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A Toledo Divorce Lawyer to Protect Your Rights in Court

Divorce can be painful, long-lasting and financially debilitating. In addition, divorce laws are often confusing and comprehensive. Unless you have been married for a short time, you will probably need a divorce lawyer. He or she will help you sort through custody issues, possible spousal maintenance and asset sharing. Talk with a Toledo OH divorce lawyer, soon.

Pre Divorce Agreement

How a Divorce Lawyer can help

A divorce lawyer can also help in other ways such as provide a plan for your case, a timeline, seek out necessary legal documents, file your case in a timely manner and stay in contact with your partner’s lawyer; letting him or her know that he is doing everything possible to reach a speedy resolution. A divorce lawyer in Maumee, Ohio can answer your questions about divorce.

Filing for Spousal support: Part of a Divorce Lawyer’s Duties

Also, a divorce lawyer will file for spousal support as soon as possible so that living expenses can be provided. Keep in mind; your lawyer’s first task is to explain your legal position. Of course, in divorce cases, nothing is guaranteed but your lawyer will tell you if you can win or not and how much of a struggle it will be. A Toledo divorce lawyer can answer your questions about divorce.

What will be required from you?

Once you hire a divorce lawyer, he or she will demand all financial documents from your spouse. Then, your lawyer will assess if there are experts needed in your case and will get in touch with them so that they can appear in court. Expert witnesses can be crucial in order to get the compensation you need and want. Find out more about how a divorce lawyer can help you in Maumee, Ohio

Mediation is also an Option

Included in basic divorce law is mediation. Currently and in the past, many cases are resolved in a decent fashion outside court.

• The only time when mediation is not considered is when battery is involved. A divorce lawyer will also prepare you for the court room.
• He or she will also review with you the kind of questions to expect in court and how you should answer them.
• A Toledo Ohio lawyer can advise you on your divorce case.

Other benefits of a Divorce Lawyer

Other benefits in hiring a divorce lawyer are hiring a person who has intimate and concrete knowledge of divorce law.

• Familiarity with the regional court system is also a benefit.
• Of course, the ability to negotiate fair settlement is also a plus factor.
• Keep in mind; the divorce process is basically concerned with coming to a financial settlement; one that is fair by everyone.

One of the most treasured benefits of hiring a divorce lawyer is the reduction of stress. Stress can be high, especially if children are involved. Allowing your legal attorney to represent you during the divorce process will give you the time you need to fulfill your other obligations. Talk with a Toledo OH lawyer, soon!

To conclude, divorce can be messy, overwhelming and time-consuming. Clearly, it is a process that should not be taken alone. By hiring a Toledo divorce lawyer, you will receive quality and professional help and experience less stress.

Contact Michael E. Bryant’s Toledo, OH law office today to get the justice you deserve. Find Michael E. Bryant online at, visit our law office in Toledo, OH on the second floor of 1119 Adams St. or call us at (419) 243-3922.

Asking Questions Before Marriage to Prevent Divorce Later

When we get ready to take the plunge and say, “I Do!” we’re not usually thinking about all of the challenges, stresses, and hurdles that await our unions together. Instead, we’re focused on the excitement of the big day, wedded bliss, and a lifetime of romance, laughter, and memories- the good stuff. That’s just the way it should be.

But, realistically, statistics show that a good portion of us will find ourselves facing divorce at some point in our adult lives. The romance seems to fade and hard times settle in. In many cases, the likelihood of divorce can be minimized when you ask yourself a few key questions prior to tying the knot. Knowing what you can expect from each other and your marriage from the start can help you determine if a divorce is in your future. So, before you commit yourselves to a lifetime of holy matrimony, consider asking yourselves these ten questions about marriage.

  1. How do we define marriage? Marriage means different things to different people. Why do you want to get married? For legal purposes, insurance purposes, or financial reasons? Does personal religious belief play a factor? There are many reasons to get married, and many of these reasons can impact the likelihood of divorce in the future.
  2. What do we each want to get out of this marriage? What is it that you’re looking for from your marriage?  Are you looking for a lifetime companion? Have you just been together so long that marriage seems like the logical next step? What role do you want your marriage to play in your personal life as an individual? If you’re both not on the same page, take this as a red flag that tensions and disputes will come up down the road.
  3. Do we want to have children? If so, when? How many? This one question could be one of the most crucial ones to ask before getting married. The subject of children is among the leading causes of divorce among adults. Don’t say “Yes” without knowing for sure that you and your significant other are on the same page when it comes to children. If either of you is forced to compromise on this issue, you can all but guarantee that the subject will cause tension down the road.
  4. What are your expectations on monogamy in marriage? This may or may not seem like an obvious question to ask, but it’s one that you should both seriously consider. Many people are comfortable with the idea of open relationships, and even consider them to be healthy attributes of their marriages. How do you feel on this topic and does your significant other agree? The answer to this question may affect the next few questions on this list.
  5. What defines infidelity in your relationship? Do you view infidelity as strictly sexual? How do you feel about your partner’s emotional relationships with others? Pornography, kissing, emotional attachments: these can all be viewed through different lenses in a marriage. Be sure that you’re both in agreement on these issues and that you clearly understand each other’s thoughts and feelings.
  6. What will we do if there is infidelity in our marriage? Do you believe that if one spouse cheats that a divorce is the obvious answer? There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. What matters is that you determine what’s right for you and that you understand how your partner feels. Is forgiveness and reconciliation an option? Obviously, each situation is unique and complicated. Don’t feel like you have to be 100 percent sure of your answers. But asking these tough questions up front can give you a clearer picture if you both have the same ideals, expectations, and purposes for your marriage.
  7. What do we expect from our spouse in marriage? What do we expect from ourselves? Guy, do you expect your wife to be a stay-at-home wife and mother raising the children while you go to work? Wife, do you enjoy having a busy career, social life, etc. outside of your marriage? Do you expect absolute honesty on every subject? How do you feel about sharing toothbrushes? Big or small, it’s important to know what you’re willing to put into your marriage, what you’re hoping to receive from your spouse, and what you’re both willing to compromise on for the sake of the relationship.
  8. What are our views on finances? Along with children, the issue of finances is another biggie that puts added stress and turmoil into marriages. What are your spending habits individually, and do you agree on how to spend your money as a couple? Will you have joint accounts or separate ones? How much debt do you each bring into the marriage and how will you pay it off? If you don’t work on a unified spending plan together, you’ll probably face many tension-filled moments throughout your marriage.
  9. How will we spend the holidays? Family and friends are important, especially around the holidays. Will you two plan to build your own holiday traditions sans extended family? Will you alternate occasions with either side of the family? Do you dislike your own family and prefer to spend every holiday with your spouse’s relatives? Come to a common conclusion together on this issue. Otherwise, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll hear about it from that crazy uncle of OCD mother-in-law at some point in the future.
  10.  What are our opinions on divorce? And finally, before you decide to get married, ask yourselves this very important question. Is divorce an option for your marriage, and if so, what would it take for you to consider this choice down the road. Nobody wants to start off their marriage thinking about divorce, but it’s good to know if you both feel the same way on the subject. Because Ohio allows for no-fault divorce, even if you don’t want to get a divorce down the road, your spouse could still force you to get one. How you both answer this question could be a major warning sign that divorce is in your future.

Marriage can be great. But, it can also be really hard. And sometimes, even with the best planning and highest of hopes, marriages just don’t work out. Do you need legal advice about divorce and the future of your marriage? Michael E. Bryant can help. With compassion and understanding, he can help you navigate through the murky waters of divorce as you seek out the best possible outcome for yourself and your family. Call 419-243-3922 today to learn how.

Debunking 7 Leading Divorce Myths

The decision to end a marriage is rarely an easy one to make. It doesn’t help the situation to have people you know and care about ¾or people you don’t really know at all, even¾ reminding you about all of the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad things that come from divorce. You’ve probably heard them all before, and then some, and maybe even second-guessed your decision to end your marriage. But, ultimately, in the end, what matters most is that you make the best decision for you, your family, and the situation at hand. Sometimes, that means divorce.

Pre Divorce Agreement

If you’re seriously contemplating divorce, or are in the process of doing so, it’s time to start hearing the other side to some of those common myths. Then, when you’re fully informed, you can make the best decisions regarding your marriage and family. Below are seven common divorce myths and the alternative perspectives that could help you through the decision-making process.

  1. There’s no such thing as a friendly divorce. FALSE. Divorce is usually a very difficult, emotional experience. If you’re ending your marriage, it’s usually because your relationship was rough or no longer manageable. Fortunately, there are ways to help your divorce go smoothly with minimal heated contention or animosity. Terms like conscious uncoupling or divorce with dignity have been used to describe marriages that end yet attempt to keep peace, respect and dignity within the family. Mediation helps couples attempt to amicably and fairly divide assets, determine child custody arrangements, and other marriage related concerns. You don’t have to like each other or love each other. But, with the right resources, it’s possible to end your marriage with as little conflict as possible.
  2. You can deny your spouse a divorce if you don’t want it. FALSE. Because Ohio is a no-fault divorce state, getting a divorce only requires one spouse to file. Although there are a few reasons that you may be able to contest a divorce, the truth is, if your spouse requests a divorce, you may be able to stall the proceedings at best. Once you receive official divorce papers, you’ll have some deadlines to meet for signing and returning the paperwork to the necessary authorities. But, unless your spouse rescinds the request, there isn’t much you can do to avoid a divorce.
  3. Couples who have large, expensive weddings are more likely to get divorced. The statistics on this myth are slightly misleading. Although some studies over the last few years have found that couples who spend excessive amounts of money on expensive rings and outlandish weddings also have a higher likelihood of divorce, the correlation is not as clear-cut. It’s not so much that fancy weddings and huge engagement rings lead to divorce, but rather the implications that the financial burden of debt at the start of marriage, and the emphasis of an “event” rather than a “marriage” itself, bear a far greater impact on divorce rates. So, if you’ve found The One and you have the money to spend, don’t worry so much about how much to spend on your wedding.
  4. One-in-two marriages end in divorce. The whole fifty percent of marriages end in divorce figure has been around for some time now in America, and continues to prove itself more misleading. To make a very complicated issue a bit more simple to grasp, we’ll just agree that there are numerous contextual factors including methodology, sample size, demographics, timing, etc that can affect the outcome of a study. This stat was one of those over-generalized situations where a complicated issue was simplified down to a single percentage to try and prove a point.  Although there isn’t a clear answer as to what the exact divorce rate is, most sociologists and scholars estimate that the true percentage lies somewhere between 30 and 40 percent.
  5. Being “unhappy” or “not in love anymore” is a sign that it’s time for divorce. If you’re seriously considering divorce, it’s important to understand that feeling “out of love” may not be the best reason for calling it quits. Feelings come and feelings go. And while your spouse may have slacked off in the romantic department, a few simple acts could change those feelings in a heartbeat. There are many very valid reasons for getting divorced, but not being “in love” should not be the top of your list. Divorce is a life-altering decision that can be extremely complicated, stressful, and expensive. Think seriously about why you want to end your marriage and whether or not there are steps you can take to salvage your marriage before ending it permanently.
  6. Children suffer worse because of divorce. While it is true that divorce can have devastating effects of children, sometimes, the alternatives are far worse. In some cases, a divorce truly is the best option for your family. Is your spouse abusive, neglectful, or dangerous? Is your home a place on hostility, anger, and instability? A family home life that is burdened with such turmoil can be sometimes be more harmful to children than an actual divorce ever could be. It’s important that children be witness to healthy forms of conflict resolution, problem solving, and decision-making. In some cases, a divorce is the best way to accomplish this.  If you are getting divorced, there was ways to make the process more amicable for you both and less traumatic for your children. Divorce doesn’t have to be the end of the world for your family.
  7. I can deny my ex visitation rights if he/she doesn’t pay child support. FALSE. These are two separate issues that do not directly relate to each other. As you go through your divorce ¾ and in the days, weeks, months, and years after¾ it’s important to remember that if your ex decides not to pay child support for whatever reason, that is an issue for the courts to deal with. It is your responsibility to handle visitation agreements in accordance with the court’s recommendations. You can always request for visitation rights to be changed through the courts.

Deciding to divorce can be one of the most challenging, consequential choices you’ll ever have to make. If you’ve found yourself in this place, you certainly aren’t taking this decision lightly. Hopefully, shedding some light on the truths of these common divorce myths can help you make the best, most educated decision regarding your marriage and family’s future.

If you’re in need of legal advice concerning divorce in northwest Ohio, Michael E. Bryant is here to help. Contact his office today for compassionate, comprehensive, and confidential counsel to get you through your divorce.

Sentence Reduction After Being Found Guilty In Toledo

If you, or someone you love, have recently been found guilty of a crime, it can be very natural to just throw in the towel, accept the consequences, and give up. And, it’s true that accepting the consequences for your choices is a necessary part of moving forward with your life, but the punishment may not have to be as severe as initially ordered. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to get a reduced sentence and begin your life again faster than you may think.

Policeman Handcuffing Teenager

Even if you’ve been found guilty of a crime, you are still entitled to have your conviction reviewed by a court of appeals. Did you receive a fair trial? Was the verdict correct? If there were any legal mistakes made during your trial, an appeal could provide you an opportunity for a new trial or to receive a reduction of charges. In Ohio, if you appeal your case, the judge has the power to:

  • Shorten local jail sentences
  • Change the condition of your probation
  • End your probation early if applicable
  • Or change a prison sentence (as long as you haven’t been transferred there to begin your sentence yet).

Were there errors made with your sentence?

Were there typographical, mathematical, or other obvious errors made regarding your sentence? The judge has a limited time to make any changes necessary in your favor. Did your sentence include time already served, but yet that time wasn’t actually credited to your total prison time? Were you sentenced to 5 years of time, yet a typographical error in your legal documents showed a different length of time? These corrections need to be made to ensure that you aren’t punished longer than you need to be.

Did you cooperate with authorities on another criminal case?

Despite your crimes, if you were willing to cooperate with authorities and provide crucial information about another criminal case, you may be able to have your sentence reduced. Your attorney can talk to the prosecution about making a motion with the courts. Although there are time restrictions and certain exceptions to consider, having an attorney on your side that truly is looking out for your best interest can help you receive the best possible outcome for your case.

When it comes to your sentencing after a guilty verdict, the outcome can seem rather unnerving. How long will your life be put on hold because of a lapse of judgment or a series on wrong choices that you just want to move past? If the possibility exists for you to receive a reduced sentence, it’s important to have someone on your side advocating for your legal rights. To learn more about sentence reduction, and your legal rights after sentencing, please contact Michael E. Bryant Law Offices today. A free case evaluation can give you answers and new hope for the future. Call 419- 243-3922 today.

Call Toledo, OH lawyer Michael E. Bryant today for all of your legal needs. Find Michael E. Bryant online at, visit our law office in Toledo, OH on the second floor of 1119 Adams St. or call us at (419) 243-3922.

Understand Your Rights Against Unlawful Creditor Harassment

Repeated phone calls. Pink letters displayed through envelope windows. Threats of wage garnishment. Family members getting asked questions about your private affairs. Life gets annoyingly difficult whenever creditors get involved in your financial troubles. Clearly, the best way to prevent creditor harassment is to address your financial issues before they become a crippling problem. But, what do you do to stop creditor harassment when you just aren’t in a position to pay back everything you owe immediately? Have you ever heard of the old saying, “You can’t suck blood from a turnip.” Well, you could very easily be in a situation where you just can’t give those collection agencies the money they want.

Bankruptcy attorney or accountant sitting at desk with files and

If you find yourself being targeted by debt collectors without reprieve, you don’t have to sit back and just take it. Even though you admittedly have debts that you are responsible for paying back, creditors cannot use “by any means necessary” tactics to squeeze money out of you. Did you know that you do have legal rights, even when you are behind on your debts? In many cases, collectors are breaking the law in their efforts to receive payment from you.

Your Rights Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA)

Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, it is illegal for debt collectors to:

  • Notify your employers, neighbors, or family about your debt. They can call to inquire about your location, but they are not allowed to mention your debt in anyway.
  • Call you at unreasonable hours of the day.
  • Call you at your place of employment.
  • Call you repeatedly. They may make regular attempts to contact you, but they cannot call you over and over and over.
  • Engage in deceptive conduct to contact you, to identify themselves, or to collect funds.
  • Call without disclosing the collector’s identity.
  • Use obscene, derogatory or insulting language in communications with you.
  • Publish your name in any materials.
  • Threaten arrest, loss of child custody, or reduction of welfare benefits if debts are not paid.
  • Use any identifying information on an envelope to identify the sender is a debt collection business.

If a debt collection agency violates any of these laws, they have violated your legal rights. You may be able to sue them for damages, attorney fees, and up to an additional $1,000.00.

When you find yourself in a financial pit, with bills piling up, it’s easy to forget that you still have legal rights. Creditor harassment intrudes on your personal life, your family’s business, and can ruin your personal reputation. You shouldn’t have to stand idly by as collectors repeatedly insist on taking money that you just don’t have to give.

If you’ve found yourself under constant harassment from creditors, you need to have a skilled attorney on your side that understands that laws surrounding bankruptcy and creditor harassment; you deserve to have someone willing to do whatever it takes to protect your legal rights during a very vulnerable period in life. To learn more about stopping creditor harassment, call me, Michael E. Bryant, today at 419-243-3922 to schedule your free case evaluation. I am committed to helping good people going through difficult times throughout Toledo and Northwest Ohio. How can I help you?

Call Toledo, OH lawyer Michael E. Bryant today for all of your legal needs. Find Michael E. Bryant online at, visit our law office in Toledo, OH on the second floor of 1119 Adams St. or call us at (419) 243-3922.


A Toledo Attorney Responds to Common Bankruptcy Myths

If you are feeling the pressure of excessive debts that you keep falling behind on and creditors keep calling you for missed payments, you may be questioning whether filing for Bankruptcy is a viable option for your situation. The news is filled with headlines of major corporations filing for bankruptcy or celebrities that are broke and selling off their assets for extra money. But, what exactly does bankruptcy look like for everyday people who get behind on their bills? Here’re are the facts on five common myths about bankruptcy that may help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you.

Toledo Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy permanently ruins your credit. If you have to consider filing for bankruptcy, you may be concerned that your credit will be destroyed forever. But, this is not necessarily the case. One part of the bankruptcy process requires you to undergo credit counseling. These programs can teach you valuable ways to prevent unmanageable debt in the future, and to establish a realistic budget and lifestyle that will help you stay in control of your finances. Within a few months of filing bankruptcy, you may also have the opportunity to open a secured credit card with a minimal spending limit. This can help you rebuild your credit score, as long as you make regular, on-time payments every month. After a few months, you may qualify for a regular credit card again. The process isn’t immediate, but your credit score won’t necessarily be doomed forever.

Filing for bankruptcy means you’re financially irresponsible. In most cases, there is an aspect of financial abuse that contributes to excessive debt. However, life sometimes throws us unexpected curveballs that wipe us out financially. Serious injuries or illness with ongoing medical bills, long-term job loss, and divorce can demand every penny you have, leaving you little to no money left over to pay for utilities, mortgage payments, or car loans. Outrageous school loans with high monthly payments don’t take into consideration your living expenses, and threaten your credit. In some cases, those who file for bankruptcy make every attempt to stay in control of their debts, and just simply cannot find an escape from the burden that comes with it.

Filing for bankruptcy erases all of your past debts. When you file bankruptcy, nearly all of your debts can be canceled. These debts can include credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, car loans, utilities, medical bills, and other similar types of debts. However, there are a few specific cases in which some debts cannot be canceled, even with a bankruptcy filing. Examples would include: college loan debt, domestic support obligations (spousal support and child support), some tax debts, and any restitution owed due to a crime. Those debts would still need to be paid off after your bankruptcy was completed.

Bankruptcy fixes all of your financial woes. Please keep this in mind. Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy solution to avoid paying your bills. When you declare bankruptcy, you could lose your home and many of your possessions. Before filing bankruptcy, it’s best to see if your creditors would be willing to work with you and settle your debts another way. But, if you do choose bankruptcy, then it’s important to change your lifestyle and spending habits to prevent mounting debt in the future. This may mean living a simple, frugal lifestyle for awhile as you work to reestablish your credit and create a budget that will work for you. There are restrictions to how frequently you may file bankruptcy, so it’s important to do everything you can to avoid excessive debt after your bankruptcy is completed.

You must have a minimum amount of debt before you can file for bankruptcy. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a minimum amount of debt that one must owe before they would qualify for bankruptcy relief. Your debt amounts can vary, based on your complete financial needs, present income, and the extent of your debts. However, if you are able to pay more than the minimum amount owed on your debts, are not behind on any of your payments, or have a plan in place to take control of your finances, filing for bankruptcy might not be the best option for you. Talking to an experienced bankruptcy attorney and/or a credit counselor can help you determine if this is the best path to explore.

Contact Michael E. Bryant’s Toledo, OH law office today to get the justice you deserve. Find Michael E. Bryant online at, visit our law office in Toledo, OH on the second floor of 1119 Adams St. or call us at (419) 243-3922.

Common Defense Strategies For Your Toledo Criminal Case

If you’ve been charged with a crime, it is the responsibility of your accuser to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt. In some cases, the evidence against you may be overwhelming, yet in other situations, there may be little or no evidence at all actually tying you to the crime you’ve been accused of. Either way, you are placed with the burden of also establishing your innocence, or an explanation for your guilt. In the end, establishing a strong defense is your key obtaining the best possible outcome for your case.

Two Hands In Handcuffs

If your alleged crime lands you in court, you will be given the opportunity to provide reasons (known as defenses) for your innocence or lack of guilt. If you actually did commit the crime in question, these reasons could help you explain exactly why you did it, and why the court should offer leniency for your situation. Your attorney will go through the details of your case and decide what your best defense strategy should be. You may be familiar with some of the most common defenses in criminal law, while others may seem a little more foreign.

10 Common Defense Strategies for Your Criminal Law Case

Insanity: You were not in a mentally fit condition to understand the illegal nature of your actions, or the resulting consequences that would follow. Did you suffer from mental or developmental health concerns that would fit this defense?

Double Jeopardy: The U.S. Constitution guarantees that you cannot be tried for the same crime twice. If you were charged with a crime, but then found not guilty, then your accusers may not attempt to charge you a second time for same incident.

Statute of Limitations: Many crimes have a limited timeframe where a personal can be charged after-the-fact. Most of these crimes are considered misdemeanor offenses. Each statute of limitations will vary depending on the state you live in, the alleged crime in question, and the length of time since the crime allegedly occurred.

Self-Defense: You may have committed the alleged criminal act, but only as a means of protection. Did you feel like you had no other choice but to commit the act to avoid harm? This form of defense is most commonly used for individuals charged with violent crimes.

Entrapment: It is against the law for government or law officials (or their agents) to coerce you into committing a criminal act, only to turn around and arrest you after the fact. Did you commit an act that you normally wouldn’t have committed without the lure of law enforcement? This defense can be a difficult one to prove however, because your attorney must be able to establish that you wouldn’t have committed the crime otherwise.

Alibi: This is one of the best defenses your attorney can use to establish your innocence during a crime. An alibi will use eyewitness testimony and/or concrete evidence as to your whereabouts during the exact time of the crime. If you were in another location at the same time, you were not the guilty party.

Duress: Similar to a self-defense argument, the Duress Defense may be used if you committed the crime out of fear or compulsion. Were you threatened and forced to commit the crime in question? For this defense to typically prove successful though, the threats must be worse than the actual crime itself, and the consequences of that those threats must be immediate.

Necessity: Along similar lines of Duress and Self-defense, the Necessity Defense can be used to establish that you only committed the alleged crime because you really had no other choice. You only committed the crime to avoid a greater evil. However, there are certain criteria that must be met in order to justify this type of defense.

Accident/Mistake: Claiming ignorance of the law doesn’t always work in your favor, but there are some cases where you actually committed a crime truly by mistake. Did you serve alcohol to an underage person who provided you with a fake ID? There may be legitimate reasons why you accidently committed a crime, and therefore should not suffer the weight of those consequences.

Infancy: Like the name implies, age really does matter when it comes to a defense. Were you too young to know any better? Maybe you were just young kid who made a dumb choice and should be given a second chance.

If you’ve been charged with a crime here in Northwest Ohio, it’s important to have a skilled Criminal lawyer represent you who will be able to find the best defense for your case. For a free initial case evaluation, don’t hesitate to contact my office and learn what your legal options may be.

Contact Michael E. Bryant’s Toledo, OH law office today to get the justice you deserve. Find Michael E. Bryant online at, visit our law office in Toledo, OH on the second floor of 1119 Adams St. or call us at (419) 243-3922.

Mental Health and Its Impact on Parental Rights After Divorce

Nobody wants to deal with the tremendous stress of divorce. It’s usually a last resort that couples feel is absolutely necessary in order to salvage their personal well being. Divorce marks the end of a marriage and the start of single life, along with the many changes and challenges that come with it. But, this process is made all the more difficult when one or both parents suffer from mental health concerns.

Relationship Problems

In the U.S. there are approximately 42.5 million adults affected by a variety of mental health concerns. Depression, bipolar disorder, addiction and substance abuse, and anxiety disorder are just a few of the disorders that can wreak havoc on marriages, tearing them slowly apart. Caring for someone with such mental health concerns takes a toll on the relational, financial, and emotional bonds of a relationship. In Ohio, couples must state their grounds for divorce, but insanity, serious mental illness and drug abuse do not necessarily qualify as valid reasons. Habitual drunkenness is one exception in the process.

So, just how does a parent’s mental health affect the outcome of child custody in Ohio?

When allocating parental rights, it’s always the court’s desire to create an environment that protects the children’s best interests. So of course, a parent’s mental health will be considered throughout this process. The important thing is to make sure that the court does not unfairly restrict or take away your parental rights if you’re suffering from mental illness. Your rights as a parent should never automatically be disqualified simply because you are forced to live with a mental health illness.

  • Do you follow your treatment plans? Do you take your medications as prescribed; do you attend rehabilitation or therapy as recommended by your physicians? This is a sign that you have your mental health under control and managed appropriately.
  • Are you able to maintain a job, manage a home, pay your bills on time, and complete other daily activities while on your medications? These are signs that you may also be able to provide the appropriate and necessary care and attention that your children need.

Depending on the severity of your mental illness, the court may try to put some custody restrictions in place for your child’s safety. You may have specific visitation rights that include no alcohol while you’re with your children (if you suffer from addiction), visitation contingent upon completion of therapy, or court ordered supervision during visitations. In some situations, the courts may choose to sever your parental rights because of the extent of your mental health. But as a parent, it’s important that any restrictions put in place are fair and protect your legal rights along the way.

Serving Toledo families through some of their most devastating times, Michael E. Bryant understands the sensitive nature of divorce and the complicated matters that affect the outcomes of such decisions. He is dedicated to protecting your legal rights and ensuring that your children are left safe and enjoying the best of both of their parents whenever possible. To learn more about protecting your parental rights during divorce, fill out the contact form online today or call 419-243-3922 to schedule a free initial consultation.

The Leading Causes of Bankruptcy for Ohio Residents

Are you falling behind on your monthly bills and not sure what your best options are? You’ve probably seen those commercials on tv talking about bankruptcy solutions and wondered if it is the right answer to your financial woes. Is there a way to quickly resolve your debt problems so you can start over? Is your debt situation enough that you should file bankruptcy?

a woman with unpaid bills has many debts. unemployment and perso

Check out this list of the leading causes of Bankruptcy in the United States and take a personal audit of your financial situation. Do you find many of these factors present in your life? If so, you should consider speaking with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to learn what your legal options are.

Leading Causes of  Bankruptcy in the U.S.

  • Medical Expenses- Medical expenses are the number one contributing factor leading to Bankruptcy across Ohio and the rest of the United States. Statistics show that anywhere from 40%-65% of all bankruptcies filed are due primarily to overwhelming medical expenses. Interestingly though, most of these individuals also report having medical insurance coverage.
  • Divorce- Going through a divorce is a rather costly event in individuals’ lives. Legal fees, child support, and spousal support payments, combined with the burden of paying bills on only one income, are another leading cause for bankruptcies throughout Ohio.  Many find that they simply can’t keep up with the financial demands that result from a divorce, and bankruptcy is the best option.
  • Uncontrolled Spending- Credit cards, late mortgage payments, high car payments, and poor budgeting lead people to spend more money than they have available to pay for the things they truly need. In all, American households on average owe more than $15,000 in credit card debt and more than $150,000 in mortgage loans. These figures alone require hefty payments each month for individuals struggling to pay their bills each month.
  • Job loss- Whether because of termination, lay off, or resignation, unemployment can have a devastating effect on individual and family finances. Those who aren’t working often must pay out-of-pocket for insurance or medical bills, fall behind on utilities, and rely on credit cards for daily living expenses.
  • Lack of Financial Planning- Individuals who don’t adequately plan for budgeting spending, saving, retirement, or emergency funds often find themselves in the difficult position of considering bankruptcy when their debts become more than they can manage.
  • Student Loans- Although overwhelming student loans do not qualify for debt elimination during bankruptcy, they may be able to be consolidated with lower payments that are more manageable.
  • Unexpected Disasters- Unexpected events like house fires, floods, or tornados -all of which are common in northwest Ohio- can wipe out families financially if they don’t have the proper homeowners or property insurance.

Are you considering filing for Bankrupty here in Northwest Ohio? Conveniently located in downtown Toledo, Michael E. Bryant has the wisdom and experience needed to thoroughly and successfully guide you through the process from start to finish. One simple phone call to his law office today at 419-243-3922 could help you gain the new financial freedom you need.

Children’s Legal Rights During Divorce in Ohio

Divorce is a necessary, yet often messy and difficult reality for millions of American’s across the nation. And while parents tend to find themselves battling it out over asset (and debt) division, financial support, and child custody, too often the children are the ones caught in the middle of it all.  As parents, you love your children and want what’s best for them. One way to ensure that you children emerge from a difficult divorce in a healthy way is to know and protect their rights. The following is a short list of children’s rights to consider as a parent going through divorce:

Child looks at the swearing parents

Your children’s rights during divorce include:

  • Parents shall deny children reasonable use of the telephone to place and receive calls with the other parent and relatives.
  • Neither parent shall speak or write derogatory remarks about the other parent to the child, or engage in abusive, coarse or foul language, which can be overheard by the child whether or not the language involves the other parent.
  • Parents should not allow children to overhear arguments, negotiations or other substantive discussions about legal or business dealings concerning the divorce.
  • Parents should not try to pressure or influence their children’s personal opinions concerning legal proceedings between the parents.
  • Each parent will permit the child to display photographs of the other parent or both parents in the child’s room.
  • Neither parent shall communicate moral judgments about the other parent to the child concerning the other parent’s choice of values, lifestyle, choice of friends, successes or failures in life (career, financial, relational) or residential choice.
  • The parents will acknowledge that the child has two homes, although the child may spend more time at one home than the other.
  • The parents shall cooperate to the greatest extent possible in shared parenting roles.
  • Neither parent will interrogate the child about the other parent nor will either parent discourage comments by the child about the other parent.
  • Neither parent will interfere with communications to the child from the other parent.
  • Neither parent will refuse to acknowledge that the child can have or should have good experiences with the other parent.
  • Neither parent will use the child as a “middleman” to communicate with the other parent on inappropriate topics.
  • Neither parent will encourage or instruct children to be disobedient to the other parent, stepparents, or relatives, or reward them to do so.
  • Parents should not discuss child support issues with their children.
  • Neither parent will manipulate any facts that the child originally knows to be different.
  • Neither parent will permit the child to be transported by a person who is intoxicated due to consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Children have the right to carry meaningful objects belonging to them -such as toys, books, gifts, or items- between both homes, and parents shall not interfere with this.

The goal is to keep in mind that your children can easily find themselves feeling lost or caught in the middle of their parents’ divorce. As a parent, your job is to protect them and make them feel loved and treasured. To the greatest extent possible, your children deserve to feel the love and security of both parents, regardless of how you two feel about each other. Consider your children’s feelings, and do everything possible to provide the stability and love they need during such a chaotic time.

Michael E. Bryant, Attorney at Law, has been helping families throughout Northwest Ohio navigate through the difficult waters of divorce. If you’re considering a divorce and would like the expert counsel of one of Toledo’s leading divorce attorneys, don’t hesitate to contact the law offices of Michael. E. Bryant today at 419-243-3922 and schedule a free initial consultation.