Monday, April 27, 2015

Know Legal Consequences before Forming a Business in Ohio

So, you have a new business idea and you are excited to set up shop and make it big. Before you start selling your product and service, be sure to stop and think about the legal consequences of your business formation. This is a crucial step in creating a successful business in Ohio.

Q:        Should I incorporate?
A:        Absolutely. Forming either a corporation or an LLC allows you to protect your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or claims against your business. You will also be able to limit your liability for any outstanding business debts and obligations. When starting a business, be sure not to put your personal assets at risk. In the event you are ever sued and you have not incorporated, your home, bank account, and all other assets can potentially be exposed should you receive a court judgment against your business. By incorporating your business, you create a wall between the business assets and your own personal assets. Another benefit of incorporating is that it makes your business more credible to consumers. Just seeing “Inc.” or “LLC” behind your business name adds instant legitimacy. Further, incorporating protects your brand and business name. Finally, incorporation gives your business flexibility and tax benefits.

Q:        I’m thinking about going into business with a friend. What should I consider?
A:        Depending on the corporate formation you choose, you could very well be liable for your own debts and actions in addition to those of your business partner, over whom you have no control. Think long and hard before committing yourself to such a situation. To help alleviate personal risk in a partnership setting, consider speaking with an attorney or other professional with business start-up expertise who can walk you through this complicated situation and consider options such as placing assets in trust or in another’s name.

Q:        A friend told me I should set up an LLC. How do I know if that’s the best choice for me?
A:        A limited liability company is the most popular business entity. Like a corporation, an LLC limits your liability, but is treated, for tax purposes, like a partnership. Consult with an attorney, however, before deciding whether an LLC is the best option for you.

Q:        What are the differences between an S-Corporation and a C-Corporation?
A:        A C-Corporation is legal entity separate and distinct from its owners. The corporation issues ownership interests (“shares”) to “shareholders.” The shareholders elect the board of directors.  The directors, who are entrusted with managing the corporation, elect the officers. The officers operate the corporation under the board’s direction. The shareholders, the directors and the officers are generally not responsible for the debts and obligations of the corporation. The corporation’s profits are distributed to the shareholders in the form of dividends.
            A C-corporation is taxed twice: first, at the corporate level, when income is received, and second, when income is re-distributed to shareholders. Finally, a person who is merely a shareholder of the corporation will almost always be absolved of liability.
            An S-Corporation is similar to a C-Corporation, but it is taxed as a “pass-through entity” meaning that the owners pay taxes on all business profits on their individual tax returns (i.e., the business income “passes through” the business to the owners’ personal tax returns and business profits are not “double taxed”). To become an S-Corporation, a business must have fewer than 100 shareholders, all shareholders must be people (no estates, trusts, etc.) who are not nonresident aliens, and the corporation can have only one class of stock.

Q:        How do I create a legal business in Ohio?
A:        Surprisingly, it is very easy to set up a corporation, LLC, or other business formation. You simply have to complete a small amount of written paperwork and pay a filing fee. You can get the necessary papers through the Ohio Secretary of State website at You may also draft an operating agreement or other document depending on the business form you choose. For instance, to create a legally binding LLC, you merely have to submit a two-page online Articles of Organization and send the Secretary of State a check for $99. This is a very small price to pay to avoid personal liability for your business’ debts and actions. You may wish to consult with an attorney to help you choose a business entity and draft an operating agreement.

This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by Andrew L. Smith, a senior associate attorney in the Cincinnati office of Smith, Rolfes & Skavdahl Company, LPA. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Law Provides for Child Support Establishment and Enforcement in Other States

Q:       How does the law handle paternity and child support issues among various states?
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) provides a way to establish paternity and/or child support obligations and to enforce child support responsibilities across state lines.

Q:       I moved recently from California to Ohio. I want to establish paternity to prove that my ex-boyfriend is the father of my two-year old son so I can start receiving child support. My ex still lives in California. What should I do?
A:        Complete an IV-D application with your local child support agency to receive services. Services are free and available to everyone. 
Your local agency will have you complete a UIFSA petition. The petition includes a “General Testimony” questionnaire that asks for information concerning your household makeup and your financial situation. Completing the General Testimony will make it possible for you to avoid having to attend hearings in California. 
            Your local agency will mail the UIFSA petition to California. California will then attempt to establish paternity and/or child support. Your local agency will be your point of contact during the process. If genetic testing is required to establish paternity, you and your child will be tested where you live in Ohio. If a child support order is established, then money collected by California will be forwarded to Ohio Child Support and then disbursed to you. 
Q:       I completed a UIFSA petition, which my local agency sent to Florida to establish that my child’s father owes child support. A hearing has now been set in Florida, and I want to participate via telephone. How do I go about that? 
A:        Let your local agency know that you wish to participate via telephone. Your agency will relay the information to the local child support office in Florida. The original version of UIFSA did not require courts to permit telephonic testimony, while later amended versions of UIFSA do require courts to permit telephonic testimony. It will depend on what version of UIFSA Florida is operating under as to whether you will be permitted to participate via telephone. 

Q:       I have a child support order from Nevada. I just received notice that Ohio is going to “register” the Nevada order here in my local county. What does that mean? 
A:        Registration is the process by which a child support order is filed in the local court where the obligor (the one who owes child support) lives. Ohio then collects on the order. This usually happens when the obligor to an order has moved from the state that issued the order. Except in limited circumstances, Ohio cannot modify the order. However, Ohio can take enforcement actions such as driver’s license suspension and incarceration. After the registration process has been completed, you will pay through Ohio, and Ohio Child Support will forward the payments to Nevada. 

Q:       My Idaho child support order was just registered here in Ohio. My child and his mother live in Idaho. I want to establish parenting time. Can I file for that in my local court?   
A:        No. UIFSA only deals with paternity and support issues. It does not allow for courts to establish and/or enforce parenting time orders.

Q:       I have a child support order from Kentucky ordering my ex-wife to pay me child support. She has moved to Illinois, and I have moved with our children to Ohio. I want to adjust the order because of a change in my financial circumstances. Can I file a request for this here in Ohio? 
A:        Under UIFSA, because  neither you nor your ex-wife now live in Kentucky, the state that issued the support order,  then the state of the non-requesting party (meaning your ex-wife’s current residential state, Illinois) will have jurisdiction to modify the child support order.
To request a child support adjustment, you will first need to apply for services with your local agency by completing an IV-D application.  Your local agency will then have you participate in completing a petition.  The petition will include a “General Testimony” questionnaire, which will ask you for information about your household makeup and your financial situation. Providing this information will mean that you can avoid having to attend hearings in Illinois. Your local agency will request certified copies of your child support order from Kentucky Child Support along with a pay history. Your local agency will then send the petition to Illinois asking that state to register and modify the Kentucky order.

This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Montgomery County CSEA Senior Staff Attorney Thomas E.A. Howard. The column offers general information about the law. Seek an attorney’s advice before applying this information to a legal problem.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Reading the Fine Print: Who Owns What on Popular Websites

Q:        Facebook changed its terms of service in January 2015. How does this affect me?
A:        Most terms impacting the average user have not changed. Facebook has tried to simplify the language and has introduced a guide (“Privacy Basics”) to help users with privacy settings. The new terms explain more about how Facebook uses your information (such as your location) with its family of companies and advertisers. But be cautioned: your control over information you provide is limited.

Q:       I took a funny photo and posted it to Facebook. Now it’s being used for a local company’s billboard ad. Is that legal?
A:        Probably not. According to the law, the local company can’t use your photo for an ad without your permission. The 1976 Copyright Act gives you exclusive rights to original works including the rights to reproduce them, display them publicly and perform them in public, whether or not you register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.
However, photos, stories and even secrets are now being broadcast to the world through popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Most site users don’t read the “terms of service” to learn what rights they have and what rights they may have given to website owners. If you read the terms of service, you may discover that you have granted these sites the right to license your photos to others without having to compensate you. Even if they have a right to do this according to the terms of service, they may not have done so. Most sites will offer to help you reach the person who appropriated your picture without your permission.

Q:       What permission did I give Facebook?
A:        You may have given permission for a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use … content you post,” which essentially allows Facebook to distribute your information for free to other users and to Facebook’s business partners, who develop games and advertisements you might see on the pages. These various users can reformat or modify your material for use with their systems. If you have an image or video that you may want to sell, it would be wise not to post it on a site where you have granted permission to use your material without paying you for it.

Q:       If my privacy settings only allow pictures and videos to be shared with close friends, will they be protected from use by strangers?
A:        Not necessarily. For example, if the privacy setting of one of your friends allows public sharing, then your information also may be shared with the public. One key point of Facebook’s terms is that its license with you ends only when you delete your account. If you see that something of yours was shared without your permission after you closed your account, that could be a violation of the Facebook agreement.

Q:       Can social media sites remove things I post or remove something if I object to the posting?
A:        Google, Facebook and Twitter reserve the right to remove content, as do many other service providers. Facebook has expanded the list of content it has the right to remove. This now includes content that is “hate speech, threatening, or pornographic, incites violence or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” Following deadly attacks in France incited by satirical cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammad, the Turkish government asked Facebook to block content that depicted Mohammed disparagingly. The company agreed. Most social media sites also warn you to be careful about believing what you read and see on the sites. Twitter says, “We do not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the completeness, truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any content or communications.”

Q:        Can a social site post be used against me in a legal proceeding?
A:        Possibly. Parties have successfully used information gathered from social media sites in court.  In a 2010 American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey, 81 percent of divorce lawyers said they have increased their use of social networking to gather evidence. The U.S. Department of Justice provides guidelines to law enforcement on using social networks to investigate crimes and the American Bar Association endorses the right of trial lawyers to use the social media content of potential jurors to determine whether to select a person as a juror.

Q:        Can I sue a social media site if someone posts an untrue or hateful statement about me?
A:        Yes, but you probably won’t win your case. Most social media sites include “terms of use” language that says the sites are not responsible for what others post. Also, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which governs most of the conduct of website hosts regarding posted comments, says, “…no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This means that, although you may be able to sue the person making the comments, you cannot hold responsible the owners of the site where the comments were posted.

This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association.  It was prepared by Dan Trevas, a Columbus attorney and former news reporter for print and online news services.  The column offers general information about the law.  Seek an attorney’s advice before applying this information to a legal problem.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Ohio Allows Skill-Based Amusement Games

Q:       There’s a skill-based amusement parlor in my neighborhood shopping center. Are these skill games legal?
A:        Yes.  Skill-based games have been legal in Ohio for decades. Ohio’s legislature defined skill-based amusement games in 2003 and amended the definition in 2007. Ohio requires that the opportunity to win a prize in amusement games must be based on the skill of the player and not on a chance event.

Q:       What can I win if I play these games?
A:        Merchandise prizes can be awarded for successfully solving the skill game but the prizes cannot be cash, gift cards, or any equivalent, plays on games of chance (such as slot machines or craps), state lottery tickets, bingo, instant bingo, firearms, tobacco or alcoholic beverages. There is also a limitation on the size and value of the prize. The wholesale value of merchandise prize awarded as a result of a single play cannot exceed $10 but it is permissible to combine vouchers awarded for successfully solving the game to collect a prize worth more than $10. Examples of prizes that can be awarded legally are gas cards, gold coins, gold, silver (not silver coins) and vouchers from stores for store products.

Q:       How do skill-based amusement games differ from forms of gambling like the Ohio Lottery games, casino games or electronic games at racetracks?
A:        Skill games are different from legal gambling operations in Ohio because currently no state sponsored agency is exclusively responsible for regulating them and allotting licenses. A person must be issued a license from the Ohio Lottery Commission to operate lottery games such as instant lottery or the Powerball. The Ohio Racing Commission issues licenses to persons who are engaged in gambling associated with horse racing. Horse race tracks can also operate electronic video lottery terminals as licensed by the Ohio Lottery Commission. Bingo licenses are regulated by the Ohio Attorney General and are granted only to charitable organizations. It is likely that the Ohio Casino Commission will soon have jurisdiction over skill games. Assuming the Ohio Casino Commission receives this authority, it will issue licenses to those who wish to operate skill games.

Q:       Can I own and operate skill games?
A:        Yes.  Right now, anyone can own and operate skill-based amusement games.  Currently there are no state limitations to the location or number of games that an individual can own and operate. The Ohio Casino Control Commission was given the authority several years ago to regulate skill games, but the Commission has yet to exercise that authority. Ohio House bill 491, which granted additional regulatory power to the Commission, failed to pass the Ohio Senate in 2014. The bill is expected to be reintroduced in 2015, so it is very possible that the Commission will soon be licensing skill games.

Q:       Can I own and operate slot machines or video lottery terminals?
A:        Currently only the four casinos can operate slot machines because of the voter approved change in the Ohio Constitution. Only Ohio’s racetracks can operate video lottery terminals as approved by the Ohio Lottery Commission. Recently the Ohio Lottery Commission has introduced similar electronic gaming devices called “Next Generation Games” into veteran and fraternal clubs. These machines are similar to the slot machines and video lottery terminals.  Although these are the only venues in which slot machines or video lottery terminals can be legally operated for profit, it is legal to possess a slot machine at your home if it is operated for amusement and not for profit.

This “Law You Can Use” consumer information column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by Columbus attorney Kurt Gearhiser. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Mortgage Fraud Schemes Are Common and Varied

In Ohio, as in many other states, mortgage fraud schemes are prevalent, especially in today’s world of distant lending and mortgage brokering practices.

Q:       What is mortgage fraud?
A:        Mortgage fraud can include many different schemes such as falsifying loan applications, using straw buyers (having an individual complete a transaction for someone who may not qualify for a loan or is barred from entering into the loan), making false or inflated appraisals, accepting kickbacks and using fictitious identities.
            One type of mortgage fraud is called “fraud for housing, or “fraud for property,” and is typically committed by borrowers. In this type of fraud scheme, a borrower may provide false information about employment, income or assets in order to qualify for a loan. For example, a borrower may fabricate income or falsify assets in mortgage application documents in order to qualify for a larger loan than he or she can afford.
            The second area of mortgage fraud is called “fraud for profit.” Sometimes known as industry insider fraud, this is the most common type of mortgage fraud. These schemes are often more intricate and involve a group of people, each of whom plays a different role. 

Q:       Who is typically involved in mortgage fraud schemes?
A:        According to, industry insiders are estimated to be involved in 80 percent of all reported mortgage fraud cases. Most “fraud for profit” is initiated by a seller, lender, real estate broker or closing agent (or all of them acting together). For example, mortgage brokers may partner with a loan processer or collude with an appraiser to inflate a property’s value. Appraisers may also play a part in fraud for profit, either by being gullible or bribable. Appraisers may expect to receive a kickback or even simply a steady stream of business. 
            Typically borrowers are unaware of “for profit” schemes, although they can be involved.  For example, a borrower may “flip” or help “flop” a piece of real estate or launder money. As long as the borrower is walking away with some sort of profit fraudulently obtained, the borrower may potentially be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a fraud.

Q:       How do incidents of mortgage fraud typically get investigated?
A:        Mortgage fraud investigations are generally conducted after government investigators become aware of mortgage fraud after analyzing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). SARs are filed by federally insured financial institutions, many of which are uncovered and reported during foreclosure proceedings.  Most mortgage fraud investigations (once triggered by the filed SARs) are investigated by both state and federal authorities who use shared efforts such as multi-jurisdictional task forces.

Q:       What happens if someone is convicted of mortgage fraud?
A:        Federally and in Ohio, mortgage fraud crimes are prosecuted under a variety of statutes (there is no specific mortgage fraud criminal statute per se). Federal prosecutors may look to bank fraud, money laundering, wire fraud or falsification statutes, while state prosecutors may look to various theft offenses.  The economic loss or damage is determined through the culmination of the loan transaction and can quickly climb into the millions of dollars. Determining sentencing for someone associated with mortgage fraud takes into account monetary loss as well as the wrongdoer’s criminal history.
            Fraud for housing is rarely prosecuted. Instead, a borrower who used fraudulent methods to obtain a loan is penalized by losing the home and becoming a subprime borrower for the next four to seven years.

Q:       If I believe I may have information regarding a mortgage fraud scheme, or have questions about a certain transaction, what should I do?
A:        Speak with an attorney who practices in this area. An attorney will likely investigate to learn the details of the transaction and determine the best way for you to proceed. If your participation was not intentional, your attorney will assist you in separating yourself and your actions from those responsible for the scheme. If you are a professional (for example, a real estate agent), then your lawyer may engage an expert to show that you acted within your profession’s standards.

This “Law You Can Use” consumer information column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by Columbus attorney Karl H. Schneider, a partner of Maguire & Schneider, LLP. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Owner May Give “Right of First Refusal” to Buy Property

Q:       What is a “right of first refusal”?

            A:        A right of first refusal is a right to match an offer to purchase property. Let’s say that you put your home up for sale, knowing that your neighbor, Sally, might be interested in buying it. You might choose to give Sally the right to match any purchase offer you may receive for your home.

Q:       How does a “right of first refusal” work?

A:        Let’s say you decide you want to sell your home to your friend, John, for $200,000 under certain conditions. However, since you gave your neighbor Sally a right of first refusal to purchase the home, you must first offer it to Sally under the same terms as those you offered to John before you can sell it to John. If Sally exercises her right of first refusal and follows through with the purchase, John will not be able to buy your home.

Q:       When I draft a right of first refusal, what issues should I cover?
A:        You should address these issues: 
·       Cleary identify what real estate is subject to the right of first refusal.  Suppose you give Sally a right of first refusal for your home as well as the lot next to it. The right of first refusal agreement should address what will happen if, for example, a potential purchaser, such as John, wants to buy only the home and not the next-door lot, and what the price will be.
·       Non-cash offer.  A right of first refusal should address what will happen if, for example, a potential purchaser wants to exchange his home for yours. In this case, Sally, who holds a right of first refusal, cannot match such an offer. The right of first refusal should say exactly how much Sally must pay in cash to match a non-cash offer.
·       Timing.  It is important to carefully draft provisions about when rights of first refusal can be exercised. For example, you should notify Sally within a certain number of days after you receive another offer, and Sally should have an opportunity to exercise her right within a certain number of days. You should also make it clear how Sally will be notified (such as by mail or in person). You should also specify the date of closing, or require Sally to close on whatever date a potential buyer might specify in an offer. The right of first refusal also should have a termination date. After that date, Sally would no longer have the right of first refusal.

Q:       Is a right of first refusal transferable?

            A:        Unless you’ve said, in writing, that Sally cannot transfer her right, then Sally may transfer it to a third party. So, as the property owner, you should state specifically that the right is personal only to Sally, or that Sally can transfer the right of first refusal to a third person. A right of first refusal also should be drafted so that it is binding upon entities or trusts that you own or have an interest in. For example, it could state that, if you transfer your property to a company you own and that company receives an offer to purchase, Sally may still exercise the right of first refusal. You should also state what happens upon your death, as an owner. For example, it may state that the right of first refusal will terminate when you die. Otherwise, the right of first refusal may continue to apply to whoever inherits the home.

Q:       What happens if Sally declines to exercise her right of first refusal?

            A:        Some rights of first refusal provide, for example, that if Sally accepts the right but is unable to complete the transaction, she will no longer have the right in the future. Others provide that the right continues if the property is sold to another party. If the right of first refusal document says nothing about this issue, then there may be differences of interpretation.

Q:       What if either Sally or I change the terms of the purchase?

            A:        Typically, slight variations to the offer by you, as owner, and Sally, who exercises her right of first refusal, are acceptable. In general, you and Sally may not “materially vary” from the terms of the original offer. Obviously, the meaning of “materially vary” may be disputed.

            A carefully drafted right of first refusal addresses most of the issues listed above. However, many rights of first refusal are not complete and specific. Even a well-drafted right of first refusal is subject to dispute, as are most agreements that anticipate future matters.

This "Law You Can Use" column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by Avon attorney Marsha L. Collett of Wickens, Herzer, Panza, Cook & Batista Co. Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Law Balances Student Record Access and Privacy

Q:       What laws cover student educational records?
A:        Student education records are protected by federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and Ohio’s student privacy law (Ohio Revised Code § 3319.321). These laws are similar in application, with some minor differences.

Q:       What do the laws require?
A:        FERPA and Ohio’s student privacy law have two primary functions in common. Both laws: 1) guarantee parental access to education records, and 2) prohibit the disclosure of education records to third parties without parental consent.

Q:       What is considered an “education record?”
A:        An “education record” includes records which: 1) contain information directly related to a student, and 2) are maintained by a school. This could include birth certificates, names of parents, immunization records, grades, disciplinary records, etc.

Q:       How is access to education records guaranteed?
A:        Both FERPA and Ohio’s student privacy law require schools to provide parental access to the education records of children under age 18. Parents have the right to see everything in the student’s education record, except information about other students or information protected by another state or federal law. Schools must comply with a request for access within a reasonable period of time, but in no case more than 45 days after the request.

Q:       How are education records protected from third parties? 
A:        Both laws prohibit the disclosure of “personally identifiable information” in education records to third parties without the prior written consent of the parent. Personally identifiable information generally includes any information that would make the student’s identity traceable.

Q:       Are there exceptions that allow disclosure without consent?
A:        Yes. Several exceptions allow disclosure without parental consent. For example, schools may release records to school officials with “legitimate educational interests,” such as disclosure of student records to the student’s teacher or to an in-school therapist treating the student.
            Other exceptions allow schools to release education records to a school where the student is transferring, to persons acting with a subpoena, or to health and safety personnel during an emergency.

Q:       What is directory information?
A:        Through its policies, school districts may designate certain student information as “directory information.” Directory information generally includes information that could be found in a school yearbook, playbill or athletic program, such as a student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, dates of attendance and graduation, and awards received.
            Directory information may be disclosed without prior written consent. School districts must provide public notice of designated categories of directory information and allow a reasonable time for parents to “opt-out” of the release of this information.

Q:       Do students have rights to review their educational records before they turn age 18?
A:        Not really. Although both laws allow elementary and secondary schools to give students under age 18 the right to inspect and review their own educational records, the schools are not required to give minors this right. Parents, however, must be allowed to inspect and review their minor children’s education records.

Q:       Does a student have the right to view his or her records at age 18?
A:        Yes. All rights granted to parents under FERPA and Ohio law transfer to the student when the student reaches age 18, or when the student starts attending a postsecondary institution. This includes the right to access education records and to consent to the release of education records.

Q:       Can the parents of a college-age student access their child’s education records?
A:        Maybe. A postsecondary institution may provide parents with access to their child’s education records, without the child’s consent, if the parents claim the student as a dependent for IRS tax purposes. A college or university may also notify parents of students under age 21 if the student has violated any law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

Q:       What schools are required to comply with these student record laws?
A:        The federal FERPA law applies to all educational agencies receiving federal funds under any program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. This includes all public school districts and most private and public postsecondary institutions. Some private schools may not receive funds from the U.S. Department of Education and, therefore, may not be subject to FERPA. Ohio’s student privacy law only applies to public schools in Ohio.

Q:       Does divorce affect a parent’s right to see his or her child’s educational records?
A:        A parent who is separated, divorced and/or not the student’s residential parent is permitted access to any records under the same terms and conditions as the residential parent, provided that the parents are not subject to any parenting agreement or court order to the contrary. Separated, divorced and/or non-residential parents may also provide the written parental consent to release records, barring a written parenting agreement or court order to the contrary.

This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Columbus attorney Mark A. Weiker of Albeit Weiker, LLP. The column offers general information about the law.  Seek an attorney’s advice before applying this information to a legal problem.

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