Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my articles in 2012. I hope to continue to find family law subjects that are important, interesting, and reflective of current statutory and case decisions. I welcome any requests for discussion of any particular family law issue. I can best be reached at Smorgan153@aol.com.
In 2012, both the Ohio Legislature and the Supreme court addressed family law issues. As I reported in my article of December 10, 2012, entitled “Let's play Nice,”a Collaborative Law act was passed aimed at promoting and encouraging resolution of divorce cases through interest based negotiations, rather than through litigation. The legislation also contained an amendment to the spousal support statute. The amendment clarified previous case law on the issue as to whether a change of circumstances sufficient to support a modification of ordered support had to be both substantial and unforeseen at the time of the last order. It is now clear that the change must be substantial and not taken into account by the court or the parties at the time of the last order, although then foreseeable.
In 2012 the Supreme Court, among other decisions, held that a person found in contempt for failure to pay child support, although facing incarceration, wasn't entitled to a state provided attorney under the constitutional right of due process. In a Juvenile Court proceeding, the Supreme Court decided that in a custody case between a parent and non parent, the court could issue temporary visitation orders.
When the legislature and the Supreme court speak, the lower courts are obligated to follow the laws enacted and decisions rendered. Those laws and decisions are, however, subject to interpretation and application to particular fact patterns. I am quite confident that there will not be a lack of new and interesting cases to discuss in 2013.