Divorce can be a daunting prospect, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the legal process. Those who fail to obtain legal counsel could end up missing important filing deadlines or failing to present the evidence necessary to obtain a fair property settlement. If you live in Ohio and are considering divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced Meyers Lake divorce attorney who can advise you.
Ohio is an equitable division state, which means that divorcing couples must divide both their marital assets and liabilities equitably upon the dissolution of their marriage. Although in some situations, couples are able to come to out-of-court agreements regarding who will retain which assets, this is not always possible. In these cases, family courts must determine the allocation of assets and liabilities. During this process, the court will determine which assets are separate property and which qualify as marital assets. Separate property are assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage took place, as well as other types of assets discussed below. Separate property assets remain in the sole possession of the original owner and are not divisible in a divorce. Marital assets, on the other hand, are those assets that were accumulated by the efforts of either spouse during the course of the marriage. There are a few types of assets that are still considered separate property even when acquired during a marriage:
Property deemed to be marital in nature must be divided equitably. Equitably does not always mean equal, however, so it is possible for one spouse to end up with more than the other after divorce. This is especially common in cases in which one of the parties is guilty of financial misconduct. When determining how assets will be divided, courts also take into consideration a number of factors, including who will retain primary custody of the couple’s children, whether one spouse makes significantly more than the other, who is retaining the family home, and the duration of the marriage.
In prior years, Ohio family law courts were in the habit of awarding primary custody to one parent when a couple divorced. Now, however, judges allocate parental rights and responsibilities between a child’s parents based on what is in his or her best interests. Shared parenting plans, for instance, ensure that both parents will have an equal say in parental decision making, even if the parenting time schedule is not equal. Courts are only permitted to grant shared parenting when one or both parties request it, however. If a proposed shared parenting is not filed by either party according to certain deadlines, or if the court deems that shared parenting is not the best interest of the children after examining certain factors under the law, the court will name one parent as the sole residential parent and legal custodian. This means that he or she is granted primary physical custody of and decision-making responsibility for the child, while the other parent will be granted visitation time. When allocating parental rights and responsibilities, courts take a number of different factors into consideration, including the child’s adjustment to his or her school and home, as well as each party’s ability to serve as a custodial parent.