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Painter and Associates Blog


Painter & Associates Has New Name

Painter & Westfall, LLC has announced that Elizabeth Westfall will be leaving the firm at the end of 2015 to pursue other interests. The new firm name will be Painter & Associates, LLC.

Painter & Associates will continue to operate business as usual in the same location. Our experienced team consisting of Nathan Painter, Amanda Waltz, Rebecca Muncy Brooks and Adam Crowell will continue to service our clients with the highest level of expertise and professionalism.


Custody Case Resolved

Custody Case Resolved with Help of Elizabeth Westfall

Unfortunately, child custody battles are often part of family court. Parents interested in obtaining sole or joint custody of a child often end up in court, fighting a child custody battle because neither party can reach an agreement. In such cases, a court of law will ultimately determine who will win child custody.

Parents interested in winning custody battles should not enter a custody dispute unprepared. Parents need to provide proper documentation and prove they are the best capable to provide full-time care for the child.

Today, it can no longer be assumed that only the mother will get custody of the children. Instead, what judges consider during a custody trial is based on the "best interests of the child", and they try to give custody to the parent who will provide the best environment and upbringing for the children.

Painter & Westfall has represented several parents in custody cases. They recently won a case for a mother who had been granted legal custody of her child. The litigation between the parties had a lengthy history and the father continually took the mother to court and appealed the decisions. 

Painter & Westfall worked hard to show the court that the custody decision was fair and the appeal from the father was overruled. To read the entire case summary for more details please  Download the document here. 

To win your child custody case, you will need to prove to the judge that it is in the best interest of the children to be with you. Be prepared and speak with an experienced attorney who will fight diligently for you.


Digital Estate Planning

Most people use estate planning to make sure their loved ones are taken care when they are gone.  It used to be fairly simple to track down all the necessary paperwork to finalize a person's last wishes and divide assets, but with the increased use of computers in our day to day lives, we need to adapt.  The digital era has forced estate plans to look beyond paper and include sections about who should take care of online accounts such as online bill paying, email accounts, social media accounts and more.  For example, if you currently host all of your digital photos on the cloud, how can you make sure your family members can access those precious memories when you are gone? 

Digital estate planning is an important part of the process.  The Columbus Dispatch recently ran a great article about this called "Guide to Life: How to handle online accounts during estate planning."  It's a great reminder of why you should talk to an experienced lawyer to prepare your final wishes which in turn will lessen the burden for your loved ones should something happen.  If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 614-319-3306.


Civil Lawsuits Allow Domestic Violence Victims to Fight Back

Many victims of domestic violence are not aware that they can sue their attacker. At Painter & Westfall we are familiar with these types of claims and have helped a few victims with pursuing their rights.  The Columbus Dispatch recently brought this topic into the forefront in central Ohio with the article, Civil Lawsuit Lets Domestic-Violence Victim Fight Back published on February 9, 2015. 

Often, victims of domestic violence have been robbed of their sense of control and of their emotional outlet. Suing the abuser can give them a sense of control and can provide a sense of emotional relief. The types of damages possibly available to domestic violence victims include:

Lost wages

Medical expenses

Pain and suffering

Punitive damages

If you think you have grounds for litigation, consult a lawyer right away as the statute of limitations on when you can file a case for assault or battery is only one year.  An experienced attorney will be able to tell you if you have a good case and what your rights and options are for filing a claim. 

If you have a question about pursuing a claim against an attacker, filing for divorce or getting a Civil Protection Order, please contact one of our experienced lawyers at Painter & Westfall at 614-319-3306.  To learn more about Civil Protection Orders click here.


Legal New Year's Resolutions

It's a new year and I'm sure many of you are working on your resolutions. I'm sure many goals are focused on health and wellness, but have you thought about improving your legal stability to protect your family? Here are a few resolutions you might want to add for 2015:

1. Make a will. You don't want to leave your family with a mess should something happen. Get your paperwork in order now, to make it easier for them later. Read more about estate planning here. 

2. Improve your special needs child's education. Federal law requires Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for special education students. Do you feel your child is getting the best of what they need? Do you need help navigating the confusing system of paperwork? Learn more about IEPs here

3. Get your business in order. Own a small business? Should you form an LLC, Corporation or Partnership? Should you elect to be designated by the IRS as an S Corporation, C Corporation or something else? There is a nice overview of the different types here.

As always, our team is here to answer any of your questions. We wish you all a happy and healthy 2015!


Painter Named Rising Star by Super Lawyers

Nathan Painter is both proud to be selected to the 2015 Ohio Rising Stars list, an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. Painter was also was named to the list in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. For more information about the selection process, go to Super Lawyers.


Holiday Hope Campaign 2014

Announcing our Holiday Hope Campaign for 2014.

Painter & Westfall would like to give one deserving family from Hilliard a great holiday season filled with joy. We know the holidays can be especially stressful and hard for those struggling and we'd like to send a message of hope to those that are less fortunate.  

“It’s important for us to give back to the Hilliard community; it is an obligation to support those in need regardless of the need,” said Nathan Painter.  Partner Elizabeth Westfall added, "Giving back is an important value I try to instill in my three children. We would love to help a deserving family have a happier holiday season this year.” 

If you know of a family deserving of some extra help this year, please email nominations to nathan (at) 

- Family must be a resident of Hilliard, Ohio
- Nomination deadline is December 15, 2014
- Chosen family will receive a holiday dinner and gifts for their children


Seek Legal Advice for Personal Guarantees

The formal definition of a Personal Guarantee is an agreement that makes one liable for one’s own or third party's debts or obligations.

In simpler terms, the first word, "personal," refers to you, the individual, and the owner of the company. It doesn't refer to your board members, your senior managers or any of your employees. In the case of a proprietorship, the owner and the business are one and the same in the eyes of the law. 

The second word, "guarantee," means "a pledge or assurance." Therefore, the term "personal guarantee" translates to you providing your own individual pledge or assurance for an obligation. Depending on the exact wording of your financing documents, you are personally pledging that you will make good on the obligation, even if your firm or business organization provides limited liability protection under the law. The lender can go after your personal assets should you default on the loan. Importantly, many personal guarantees allow the lender to seek satisfaction of the debt from the guarantor without having to seek repayment from the debtor first. 

Many lenders require a personal guarantee as an “added assurance” that the owner or executive is committed to the business and is committed to repaying loan. A personal guarantee demonstrates to a lender that you are a responsible business owner and intend to repay all of your business loans. From the lender’s viewpoint, if the owner isn’t willing to stand behind the business, then why should the lender take a risk?

Many small businesses have to examine the option of a personal guarantee to get a loan, so it’s imperative to review the documents with a trusted legal advisor and accountant to learn the consequences should the debt go unpaid. It's also very important that you seek expert legal advice about the specific laws of your state. 


When do you need a lawyer?

When do you need a lawyer? 

Almost everything you do in your daily routine involves the law in some way: driving a car, having a job, making a purchase, etc.  But does that mean you need a lawyer every time you have a problem in your day?  Obviously not!  Some problems are not legal and can be resolved with the help of other professionals. 

However, when you do need a lawyer, it’s important to find one that you can feel comfortable with as well as trust to help you in your best interest.  Here are some top reasons you should seek out legal counsel: 

being arrested for a crime or served with legal papers in a civil lawsuit;

being involved in a serious accident causing personal injury or property damage;

a change in family status such as divorce, adoption, or death;

a change in financial status such as getting or losing valuable personal property or real estate, or filing for bankruptcy.

In a study of Americans over the age of 18, researchers for the American Bar Association found almost half had used a lawyer in the past five years. The most common legal matters taken to lawyers involved:

real estate transactions (12%)

drawing up a will (11%)

as a party to a lawsuit (11%)

divorce/separation (9%)

probate/estate settlement matters (6%)

child support/custody matter (5%)

draw up an agreement/contact (5%)

Other fairly common matters requiring a lawyer’s help included traffic matters, insurance claims, bankruptcy, auto accidents, and being a complainant or defendant in a criminal proceeding.

Of course, it makes sense to consult with a lawyer anytime you have a question and are not sure whether legal steps are needed. It’s the lawyer’s job to guide you to make the best decisions and ultimately help you throughout your next steps if needed.


Individualized Education Plans

What is an Individualized Education Plan?

Federal law requires Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for special education.  An IEP ensures that children with disabilities aren’t grouped into a single form of education. The law recognizes that different disabilities require different educational programs. 

To qualify for special education services, a student must have a disability that presents unreasonable challenges at school.  Once the child’s eligibility is established, the school must hold an IEP meeting to develop the plan. The IEP is generally developed by a team of professionals such as teachers, therapists and school administrators, as well as the parents of the child. 

The IEP is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services the child will receive and why. The school can’t force the parents or the child to accept a plan that they don’t believe will be helpful or in the child’s best interest. 

The IEP process can be an overwhelming time for any parent. There is so much new information to take in as you begin to learn more and more about special education services and how they can best benefit the child.  

It can be beneficial for a parent to employ a lawyer during this process so that they feel confident in understanding the process, ask the right questions, know what they are signing and that the plan formulated meets the child’s every educational need.

In developing, enforcing and modifying an IEP, teachers and parents are sometimes at odds. Dispute resolution is an option, including mediation and a due process hearing if you disagree with any aspect of the IEP. You also have a right to an appeal hearing if you are still not satisfied with the outcome.

At Painter & Westfall, our aim is to do everything in our power to make sure that the child’s needs are met and in turn that parents feel a sense of relief, satisfaction and closure regarding the child’s services.


What our clients say

  • Gary Long Nathan had the confidence, the education and the experience we were looking for. He listens and communicates with a personal touch we just didn’t find before, and he’s tough as nails - he won’t back down. We trust him.

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Nathan D. Painter founded Painter & Associates to provide legal services he believes every client deserves: access to large-firm experience and talent with a highly personalized approach that keeps each client’s individual legal needs top of mind.

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