Until recently, couples who decided to legally end their marriages in Ohio were required to prove that one of the parties had committed adultery, suffered from a mental defect, had a substance abuse problem, was guilty of abandonment, or had committed mental or physical abuse. Fortunately, this is no longer required, as Ohio along with 33 other states has transitioned away from a fault-based approach to divorce. This is not to say, however, that legally ending a marriage is a simple or pain free process, so if you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce, it is critical to contact an experienced Green divorce attorney who can protect your interests and help you avoid common pitfalls.
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is determining who will retain which assets. Ohio is an equitable distribution state, which means that only marital assets, or assets that were acquired during a couple’s marriage, are divisible upon dissolution. Separate property, on the other hand, which includes assets that were purchased or otherwise acquired before the marriage took place, will remain in the hands of the original owner. The only exceptions to these rules involve inheritances or gifts given to one spouse, even if gifted during a marriage, as these assets will remain in the sole possession of the recipient. Similarly, separate assets that were commingled, which include property that has become so intermingled with marital property as to become indistinguishable, must be divided upon divorce.
Besides deciding how marital assets will be divided, divorcing couples must also grapple with whether one party will be required to make regular spousal maintenance payments to the other, and if so, in what amount, for how long, and the form that they should take. In many cases, alimony awards take the form of regular payments, while in others, they could be made up of one time, lump sum payments, or even the transfer of a certain piece of valuable property. Although it is still possible to award permanent alimony, many judges choose instead to order alimony for a period of time deemed sufficient to help the lesser earning spouse transition to post-divorce life.
Couples with children who wish to legally end their marriages will only be permitted to do so after coming up with a parenting plan that a judge deems suitable and in the children’s best interests. These parenting plans must include a division of responsibility for parental decision making, as well as a schedule of how parenting time will be divided. In most cases, these plans must also contain details about how the child’s transportation to and from each parent’s residence will be handled, how parents will communicate about childcare-related issues, and whether one parent will be required to pay child support.
For help filing for divorce, negotiating a property settlement, coming to an alimony agreement, or reaching a child custody arrangement, please contact a member of the dedicated Green, Ohio divorce legal team at Fout Law today.