"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” -Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Sometimes things just are not what they were at the beginning of the relationship. Things change, people change, events happen all of which can put a strain on a relationship. Deciding to terminate a relationship can be a fearful and emotional decision to make and is a major life event, often filled with the complexities of dividing up a household. Whether you are contemplating a divorce/dissolution or are in the process of needing representation in a pending divorce, we can help you understand your rights and work through ensuring that you are treated fairly. We strive to work toward negotiated solutions whenever possible to try to avoid costly and stressful litigation, however in some cases litigation may be the only course of action. We will discuss your individual situation and outcome potential to help you decide the direction we take.
A dissolution of marriage is a non-adversarial proceeding to legally end a marriage. The parties file a joint petition with the court, requesting that the court review and approve the separation agreement that they have entered into. The separation agreement is a legally binding agreement that resolves the relevant issues in terminating the marriage such as division of real and/or personal property, allocation of marital debt, custody and allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, spousal support and child support.
In order to use the dissolution procedures, the parties have to reach complete agreement on all of these issues. A dissolution generally takes between 30 and 90 days to complete depending on the court and avoids conflict and confrontation, is significantly less expensive, and the parties can be relatively sure of the final outcome.
While the parties are agreeing to everything in the dissolution process, we can only represent one party in the proceeding.
Divorce in Ohio can be either a no-fault or fault divorce. In Ohio a no fault divorce is filed when a party alleges incompatibility as the ground for divorce. If the other party denies incompatibility, the divorce must proceed on a fault ground. Grounds for a fault divorce include: bigamy, willful absence of the other party for more than one year, adultery, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract, living separate and apart for more than one year.
Ohio is an equitable distribution state, this means that the court will divide marital property equitably between the two parties. Separate property is not subject to division--this includes property that each spouse had before the marriage, inheritances or gifts given only to one spouse, and separate property as agreed to in a prenuptial agreement. Retirement assets, pensions, military benefits, etc. are considered marital property and are subject to division, however in some instances portions of these may be considered separate property.
Depending on various factors, the court may grant either spouse an award of spousal support. These factors include the parties' respective incomes and earning abilities, the duration of the marriage, and the standard of living established during the marriage. The court may also determine that one spouse’s earning capacity has been diminished or lost because of marital responsibilities, and award spousal support accordingly. Support may be awarded in lump sum or as monthly payments. Spousal support in most instances is for a defined term but in some instances can be for the rest of the recipients life. Ohio does not use a formula for defining spousal support and a thorough review of each parties pre/post marital income is needed to determine the likely range of a spousal support award.