LEGAL ALERT: Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Law Blocking Trans People from Amending Their Birth Certificates

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Equal Protection Clause Allows Discrimated Ohio Transgender Residents To Correct Gender On Birth Certificate

transgender birth certificates discriminationOn December 16th, 2020, federal Judge Michael Watson of the Southern District of Ohio’s Eastern Division found unconstitutional the Ohio Department of Health’s policy which prohibited transgender residents from correcting their gender on their birth certificate. Ohio allowed for gender changes on birth certificates to be made until 2016. Judge Watson stated “the policy resembles the sort of discrimination- based legislation struck down under the equal protection clause in Romer v. Evans  as nothing more than a policy ‘born of animosity toward the class of person affected’ that has ‘no rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.’ ”

Judge Watson ruled in favor for four transgendered Ohioans to legally correct their birth certificate gender marker and overturn the state’s decision to deny the correction of the gender mark on their birth certificates . The case, known as Ray v. Himes  and more recently, Ray v. McCloud , was filed in March 2018 by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, and law firm Thompson Hine LLP on behalf of four transgender  plaintiffs: Stacie Ray, Basil Argento, Ashley Breda and … Read More... “LEGAL ALERT: Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Law Blocking Trans People from Amending Their Birth Certificates”

LEGAL ALERT: Need Money? The CARES Act Changed the Rules about 401(k) Withdrawals through Year End

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New CARES Act Provision Allows Early Retirement Money Withdrawl From Retirement Account Without Penality During COVID-19 Pandemic

covid-19 money retirement cares act

Are you aware that the CARES Act  made significant changes to the rules about withdrawing money from accounts? If COVID-19 and the pandemic has created an extreme hardship on your financial situation, you MAY have an option that you have not yet considered – but only through the end of 2020. Not many Americans have taken advantage of this new provision thus far.

As you may know, the general rule was that, you couldn’t take money out of your retirement accounts before you were 59 1/2 without incurring an “early withdrawal” charge or penalty. That 10% tax penalty was included by the IRS to discourage folks from taking money  out of their retirements early.

CARES Act Changes:

  1. If you meet the criteria, you may withdraw up to $100,000 per person from certain qualifying retirement  accounts without owing the 10% penalty. NOTE: This does NOT waive income tax owed on the withdrawal amount.
  2. You may ONLY withdraw the amount needed to overcome a specific group of defined hardships such as defending a foreclosure action, home repairs from a disaster, or medical
Read More... “LEGAL ALERT: Need Money? The CARES Act Changed the Rules about 401(k) Withdrawals through Year End”

The Ohio Supreme Court Just Clarified the Standard for Terminating a Share Parenting Plan [LEGAL ALERT]

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LEGAL ALERT: Who gets Legal Custody of a Minor Child After Termination of a Shared Parenting Plan? The Ohio Supreme Court Intervenes

ohio supreme court shared parenting planLast week, the Ohio Supreme Court was asked to resolve a conflict between Ohio appeals courts. The difficult question that the Ohio Supreme Court was faced with in Bruns v. Green was whether there must be a change in circumstance in order to designate a parent the residential parent and legal custodian of a minor child after terminating a share-parenting decree.

The Ohio Supreme Court ultimately concluded that a trial court only needs to consider the best interest of the child when deciding whether to terminate a shared parenting plan and which parent to designate as the residential and custodial parent of a minor child.

Facts of Bruns v. Green – Ohio Supreme Court

Marcus Green (“Father”) and Kayleigh Bruns (“Mother”) are the biological parents of one minor child born in 2012. When the parties ended their relationship in 2014, they entered into an Agreed Shared Parenting Plan pursuant to O.R.C. 3109.04, in which the parties agreed to joint residential and legal custody and equal parenting time. The trial court approved the Shared Parenting Plan  and incorporated … Read More... “The Ohio Supreme Court Just Clarified the Standard for Terminating a Share Parenting Plan [LEGAL ALERT]”

LEGAL ALERT: Ohio Domestic Relations Courts will Reopen Monday, May 4, 2020, in Southwestern Ohio but with Restrictions?

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Waiting To Proceed With Divorce? Domestic Relations Court Reopens Across Miami Valley On May 4, 2020

domestic relations court facial coveringDespite the extension of the shelter-in-place Order now until May 29th issued by Governor DeWine on Thursday, most of the local Miami Valley Domestic Relations Court have decided to reopen on Monday morning, May 4, 2020.  Most have been closed (or with limited staffing) hearing only emergency matters such as domestic violence cases.

Other “routine” scheduled matters, including pretrials, hearings and trials have been postponed (much to the frustration of the litigants and their lawyers). Many of these Courts have essentially “been dark” for over a month! Of course, this Court action was necessitated by the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

All Courts going forward seem to be incorporating the CDC guidelines to protect the health of the public and Court staff.

To Face Mask Or Not Face Mask – A List of Local Miami Valley Domestic Relations Court Facial Covering Rules

– Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court  is not specifically requiring folks to wear a facial covering to enter the building. Click here to read their Order filed on May 1, 2020.

– Greene County Domestic Relations Court is requiring individuals … Read More... “LEGAL ALERT: Ohio Domestic Relations Courts will Reopen Monday, May 4, 2020, in Southwestern Ohio but with Restrictions?”

LEGAL ALERT: Can your failure to pay child support impact your right to withhold consent for the adoption of your child in Ohio?

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Ohio Courts Rule On Adoption Case Involving Consent And Child Support

child support adoption petition justifiable causeOn February 26, 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court came out with the decision, In re Adoption of A.C.B., Slip Opinion No. 2020-Ohio-629, where the Court held a non-custodial parent’s consent to the adoption of his child is not required when the parent failed, without justifiable cause, to comply with the child support obligations of a judicial decree.

What happened in the case with child support?

A.C.B.’s parents’ settlement (separation) agreement awarded sole custody to A.C.B.’s mother and ordered the father to pay $85 per week in child support. After leaving the United States to return to Kosovo, the father made sporadic child-support payments that diminished over time.

Two years later, A.C.B.’s mother reached out to the father, asking for his consent for her new husband (“stepfather”) to adopt A.C.B., but the father refused. A couple years later, the stepfather filed a petition to adopt A.C.B., arguing that the father’s consent was not required because the father failed to provide support as required by the judicial decree for the year prior to adoption petition.

The probate court held a hearing where it determined that the father … Read More... “LEGAL ALERT: Can your failure to pay child support impact your right to withhold consent for the adoption of your child in Ohio?”

LEGAL ALERT: The New SECURE Act – A Boon for Seniors But Not so Much for Their Heirs

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Is The New Secure Act Too Good To Be True? Eligible Designated Beneficiaries Not Affected By New Law Signing

secure act IRA beneficiaries 401K plansThe president recently signed into law the Secure Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, and which is an acronym for Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act.  As the name suggests, the focus of the secure act is on retirement planning, but has several provisions.  These provisions include raising the age for required minimum distributions of IRAs and 401Ks from 70 ½  to 72; allowing working individuals to make contributions to IRAs after age 70 ½; allowing small businesses to join group 401K plans; allowing 401K plans to include annuities; and allowing 529 plans to repay up to $10,000 in student loans.

The biggest positive changes are that you now no longer have to start taking minimum distribution from an IRA at age 70 ½, but can wait until you reach age 72 and also that if you are still working, you can continue to make contributions into an IRA after age 70 ½.  These changes are meant to address the reality that the general population is living longer than ever before and working into … Read More... “LEGAL ALERT: The New SECURE Act – A Boon for Seniors But Not so Much for Their Heirs”