parent is willfully or voluntarily unemployed or underemployed and a fair support order has not taken this into account. Similarly, there are times when a court uses income information that is outdated and you are paying too much based on economic factors that have changed through no fault or your own. An experienced attorney will be able to negotiate or effectively argue for changes in the order based on any of these circumstances.
The attorneys at Deal & Hooks have experience in establishing, modifying and challenging support orders. We have appeared in Montgomery County, Clark County, Miami County, Warren County, Greene County and Butler County for these types of cases. We also have experience in dealing with cases where a person is brought to court for failing to pay child support pursuant to the court order. If you think you are paying too much, or the other parent is not paying what they should be you should contact us to set up a time to discuss your options.
A child accused of committing a crime generally finds him or herself in juvenile court as a result of a filing for delinquency. Typically these cases are similar to the charge in adult court. There are some differences in procedure and how to defend these cases, however, and you should be sure to hire someone who is familiar with them.
Our attorneys at Deal & Hooks have experience in juvenile courts handling delinquency cases. We regularly handle things as small as shoplifting and disorderly conduct to the more serious felonious assault, domestic violence and sex cases. We can advise a child and his or her parents as to what to expect, spot any issues and defenses that may be available, and negotiate or try the case as is appropriate. If you are concerned that your child may be facing a potential charge, or if your child has already been charged you should promptly contact an attorney to advise you.