Besides having to deal with the emotional aspects of terminating a marriage, divorcing couples must also make a number of difficult determinations, such as how marital assets will be divided, how parenting time will be shared, and whether one party will be required to provide spousal support, or alimony, to the other. Resolving these types of issues can be complicated, especially for those who do not have legal representation. So if you and your spouse are considering divorce, it is important to contact a dedicated Alliance, OH divorce attorney who has the experience and resources necessary to act as an advocate on your behalf.
Ohio is an equitable distribution state, which means that a couple’s marital property must be divided fairly and equitably. Because the equitable distribution rules only apply to marital property, it is especially important for divorcing parties to clearly identify which assets are marital and which are non-marital. Marital property is essentially made up of any assets that were acquired by either spouse during a marriage. This is true regardless of whose name is actually on the title, credit card, or bank account. Separate property, on the other hand, is any property that was purchased or acquired prior to the marriage by one spouse. However, if the property later becomes commingled with marital assets, it too could fall under the category of divisible property. Inheritances, gifts, and personal injury awards remain the private property of the original owner, even if they were acquired during the marriage. Student loans incurred during the marriage are sometimes marital property, and sometimes separate property, depending on whether the person incurring the student loan earned money using that degree during the marriage. This analysis can be complex, and fact-specific. If the student loan is separate property, the other spouse will not be responsible for paying any of it.
After determining how a couple’s assets will be divided, courts are often tasked with deciding whether to award reasonable spousal support to either party. These awards can take the form of installments or lump sum payments. Sometimes the parties agree to allocate more than half of the marital property in lieu of spousal support. In determining whether spousal support is appropriate, courts look at a series of statutory factors, including but not limited to:
After evaluating these factors, a judge will determine whether alimony is appropriate, how much an award will be, what form it will take, and how long it must be paid. Spousal support awards can vary greatly among different jurisdictions. An experienced attorney can give you her opinion about what types of spousal support award could be awarded in your jurisdiction.
In Ohio, courts often presume that awarding shared parenting time to divorcing spouses is usually in a child’s best interests, absent abuse or addiction issues. Shared parenting means that both parties have decision making responsibility for their children, but does not necessarily mean equal parenting time. Courts are primarily guided by what arrangement would be in the best interests of the child, however, which requires a case by case analysis of the following statutory factors:
Sometimes, when parents are unable to agree as to parenting time, the court may appoint a neutral Guardian ad Litem to investigate and make recommendations for parenting time, in the best interest of the children. To ensure that you fully understand the process, and to protect your own child’s best interests during the divorce process, please contact an experienced divorce attorney for advice.
Please call Fout Law at 330-437-7455 to speak with a dedicated Alliance, OH divorce lawyer about your divorce-related questions and concerns.