Taylor Thatcher Law
for individuals with
limited financial resources
Civil Protection Orders
Many Ohioans who are facing significant legal problems do not have access to affordable legal services.In the legal profession, the Latin term “pro bono publico” translates to ”for the good of the people.” It refers to legal services performed free of charge (pro bono) or at significantly reduced fees (low bono) for the public good.Taylor Thatcher Law, LLC serves the needs of lower income individuals and those with limited or modest financial resources.Our clients are hard working people who earn too much to qualify for free legal services but too little to pay attorney fees at market rates.In addition to providing quality legal counsel at reduced cost, we donate pro bono hours to help clients resolve family disputes and navigate a complex legal system.
About Marquita R. Thatcher, Esq.
Principal Attorney and Counselor at Law, Marquita R. Thatcher was admitted to the practice of law in 2002 after earning her Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.After many years in law firm and corporate work environments, Marquita achieved financial independence (work optional) and retired in her 40’s from traditional "work for pay" employment.For her next phase of life, Marquita desired to make a tangible difference in the lives of others.Her private practice is dedicated to serving clients with limited financial resources who have traditionally been underserved by the Akron legal community.In addition to representing clients, Marquita conducts Divorce Clinics at Legal Aid for those interested in representing themselves (pro se) in court proceedings.When she is not counseling on legal matters, Marquita educates others on how to become financially independent.Once achieved, financial independence allows one’s employment decisions to be based on deep personal interests without the pressure to earn.
J.D., University of Cincinnati College of Law
Law ReviewUniversity of Cincinnati
M.A., Personnel & Industrial Relations
B.A., Labor & Employment Relations
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PO Box 443
Tallmadge, OH 44278
Information on this site, and information transmitted via email message sent to the firm, as well as its response, are not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created until a written agreement is signed by both parties. Information on this site is limited to Ohio and is intended to provide general information not specific legal advice. Consult with a Family Law attorney for information relevant to the specifics of your case.
FREQUENTLY-ASKED CHILD SUPPORT QUESTIONSUnpaid Child Support
Q. My ex pays child support sporadically and is in major arrears. But if he goes to jail he will likely lose his contract job. Are there other ways the court could get him to pay?A. There are ways to encourage timely payments and recoup monies owed short of jail for failure to pay child support in violation of a court order. Wages can be garnished, tax refunds can be intercepted, bank accounts can be levied (seized), credit agencies can be notified, passports can be denied, travel out of the country can be prevented, liens can be placed on property, driver's and recreational licenses can be suspended, professional licenses can be suspended and interest can be added to arrearages.A Family Law attorney can assist you with enforcing your child support order including filing a motion for contempt of court if appropriate.Intentional Underemployment
Q. My child’s father is a highly-skilled worker who bounces from one unskilled, low-wage, “fun job” to another. Why should his support obligation be lower when he’s choosing not to grow up?A. If a parent is intentionally choosing to work in jobs earning less than he or she is capable of earning, the court can choose to “impute” income which means setting support based on what the parent is capable of earning rather than their actual earnings. The party claiming the other parent is voluntarily underemployed must prove so.Parenting Time Overnights Credit
Q. My previous parenting time schedule included one overnight per week. By verbal agreement, we changed the schedule to two overnights per week. If formalized, would the new arrangement reduce my child support payments?A. A 10% parenting time credit is available if the court issues a parenting time order that equals or exceeds ninety (90) overnights per year. The credit is intended to help offset some of the duplicated expenses the parent paying support has when the amount of time the child spends with them substantially increases their expenses.Withholding Child Support
Q. Can I stop paying child support if my ex won't allow me to see my child?A. If you stop paying child support you can be held in contempt of court. A Family Law attorney can assist you with enforcing your visitation rights and ensuring your rights are not longer interfered with.Withholding Parenting Time
Q. If my ex doesn't pay child support can I withhold his parenting time?A. Child Support and Visitation are separate issues. If you withhold parenting time, you can be held in contempt of court. A Family Law attorney can advise you on how to recover back child support and help ensure future payments are made.Child Support Formula
Q. How is court-ordered child support calculated in Ohio?A. Ohio uses an “income shares” formula which determines a total child support obligation for both parents based on their incomes and calculates the obligation of the non-custodial parent based on his/her percentage of the total of the combined income.For example, if the custodial parent earns $20,000 per year and the non-custodial parent earns $30,000 per year, the non-custodial parent is responsible for 60% ($30,000/$50,000) of annual childrearing expenses.In a shared parenting situation, the parent with the higher income pays the parent with the lower income.Work-related child care expenses, health care expenses, the number of children and the number of other children each parent has a duty to support are also entered into the statutory (law passed by Ohio legislature) formula to determine the guideline child support.Cash medical support is an amount ordered to cover ordinary medical expenses incurred during a calendar year. Effective March 2019, all support orders include a monthly cash medical support obligation.The court can deviate from the guideline (increase or decrease amount) considering several factors including time spent with the child that either substantially reduces the custodial parent’s expenses for the child or substantially increases the noncustodial parent’s expenses.A Family Law attorney can obtain financial and other information and solicit testimony that convinces the judge to deviate from the guidelines.
FREQUENTLY-ASKED CHILD CUSTODY QUESTIONSShared Parenting
Q. What is Shared Parenting?A. Think of "shared parenting" as joint (residential) custody. In this arrangement, both parents share day-to-day childrearing responsibilities. The child alternates living with each parent pursuant to a schedule although time residing in each home may not necessarily be equal.With sole (residential) custody, the child physically resides with one parent who handles day-to-day childrearing responsibilities and the other parent has parenting time (visitation) rights.Legal Custody
Q. What is Legal Custody?A. Legal Custody refers to making major decisions for the child. This includes health and general well-being, education and religious upbringing and training. Legal Custody can be awarded to both parents (joint legal custody) or to one parent (sole legal custody).Modifying Child Custody Orders
Q. Our child custody order was issued when I worked rotating shifts and weekends. My ex-husband was awarded sole residential custody. I recently got a job working straight days/no weekends and would like to pursue joint residential custody. I doubt my ex-husband would agree to this. Is it possible to modify the original order?A. Generally, courts do not like to change custody orders that have been put in place. This is to prevent parental tug of war, instability for the child and a constant re-litigation of issues already determined by the court. Modification of a prior child custody order requires you to show there has been a material change in circumstances since the initial order was established and the requested modification is in the best interests of the child.A Family Law attorney can assist you in evaluating the factors in your case.
FREQUENTLY-ASKED DEBT DIVISION QUESTIONSDebt Division
Q. The court issued an order dividing up our joint credit card debt between us. He's fallen behind on his payments. One of the bill collectors told me my divorce decree "means nothing" and I am still on the hook for the balance. Is that true?A. Credit card issuers are not bound by your divorce decree as the decree does not cancel your private agreement with the card issuer to be financially responsible for charges made on the card. Because you and your spouse are jointly and severally (individually) liable for the debt, the creditor can demand payment from you even if your former spouse agreed, or was ordered by the court, to pay off the balance.Debt Division
Q. If divorcing spouses are unable to agree on how to divide debt, how does the court decide?A. If the parties fail to reach a settlement, the divorce is scheduled for trial. After evidence, including parties’ testimony, is presented the court makes what is believed to be a just and equitable resolution.Debt could be divided equally, or proportionate to the parties’ income, or assigned to the account owner, or assigned to the spouse who incurred the debt.Car Refinance
Q. I was divorced last year. My ex-wife’s car loan is in my name. She has been making the payments on time, however, I can’t get a loan because her payment increases my debt-to-income ratio. What can I do?A. If your divorce decree ordered her to refinance the loan into her name then she is in contempt of court. If not, you can ask her to obtain a loan in her name.
FREQUENTLY-ASKED FATHER’S RIGHTS QUESTIONSUnmarried Father’s Rights
Q. I have been involved in my son's life since his birth a year ago. I was present at the delivery and signed his birth certificate. My ex-girlfriend stopped me from seeing him after she found out I have a new girlfriend whom she does not like. Can she do this?A. In Ohio, an unmarried father (despite acknowledging paternity by signing the child's birth certificate) has no legal parental rights until he files to establish his parental rights in court. With few exceptions, an unmarried mother is deemed her child's sole residential parent and legal custodian. This allows the mother to determine who can visit with the child, when, and for how long until the court issues an order to the contrary.A Family Law attorney can assist you with establishing paternity through the courts and obtaining parenting time with your son.
FREQUENTLY-ASKED LEGAL SEPARATION QUESTIONSLegal Separation
Q. My wife told me she wanted a divorce, however, after meeting with an attorney she now wants a legal separation. I’m suspicious of her motives.A. With a legal separation the court issues an order stating the spouses will not live together but will remain legally married. A legal separation may be sought for a variety of reasons, including retaining medical benefits, maintaining certain tax advantages, running out the clock on the 10-year requirement for being able to claim spousal Social Security benefits, or because divorcing is against one's religious beliefs.The issues resolved in a legal separation are the same as those in a divorce proceeding (i.e., property division, debt division, spousal support, child custody, child support, parenting time).A legal separation provides some of the benefits of a divorce without some of the drawbacks.
FREQUENTLY-ASKED PROPERTY DIVISION QUESTIONSProperty Division
Q. Will our marital property be divided 50/50?A. Ohio follows the law of “equitable distribution.” Equitable means “fair” not necessarily “equal.” If the parties are unable to agree, the court considers many factors when determining a fair property division. A Family Law attorney can review these factors with you.Vehicle Titles
Q. Both of our cars were purchased during our marriage but are titled in my wife's name. She claims she will get the cars in the divorce because she legally owns them. Is that true?A. Marital property is not awarded based on whose name is on title. The court will determine the equitable (fair) distribution of the vehicles and may take several factors into consideration such as the source of funds used for down payments and monthly payments, vehicle value, value and division of other marital property, loan borrower and loan balances, affordability of monthly payments, vehicle’s primary driver and each spouse’s transportation needs.Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
Q. What is a QDRO and why do I need one?A. A QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is a legal document that outlines how a qualified retirement account (e.g., pension, 401(k)) is to be split between divorcing spouses. Once the funds are separated, the funds are withdrawn without penalty and deposited into the non-employee spouse's retirement account (typically an IRA).Due to its actuarial nature, QDROs are typically prepared by a QDRO specialist who also assists in ascertaining the present and future value of the benefit.Spousal Social Security Benefit
Q. I have been married 35 years and worked minimally outside the home. Will I receive a portion of my husband's social security benefit?A. If you have been married 10 years or more, then you are entitled to one-half of your spouse's Social Security benefit, or your own benefit if you earned enough credits to receive a benefit, whichever is greater.The spousal benefit you receive does not lower your husband's benefit. This process is handled by the Social Security Administration and does not need to be negotiated during the divorce.Be sure to review the remarriage rules if you’re considering remarrying after divorce.
FREQUENTLY-ASKED SPOUSAL SUPPORT QUESTIONSTemporary Spousal Support
Q. Can my spouse refuse to provide me financial support during the divorce process?A. When your Complaint for Divorce is filed, your attorney can file a motion for temporary support which is spousal maintenance paid by one spouse to the other during the divorce process. The court weighs many factors when determining whether temporary support should be awarded and the amount.The court may award an amount that maintains the status quo. If income is limited the court may award an amount necessary to meet basic living expenses as the paying spouse has to support two households during the divorce process.