When a couple cannot overcome the conflicts and challenges in their marriage, divorce is always a last resort, but sometimes it can be the healthiest option for them and their children. A divorce can be complicated or fairly simple, depending on the couple’s assets, the length of their marriage, their willingness to cooperate with the court and each other, and whether or not they have children.
To file for divorce in Ohio, the filing spouse must have resided in Ohio for at least six months and his or her current county for at least 90 days. A divorce petition is filed with the Court of Common Pleas of the county where the filing party lives.
Ohio is a no-fault divorce state, which means that it is not necessary to prove grounds such as adultery, to get divorced. Instead, a divorce can be granted to a couple that states that they are incompatible, or that they have been living apart for at least one year. Otherwise, a party must prove grounds of bigamy, adultery, fraud, imprisonment, willful abandonment for one year or longer, abuse, or alcoholism in order to obtain a divorce.
Your divorce settlement will include a property division order. In Ohio, divorcing couples’ marital assets are divided equitably, which means that they are not necessarily split 50/50. With equitable division, the court considers a set of factors about the couple, such as their incomes, the tax burden of each asset, and each partner’s future employability, to determine an appropriate way to divide their assets and debts. Certain assets and debts are treated as separate property, and might not be subject to division in a divorce: inheritance, property owned prior to the marriage, and some student loans, for example. Proving that certain property is separate can be difficult, however.
If you have children, a child custody order will also be part of your divorce settlement. How much time your child spends with each parent after the divorce, and who makes which decisions concerning the child, depends on what the court deems to be in your child’s best interest. You will also have a child support order, which is money paid from one parent to the other to help cover expenses related to raising your child.
If you or your partner sacrificed part or all of a career to care for your home and children, spousal support may also be part of your divorce settlement.
Do not assume that your divorce will be a heated battle in a courtroom. Though this can happen, you have other options.
One of these options is mediation. Mediation is a process through which a couple works with a neutral third party to reach a mutually satisfying divorce settlement. Mediation sessions generally take place in mediators’ offices. Choosing mediation can save you money by cutting out court costs and lawyer’s fees, since you will need to spend less time with your lawyer.
Another out of court option is a collaborative divorce. This type of divorce uses mediation concepts, but there is no mediator. Instead collaboratively trained lawyers meet with their respective clients in a series of four-way meetings, to work out the details of their divorce settlement, with a commitment to completely open disclosure of all assets and debts, and a commitment not to litigate. Other neutral experts may be brought in as needed in more complex cases such as: a financial neutral, a communication coach, or a child specialist. Like mediation, choosing a collaborative divorce is an out of court option that empowers the parties to create their own solutions, rather than having a court impose decisions on them.
An experienced divorce lawyer can be your advocate through the divorce process and guide you to productive choices for ending your marriage. To learn more about your rights, options, and what you can expect from the divorce process, contact Fout Law Office to schedule your initial consultation in our office.