The partners of Skirbunt Cahn Skirbunt Ramsey LLC are pioneers in the field of alternative dispute resolution and are certified mediators, trained arbitrators, and successful facilitators and negotiators of out-of-court resolutions. We are committed to responsive high quality service, and understand that after the divorce, the family will not disappear, but will be restructured.
James R. Skirbunt Partner
Phone: (216) 363-1313
As the co-founder of the Center for Principled Family Advocacy and the co-creator and principal architect of Cooperative Divorce, Jim Skirbunt is a pioneer in introducing and developing alternative processes to litigation in divorce. Jim recognizes that, once a decision has been made to end a marriage, the most important question facing the family is “how” the relationship would be terminated. Jim understands that the choice of process has a significant impact on the non-economic, emotional costs to the family. Providing clients with all of their options is a cornerstone of Jim’s practice philosophy. Jim’s 40+ years of experience enables him to provide clients with sound advice and to obtain consistently desirable outcomes, whether the choice of process is Litigation, Cooperative Divorce, Mediation, or Collaborative Divorce.
Long recognized as a successful divorce trial attorney, Jim is a past president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He has represented high profile clients in courtrooms throughout Ohio. Jim’s trial and appellate experience includes the following matters: business valuation issues; the tracing of separate property; enforcement of Premarital Agreements; determination of spousal and child support in high income cases; relocation issues; and the determination of whether cohabitation has occurred. Jim is, however, best known for his creativity with respect to settlement structures. This creativity has made him the “go to” lawyer for individuals seeking solutions to complicated problems, whether the issue is financial, or it involves the children of the parties.
Jim’s reputation as a problem solver has resulted in a demand for his services as, both, a Mediator and a Facilitator. Jim is a certified Family Law Mediator and has successfully mediated difficult matters for parties who appeared to be left with no option other than trial. He also frequently serves as a Facilitator in complex cases, assisting in the management of the process and the negotiations in divorce cases.
“Having ideas is essential in problem solving. Nothing is more frustrating than when parties find themselves in a situation where no one, including their counsel, has an idea as to how to resolve the issue. Getting things done is not always about being tough. It is always about being smart and having ideas.” -Jim Skirbunt
Jim has twice been invited to address divorce Judges and Magistrates at the Ohio Judicial College. He has lectured for numerous organizations, including the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and Bar Associations throughout Northeast Ohio. Jim is a contributing author to the book “The Power of the Professional” and an annual guest lecturer at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, teaching interest-based negotiating skills to law students.
Jim is married to his law partner Sharon A. Skirbunt. They have three children and three grandchildren. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Boston College School of Law. In 2011 he was named Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Cleveland, Ohio by the Woodward and White publication “The Best Lawyers in America,” and he has been selected as an “Ohio Super Lawyer” in all editions of the publication. Jim has also been designated as a “Preeminent Attorney” by Martindale-Hubbell.
- Successfully represented a client in a negotiated settlement of a $70 million marital estate using defined compensation as the vehicle to fund the settlement.
- Successfully facilitated an agreement in a high conflict marriage with a complex marital estate involving tracing of separate and marital property interests in business assets valued in excess of $100 million.
- Successfully litigated the termination of spousal support due to co-habitation.
- Successfully litigated the defense of an increase in child support in a high-income matter.
James S. Cahn Partner
Phone: (216) 363-1313
Jim has worked with clients for over forty years to find creative solutions to the complex problems of divorce. Whether the challenge involves complicated financial interests, the preservation of legacy wealth, or high conflict child custody issues, Jim provides the guidance, personal service, critical thinking, and expertise clients expect.
Recognizing the need to provide clients with less emotionally and financially burdensome alternatives to litigation, Jim co-founded the Center for Principled Family Advocacy to bring awareness to both clients and lawyers that options such as Arbitration, Mediation, Cooperative Divorce, and Collaborative Divorce are available and often provide a better opportunity for creative solutions than trial.
Jim is a graduate of the Arbitration Training Course of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
No matter what the process, Jim believes that the keys to consistently meaningful results are preparation and keeping an open mind.
Jim has been recognized by his peers with his election as a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (1989), an AV rating in the Martindale-Hubble Legal Directory, inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America for more than 20 consecutive years, listing in the Martindale-Hubble Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and election as Chair of the Family Law Section of what is now the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. He has served as the President of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and President of the Center for Principled Family Advocacy. Jim has been named annually as a Super Lawyer, in every edition of the Law & Politics survey (published in Cleveland Magazine), identifying the top 5% of Ohio’s lawyers.
“Creative opportunities essentially come from two things. The first is preparation. Make no mistake there is no substitute for preparation. The second is a mind that is open to all possibilities. When we have the relevant data and are not limited by preconceived notions of what outcome should be, solutions emerge to even the most complex problems.” -Jim Cahn
Jim has been a frequent teacher at professional education programs, including presentations to the judges and magistrates of the Ohio Judicial College, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts.
Jim and his spouse, Jean Johnson, are native Clevelanders and have two daughters. They share a love of animals and enjoy the company and affection of their three dogs and two cats. Jim is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences and of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He is a life-long martial artist (8th degree black belt in Taekwondo) and an avid golfer.
- Successfully represented a client in the negotiated settlement of a marital estate involving a $1 billion company.
- Successfully represented a client in the negotiated settlement of a $150 million marital estate where the appreciation in value of legacy wealth was at issue.
- Served as Arbitrator to decide a high conflict divorce involving the valuation and tracing of separate and marital property.
- Successfully challenged the expertise and credentials of a valuation expert in a trial in which complex business and real estate interests were at issue.
Sharon A. Skirbunt Partner
Phone: (216) 363-1313
No law firm is complete without the ability to effectively communicate in written word. This skill is essential in crafting settlement documents, trial briefs and appellate arguments. Sharon Skirbunt taught English at the high school and college levels for nine years before attending law school. She brings precision in the use of language, with a nuance in her drafting style that captures the goals of the client in every respect.
Sharon is one of the first lawyers in Ohio to have obtained certification in Mediation in Family Law, having been certified by the Academy of Family Mediators in 1992. She is also an inaugural member of the Center for Principled Family Advocacy, and a member of its Mediation and Cooperative Divorce Practice Groups. Sharon brings a practical, problem-solving approach to the issues raised in the cases of our clients.
Sharon has been a contributing author to “Ohio Domestic Relations Law” (Modification of Custody and Litigating the Enforceability of Pre-Marital Agreements). She also extends her writing prowess to estate planning matters and is responsible for creating estate plans for the clients of the firm. Highly regarded as a lawyer dealing with the interface between divorce and estate planning and probate, Sharon has been published in “The Probate Law Journal of Ohio,” with her article, The Perils of Estate Planning and Divorce. As you might expect, Sharon is also the lawyer in the firm who is responsible for drafting Premarital Agreements.
“The correct use of language is essential to successful outcomes. Each word of an agreement or pleading has specific meaning. An excellent outcome can be lost in a casually-drafted document. My goal is to capture not only the basic terms of the agreement, but also the spirit and intent of the parties in reaching their agreement.” -Sharon Skirbunt
Sharon is a graduate of Kent State University (B.S., summa cum laude, 1975) and Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D., 1986). She is a member of, both, the Family Law Section and the Estate Planning and Probate Section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and she has served as a past Chair of the Family Law Section of the former Cuyahoga County Bar Association. Sharon is also a member of the Geauga County Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association and the American Bar Association (Family Law and Probate and Trust Law Sections), and serves on the American Bar Association Advisory Committee.
Sharon is married to her law partner, James Skirbunt. Sharon and Jim live on a horse farm, where they keep not only horses, but also, many rescue dogs and cats whom they have adopted as part of their family.
John D. Ramsey Partner
Phone: (216) 363-1313
John D. Ramsey is a partner with Skirbunt Cahn Skirbunt Ramsey LLC and practices almost exclusively in the area of family law. He is dedicated to protecting your rights and the rights of your family. He has considerable success representing clients both in litigation and in processes alternative to litigation. A member of the Center for Principled Family Advocacy, John is committed to identifying creative solutions to family law problems.
John’s has extensive trial experience in general civil litigation as well as in divorce matters. His background brings added depth to the firm’s ability to handle the collateral litigation that can accompany a divorce in which a business is the primary asset of the marriage.
Prior to becoming a partner at Skirbunt Cahn Skirbunt Ramsey LLC, John was an attorney at Hermann, Cahn & Schneider, LLP where he also practiced exclusively in the area of family law.
John was selected as a Rising Star for 2011 by Ohio Super Lawyer Magazine.
John earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University and his Juris Doctorate degree from The University of Akron School of Law. During law school, he was actively involved in the trial competition program and received Best Advocate awards in competitions in Ohio and in Colorado from the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. John is an avid musician. He plays and collects guitars.
- Successfully litigated two sole custody cases on behalf of fathers, one of whom lived out-of-state.
- Successfully tried matters involving the complex tracing of separate property interests and the preservation of a divorcing spouse’s interest in a business.
- Secured a five-year order of protection for a mother and her son following a multi-day domestic violence trial.
- Successfully negotiated high net worth property division disputes involving ownership interests in large, closely held corporations.
Olia A. Harris Associate
Phone: (216) 363-1313
Olia A. Harris is an associate attorney and practices solely in the area of family law matters including: divorce; dissolution; child custody; child and spousal support; and, complex marital estates. Olia has been with the firm since 2010, when she began as a law clerk while still in law school.
Olia received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Ohio State University, from which she graduated Cum Laude, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Russian Culture and Language. Olia is fluent in Russian. While in law school, she worked as a research assistant to her Legal Writing Professor, and, she was the Treasurer, Vice President, and, eventually, President of the Jewish Law School Association. Olia was recognized for her leadership role as the President of the Jewish Law School Association by the Cleveland State University Department of Student Life – Cleveland Hillel Foundation, and she received the Hillel at CSU Leadership Award in 2011.
Olia is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (Family Law Section) and the Cleveland-Marshall Alumni Association. Olia is a certified Guardian ad Litem in Cuyahoga County, the secretary of the Cooperative Practice Group and is on the board, and a member, of the Center for Principled Family Advocacy.
Kyleigh A. Weinfurtner Associate
Phone: (216) 363-1313
Kyleigh A. Weinfurtner is an associate attorney and practices solely in the area of family law matters including, divorce, dissolution, child custody, child and spousal support, and complex marital estates. From 2012 to 2014, Kyleigh worked as a law clerk at Zashin & Rich Co., L.P.A.
Kyleigh earned her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2014. Originally from West Hartford, CT, Kyleigh received dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Philosophy and Government & Law from Lafayette College, where she was a member of the Varsity Women’s Lacrosse team.
Kyleigh is a certified Guardian ad Litem in Cuyahoga County, a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (Family Law Section), and the Center for Principled Family Advocacy.
Sharon R. Mack Paralegal
Phone: (216) 363-1313
Sharon R. Mack has been a family law paralegal for the Skirbunts for more than 30 years, and she has continued in that position with Skirbunt Cahn Skirbunt Ramsey, LLC since its inception on March 1, 2016. Sharon works closely with attorneys and clients of the firm, assisting them with the preparation and organization of relevant information so that each file is ready for the next action step in the case.
In addition to her responsibilities at SCSR, Sharon has been a presenter for workshops in her local community, as well as for The Cleveland Clinic Fairview Park Wellness Center, instructing attendees in the areas of plant-based cooking and the use of essential oils for health and wellness. Sharon has served as the Director of the Cleveland Chapter of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), and she is an active member of Journey Church in Fairview Park.
Sharon and her husband, Eric, enjoy life in Rocky River, Ohio, along with their two adult sons, Chris and Taylor. The other members of their family are their rambunctious Boxer-Lab mix, Nala, and their ever-elusive cat, Hobbs.
Karen S. Truax Paralegal
Phone: (216) 363-1313
Karen S. Truax has been a family law paralegal with Skirbunt Cahn Skirbunt Ramsey LLC since its inception on March 1, 2016. Prior to that, she was the family law paralegal at the law firm of Hermann Cahn & Schneider for over 22 years. Karen received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Bowling Green State University and her Certificate of Paralegal Studies from Dyke College.
Karen is an active member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the Cleveland Association of Paralegals (CAP). As a member of CAP, Karen has held several board positions, including Vice President.
Outside of the legal field, Karen has served as President, Vice President and Treasurer of three North Olmsted area Parent-Teacher Associations, and she has served as a Girl Scout leader for eight years. Karen has been married to Thomas Truax for 25 years, and she and Tom have two children, Morgan and Tyler. The other member of the Truax family is an adorable Beagle named Tucker.
Roberta L. Trutko Administrator
Phone: (216) 363-1313
Roberta L. Trutko has served as the Administrative Assistant for the law firm of Skirbunt Cahn Skirbunt Ramsey LLC since its inception on March 1, 2016. Prior to that, Roberta was the administrative assistant for the Skirbunts for nearly four years.
Roberta is considered the firm’s “Director of First Impressions.” Hers is the voice you hear on the telephone, and she is the first person to greet you in the office. From scheduling appointments and keeping the attorneys’ calendars in order, to assuring conference room availability, to being the vendor liaison, and to keeping the office running smoothly, Roberta is the “go to” person of the firm.
Prior to Roberta’s assuming the position as Administrative Assistant for the firm, Roberta had been employed over the past 30 years as a paralegal in various Cleveland law firms and entities. Upon graduating from Bowling Green State University, and completing her student teaching in Bogota, Colombia, Roberta was employed as a secondary school social studies teacher for six years before she became a paralegal. Because of the substantial and varied experience, she brought with her to the firm, Roberta is uniquely suited to her role in the firm, wearing many hats and competently interacting with clients, attorneys and the courts.
Roberta is married to Jim Trutko, and they have two sons. Originally from the Massillon-Canton area, Roberta enjoys football, as well as golf and jogging. She is an active member of the Friends of Rocky River Public Library and St. Christopher Parish, and is in a bi-monthly book group. An international traveler, Roberta lists some of her favorite countries as Iceland, Russia, France, Italy, and Costa Rica; but, she says, “It’s best to call the United States Home.”