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Success Stories

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The attorneys at the law firm of Dougherty, Hanneman & Snedaker, LLC (“DHS”) have produced successful outcomes for many family law clients. Following are several examples of success stories that reflect various family law issues.

Child Custody Win – Parent Alienation Stymied

The mother and father agreed to a shared parenting plan that provided for substantially equal time with the children for each parent. Attorney Snedaker reviewed the shared parenting plan and found it to be credible.

The mother suffered from being bipolar and was an alcoholic. Within one year of the agreement for shared parenting, the mother violated the shared parenting terms on numerous occasions by taking the children when they were supposed to be with father. The mother also said many inappropriate things to the children about their father. The children were suffering parental alienation, which affected their family, social and academic activities.

Attorney Snedaker represented the father at a trial. After the trial, the mother's time with the children was limited to three times per month for two hours, all supervised by a third party. Within six months, the children are thriving in school and otherwise.

False Allegations of Abuse – A Custody Victory


The father and the mother had joint custody of their child. The father alleged that the mother had sexually abused the minor children. The county children services agency performed a cursory investigation of the allegations. The county prosecutor then filed an abuse case against the mother and temporarily suspended the mother’s visitation rights with the minor children.

The mother hired Attorney Hanneman who performed extensive background discovery on the father and the child abuse allegations. Attorney Hanneman was able to persuade the county prosecutor and the child’s Guardian ad Litem that the sexual abuse allegations against the mother were false. The county prosecutor then dismissed the abuse case against the mother and the mother’s custody and visitation rights were fully restored.

The father then began withholding the children from visiting with the mother. Attorney Hanneman filed several motions in domestic court requesting that the court find the father in contempt of court and grant the mother custody of the minor children. Attorney Hanneman persuaded the court to find the father in contempt. Attorney Hanneman then negotiated a settlement with the father whereby the mother’s custody rights were fully restored and the mother received additional parenting time with the minor children.

Sophisticated Litigation – A Supreme Court of Ohio Victory


The father and the mother had joint custody of their child. The trial court terminated the father's custody rights. The trial court ruled that the mother was not required to prove that any change of circumstances involving the child had occurred. The court of appeals unanimously agreed. The father hired Attorney Dougherty to represent him in the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Attorney Dougherty persuaded the Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the court of appeals. The Supreme Court ruled that, before a parent's custody rights could be terminated, the trial court must find that a change in circumstances involving the child had occurred. The Supreme Court stated that this new rule protected children by promoting stability and discouraging unnecessary litigation.

Disparity in Incomes – Spousal Support Dramatically Increased


This case reflects a thirty year marriage, with great disparity in spousal incomes. The wife earns $30,000.00 as an instructor and artistic director of a studio. The husband earns $260,000.00 plus bonuses averaging $140,000.00 annually as a business executive. The husband offered and paid his wife temporary support of $1,125.00 week.

The wife was willing to accept $1,500.00 week but the husband said no. When Attorney Snedaker initially presented the case to the court, it issued an initial support order change to $2,000.00 week. In a later trial court appearance, Attorney Snedaker negotiated a change to the final amount of support for the wife at $9,300.00 per month, until further order of the court.

Child Support – The Underemployed Spouse


The husband and wife divorced over ten years ago. At the time of the divorce, the wife’s income was almost equal to husband’s income, so the husband’s child support was set at only $150 per month. Over the last ten years, the husband and wife’s incomes remained substantially similar so child support remained at $150 per month. The wife then voluntarily quit her job making over $100,000 per year to start her own business and filed for an increase in child support. The child support enforcement agency increased the husband’s child support payment to over $1,200 per month.

The husband hired Attorney Hanneman who appealed the child support enforcement agency’s child support determination to the court. Attorney Hanneman hired an expert vocational evaluator to determine the wife’s earning ability. Attorney Hanneman persuaded the court to treat the wife as though she had the ability to earn a $67,500 per year income. The court overturned the child support enforcement agency’s determination that the husband must pay child support in the amount of $1,200 per month and reduced the husband’s child support to $210 per month.

Saving Money – Avoiding Unnecessary Work


The husband and wife went through an expensive divorce trial. The husband appealed. The husband filed an appellate brief that raised seven issues. The wife hired Attorney Dougherty to advise her regarding the appeal.

Attorney Dougherty analyzed the brief filed by the husband. He informed the wife that the husband's arguments were very weak and that the court of appeals would probably reject the arguments. Attorney Dougherty advised the wife that she probably did not need to file a brief in response to the husband's brief. Filing a brief would have cost the wife $5,000.00 to $10,000.00. The court of appeals rejected all of the husband's arguments. The wife won the appeal without paying for an appellate brief.

Child Custody Maintained - Guardian ad Litem's Opposition Rebuffed


The mother, who had custody of her child, moved to another state. The father sought custody claiming he provided a more stable home and that custody to him would keep the child closer to the child's extended family. The mother retained Attorney Snedaker as her counsel.

Attorney Snedaker's position to the Court was that it should deny the father's change in custody motion and for the mother to keep custody. The Guardian Ad Litem, attempting to reflect the best interests of the child, agreed with the father, despite the child's stated preference to remain with the mother. The Court denied the father's change in custody motion and the mother retained custody.

Complicated Assets – Creative Solutions


The wife was married to a professor at a large university. The professor developed new types of seeds that had the potential to grow bigger and better crops. The husband stated that, if he was successful with a certain type of seed, he could be "as rich as Bill Gates." The wife hired Attorney Dougherty to represent her in the case. Attorney Dougherty negotiated an agreement that gave the wife a percentage of any income the husband earned in the future that came from his development of the new seeds.

Unmarried Father Ordered to Pay Child Support - Overturned


An unwed mother claimed that Attorney Snedaker's client is the biological father of her child. She tells the agency that issues the child support order that no one else could be the father. The father disputes his alleged parentage and contacts Attorney Snedaker. But, the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) issues child support based on the mother's representation that our client is the only possible father.

Attorney Snedaker represented the alleged father and pursued a demand for genetic (DNA) testing. The genetic test results exclude our client as the father. Attorney Snedaker then prevailed upon the court to order the mother to repay the alleged father for all child support money that he paid to her as well as the alleged father's attorney fees.

Spousal Support – The Underemployed Spouse


The husband and wife had been married for approximately thirty years. Before the divorce was filed, the husband was a partner in a business and was earning approximately $100,000.00 per year. After the divorce was filed, the husband left the business. The husband started a new business and claimed that he was only earning approximately $15,000.00 per year. Based on his lower income, the husband argued that he should pay no spousal support to the wife.

The wife hired Attorney Dougherty. At the trial, Attorney Dougherty argued that the husband was intentionally underemployed. Attorney Dougherty persuaded the court to treat the husband like the husband was earning approximately $70,000.00 per year. The court ordered the husband to pay spousal support to the wife based on the assumption that the husband could earn approximately $70,000.00 per year.

Short Term Marriage - Separate Property Regained


The wife gave husband $10,000.00 upon their marriage. The marriage was short-lived and no assets were accumulated. Under those circumstances, Attorney Snedaker was able to assert the wife’s claim to the $10,000.00, as her separate property (owned prior to marriage), which is the sum total of all of the wife's assets after her divorce.

Contact Us

Please contact DHS for a confidential consultation with attorney Dougherty or Hanneman or Snedaker. Each is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. They are three of only 115 attorneys in Ohio who have earned this designation as of January 1, 2013. Less than one-half (1/2) of one (1) percent of all family relations attorneys registered in Ohio has achieved this status!

DHS is located in a safe, convenient northwest Columbus suburb with free on-site parking. The building is west of the intersection of Sawmill Road and Bethel Road. (Bethel Road becomes Hayden Road west of the Sawmill Road intersection.) The offices are in the classic redbrick Northwest Law Offices Building:

  • next to Bravo! Cucina Italiana Restaurant,
  • on the north side of Hayden Road, and
  • east of Riverside Drive (State Route 33).

Then turn onto Donnylane Boulevard from Hayden Road. Then turn right into the parking lot behind the building. The main entrance is at the rear of the building.