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Cleveland Family Law Blog

Divorce: Litigation v. Collaborative Process

One of the toughest, and saddest, things to accept in any failed marriage is the culpability of both parties in the breakup of the family.

Our firm represents both men and women, Plaintiffs and Defendants, those who have cheated and those who have been cheated on. We represent people accused of alcoholism and drug abuse, and we represent the accusers. Always, always, there are two people involved who are hurt badly, no matter what side they are on. Sometimes, the need for revenge is so strong, it makes people do remarkable damage to each other, to themselves, to their children.

Brave New Hope

I have a blended family, my kids belong to two blended families, I know friends and acquaintances that have blended families, and I work with blended families each day.

It's a nice pretty-sounding word: BLENDED. All mushed up together, like a milkshake. Or maybe, a business-like blended, as in "integrated" or "merged." Or swirled beautifully, all united in movement.

IT Security in Family Law Matters

A contested family law matter brings about certain IT security risks that may not seem obvious now, but may present grave problems in the future if they are overlooked. As family law attorneys, our job is to alert our clients - and potential clients - to these risks. Consider the following suggestions: 

What to Expect at the Final Dissolution Hearing

The dissolution hearing is the final step in the process of dissolving a marriage. Agreements have been reached through counsel or mediation, and the hearing simply puts the agreements into place, making them legally enforceable.  Prior to the hearing, you will have reviewed the Judgment Entry. This is the document that the Court will sign incorporating your agreements and adopting them as a court order. If there are children, both spouses will be required to attend a Parenting Seminar, and it must be attended prior to the hearing. If you receive a certificate of attendance, you will want to provide that to your attorney prior to the hearing so she can file it with the Court.

Unresolved Grief

As the person who accepts most of our potential client initial calls, I can assure you that I have heard more sad stories than you could ever imagine.

I've had unwed fathers call about girlfriends who are scheduled for an abortion, and the fathers wonder if they have any rights to the unborn child.

When Parenting Comes Lately

Many divorcing parents are surprised to learn that their spouse, when faced with daily separation from the children, seems to suddenly take interest in mundane parenting tasks like filling prescriptions and attending regular dental checkups. Take, for example, this recent conversation between parents:

Joe: Are you changing the children's dentist? Why didn't you discuss this with me? You are making unilateral decisions without me!

Cindy: Joe, I told you about the appointment so that you could be there if you want to be. I'm not doing anything without you.

Fresh Starts

Sometimes, we all find ourselves ready to try something new, to do something different. After years of shopping at the same store, you might decide to try a new place. After months of the same haircut, you go a little crazy and get a different style completely. After days of silence at home, you break it with an olive branch in the form of wine, cheese and crackers for your husband, along with some quiet talk laced generously with forgiveness and apology.

Sometimes, our changes are wonderful and work out well! We love the new store, the new haircut, the mended relationship. Other times, not so much.

When Forgiveness Seems Impossible

So ... what is forgiveness? What is it not? What does it look like and feel like? How can you tell when forgiveness has happened?

I've experienced sublime forgiveness in my own life for my transgressions, but I've gone without it when the other party just could not forgive me. I know women who have forgiven the men who abused them, and those women are healthier and happier because of that forgiveness. I also know of couples who cannot seem to forgive each other for the damage both have inflicted on their marriages, and they are locked in battles over money or time or children. Their need to hurt each other in a revengeful manner results in destruction and even more pain.

Can Forgiveness Happen Without an Apology?

All of us have been hurt by someone at some time, intentionally or accidentally, and most likely, that someone apologized to us. But what if an apology never comes? What if you were so hurt - physically, mentally or emotionally - and you never hear, "I am sorry"? Then what? How is that to be handled? Is it best to hold on to the negative emotions and let them fester through more negativity and resentment?

I think not.

The Resiliency of the Human Spirit

Over the past 26 years of practicing family law, I have witnessed many clients walk into my office looking torn, broken and in complete despair. The pain in a person's heart and soul seems to ooze out of their pores. The energy of their pain is palpable. It is not easy to be witness to so much pain and sadness. The human spirit, however, is resilient. And as time goes by, as the process moves forward and IF the client is doing what he/she needs to do to take care of himself or herself, the wounds start to heal. The torn and broken pieces start to be put back together, and despair is replaced with HOPE! While this may be a s-l-o-w process - it can and does happen. The transformation is incredible to witness. The client, once broken and despairing, months later appears happy and healthy. The difference in appearance is truly astonishing. I went through this sort of metamorphosis myself, never thinking I would recover and be happy again - not thinking it was possible. However, I know it is! Through personal and professional experiences, I have experienced it and seen it, over and over. There is always hope that tomorrow may be better. The pain will subside. A new normal will emerge. There is ALWAYS hope!

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