In Ohio, couples who file for divorce are permitted to use either fault or no-fault grounds as the basis for dissolving their marriage. Unlike many other states, Ohio also allows couples to legally separate before they officially file for divorce. While this does not legally end the marriage, it does allow courts to begin issuing orders on property division, child support, and the allocation of parenting time. In either case, the parties involved must comply with a series of important substantive and procedural requirements, so whether you are considering legal separation or have already decided to file for divorce, you should speak with an experienced Jackson divorce attorney who can advise you.
When both parties to a marriage agree to terminate the relationship, neither spouse is required to provide grounds for the marriage to be dissolved. Instead, the couple can jointly file a dissolution petition after they have signed a separation agreement regarding alimony, child support, custody, and property division. Once a petition is filed, couples must wait for at least a month before the court will hear the case. Once the hearing has been scheduled, the parties will appear, at which point the judge will:
If the court is satisfied with the parties’ responses and approves the custody and support arrangements, it will grant a dissolution and make the separation agreement a final court order.
A dissolution of marriage petition is only available to couples who can come to an out-of-court agreement regarding property division and child custody. Otherwise, one of the parties will need to file for divorce, which is essentially a civil lawsuit to end a marriage. Eventually, the court will step in and make the final decision on issues that the couple is unable to agree on, including matters related to the couple’s children, the division of marital assets, and alimony.
One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is dividing marital assets. Ohio is an equitable division state, which means that judges will presume that marital assets should be divided equitably, which often means equally. Marital property is made up of assets acquired during a marriage, including personal property, bank accounts, real estate, retirement plans, and stocks and bonds, regardless of who actually has legal title. However, not all assets are treated as marital property. For instance, property owned before a marriage, any assets obtained in an inheritance, gifts made to one party, awards for personal injury claims, and any income or appreciation of separate property that didn’t come from a marital contribution is considered separate property. These assets, unlike marital property, will remain in the sole possession of the original owner. All other assets, however, will be divided in a way that the judge deems fair.
Courts can also allocate the parental rights and responsibilities for a couple’s children between the parties. Although it is presumed that allowing a child to retain equal contact with and access to both of his or her parents is preferable, judges will ultimately make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
If you are considering filing for divorce, please call Fout Law at 330-437-7455 to set up a consultation with an experienced Jackson divorce attorney. Our skilled legal team is prepared to assist you immediately.
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