• Joe McCoy

The COVID-19 shutdown. This phrase triggers so many different emotions in different people—and many people hold conflicting emotions within themselves. Fear of the virus; frustration at perceived overreactions and government overreach; increased concern for elderly or vulnerable loved ones.

It’s commonly accepted that we as a people are as politically divided as we’ve ever been. Our response to the current pandemic has not lessened that divide. But through all the chaos, the turmoil, and upheaval, what can we agree on? Sometimes when things are bleakest, or most frustrating, that condition causes our values to come into focus.


So what do we value? I’m especially interested in our shared values. What do the divisive responses show about what we value as people, generally? And can we find common ground about those values? I see two values that permeate the conflicting emotions sparked by the pandemic:


1. Health; and

2. Work.


People on different sides of the divided response to the pandemic may feel health or work overly threatened by the response to COVID-19. Or perhaps different people associate a different risk level to health or work with COVID-19 and the response. But I’m hopeful that we can all agree that both health and work are important—that these are things we value. So what can we takeaway from COVID-19, the response to COVID-19, and our values of health and work?


Our current situation will pass. Whether it’s through a vaccine, natural passage of time, or simply living with the threat of a new virus, we will not remain on lockdown. But can we meaningfully examine our recognized values, and use this examination and recognition to live a more fulfilling, thoughtful, and enjoyable life in the future?

Many step-parents have filled the role of mom or dad to step-children for years. By proceeding with a step-parent adoption, the law provides legal recognition to a relationship that already exists. But when is a step parent adoption appropriate? This guide provides some pointers.

  • When is a biological parent's consent not required?

Normally, a biological parent must consent to the adoption of his or her child. But there are some exceptions to the consent requirement. Here are two that are commonly used: (1) If a biological parent has failed, without justifiable cause, to have more than a minimal amount of contact / communication with the child for over one year before the adoption petition is filed, that biological parent's consent is not required for the adoption to proceed; (2) If a biological parent has failed, without justifiable cause, to provide for the maintenance and support of the child as required by law or judicial decree during the one year before the petition was filed, the biological parent's consent is not required.


  • What does "without justifiable cause" mean?

In both situations discussed above (when a biological parent's consent is not required), the biological parent's failure must be "without justifiable cause." One of the issues the Judge examines is whether the biological parent was prevented by the custodial parent from visiting with the child, or whether some valid reason exists for the failure to help the child with living expenses, child support, etc. If the Judge is not convinced that the biological parent's failure was without justifiable cause, the Judge will dismiss the adoption petition.


  • What is the timing of a step-parent petitioning to adopt his or her step-child?

In Ohio, a step-parent must have been married to the child's biological parent for at least 6 months, and some counties require marriage for one year before granting an adoption petition. The court must determine that the consent of the other biological parent (other than the one married to the step-parent) is not required. (See discussion regarding when a biological parent's consent is not required).


  • Best interest of child

After determining that all necessary consents have been provided or are not required, the Court must determine whether the adoption is in the step-child's best interest. The Ohio Revised Code lists factors for the Court to consider in making the best interest determination, but generally, the Court is looking at the child's current living arrangements, the bonding between the child and the step-parent, and the child's wishes (if the child is old enough for this to be a factor). If the child is 12 or older, the child's consent to the proposed step-parent adoption is required.


If you are interested in learning more about the adoption process, please contact me today.


  • Joe McCoy

Do I need a lawyer? Sometimes the answer is "definitely." Sometimes it's "maybe," and in some situations, the answer is actually "no." So how do you go about making that very important decision? That's where we can help.


For us, it's all about you

Here's how we approach helping our clients decide if they need to find a lawyer. We start by evaluating every case on its own merits. We listen to your story and we ask a lot of questions. We do that to get a complete picture of your situation so we can best advice you how to proceed.


Most often, when a client comes to us, they can benefit from our legal services. In some situations, however, it may be more efficient and economical for you to handle your matter without our help. We'll tell you when that's the case as well.


So you want to sue

If you're involved in a car accident and it's not your fault, how do you know whether you should hire a lawyer to sue the other party? A lot goes into making that decision. Be assured that the lawyers at McCoy & McCoy can help you make that decision. We know how to fight the fight in court when necessary, and we are not afraid to take a case to trial if that's what's best for you.


Sometimes, however, helping you work through the complicated insurance system, making sure you have access to the medical treatment you need, and insuring that you get a fair and reasonable settlement is the best course of action. Trust that the lawyers of McCoy & McCoy know how to do that, too.


We're here to fight for you

Do you need a lawyer? Contact McCoy & McCoy for a case evaluation. We're experienced lawyers and we're part of your community. Discover how our team can provide you with the affordable legal services you need.


The Real McCoys: Serving the legal needs of the Newark Community and across Central Ohio.


Personal Injury: Auto accidents, injuries on another's property

Estate Planning: Wills trusts, powers of attorney

Business Law: Contract negotiations, labor issues, succession planning

Family Law: Divorce/Dissolution, custody issues




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