Statistically, half of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce. Despite divorce’s prevalence and likelihood, not many people know much about the process, other than that it ends a marriage. If you have found yourself in the same sort of situation, do not worry. You are not alone, and you still have time to get some basic questions and concerns addressed.
At The Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak, our Columbus divorce attorneys like to provide our clients and potential clients with knowledge, information, and resources to make their divorces and family law disputes easier to understand. We have prepared a comprehensive Ohio divorce FAQ to help you along the way. Of course, if you know that you would prefer letting one of our lawyers manage your case from start to finish instead, we invite you to call 614-334-6851 at any time to set up a free consultation with our team.
FAQ for Ohio Divorce
- Do I need a reason to file for divorce?
In the past, people would need to have a specific reason for wanting to divorce, like an incident of infidelity or domestic violence, in order for a court to allow the divorce to proceed. This led many people to feel trapped in an unhappy marriage. Thankfully, all 50 states now recognize no-fault divorces, which allow you to file for divorce just for the reason of no longer wanting to be married. This is quite beneficial if you do not want to air your dirty laundry in public court records by announcing the exact reason why you want your marriage to end. For example, when celebrity couples divorce, they usually put “irreconcilable differences” as the reason, which is a different way of saying it is a no-fault divorce.
- What is an uncontested and contested divorce?
Each divorce will be considered either contested or uncontested by the court. An uncontested divorce occurs when Spouse A hands a completed petition for divorce to Spouse B, and Spouse B sees no reason to make any changes before it goes to court for final approval. A contested divorce occurs if Spouse B decides one or more things proposed by Spouse A are unacceptable and should be changed. A contested divorce does not automatically mean courtroom litigation is necessary, but it does mean it is likely.
- How do I begin my divorce?
Have you decided it is time to end your marriage? You can start your divorce by creating a petition for divorce, which might have a slightly different legal name depending on your state or county. In Ohio, the document is called a “Complaint” for divorce. The petition needs to outline your entire expectations for your divorce, and your separate lives afterwards. It is advised you work with an Ohio divorce lawyer when making your petition to ensure it is legally sound and comprehensive. Once you are satisfied with your petition, it will need to be served upon your spouse, who then decides his or her response. Afterwards, your agreed-upon divorce petition will be filed with a local court, or you will need to go to court to resolve unfinished contests.
- Do I need to go to court?
No one but attorneys want to go to court. However, essentially everyone going through a divorce will have to go to court at one point or another. Even if your divorce is civilized and uncontested, you and your spouse will have to go before a judge at least once to get the divorce approved. Keep in mind that if you really hate the courtroom, you will need to go to it more often depending on how often you and your spouse fight over your divorce petition. A mindset of cooperation could help keep you both out of court.
- Will mediation work for my divorce?
Mediation is a fantastic alternate to traditional divorce procedures. During mediation, you and your spouse agree to meet with a neutral mediator to discuss how your divorce will pan out. The mediator is not there to take sides with one spouse or the other, nor are they there to make decisions. Instead, mediators help guide the conversation and answer any legal questions the parties may have. Meditation might work for your divorce if you and your spouse are on good enough terms to sit in a room together and genuinely try to cooperate towards one common goal: the fair and equitable ending of your marriage.
- Will I get alimony from my ex-spouse?
Spousal support, alimony, and spousal maintenance are all family law tools that help keep a spouse of lesser income on their feet during and after a divorce. There is nothing that will guarantee you will collect alimony from an ex-spouse just because you make less income than they do. Spousal support is generally only issued when there is a large disparity between both spouses’ incomes, the parties have been married for a time exceeding ten years, and the spouse of lesser income would fall into undue hardship without financial assistance, though exceptions to this general rule have been known to occur.
- How is child custody usually determined?
Out of all the processes involved in a typical divorce, child custody might be the most contentious and high-stakes. An Ohio family law court has a duty to assign child custody in a way that protects the child’s best interests. That is to say, the spouse who is best fit to be a parent will be assigned sole or primary custody. Parents will have an increased chance of being given primary custody if they have steady employment, a clean criminal record, no medical conditions, live in a safe neighborhood, and so forth.
- What will it cost me to go through a divorce?
It is natural for you to be wondering how much money it will cost to finalize your divorce. Unfortunately, it is also natural for there to be no exact answer to that question. Most divorce attorneys charge by the hour. The more complex your divorce, or the more you and your spouse fight over each detail, the longer it will take and the more expensive it may become. Hotly contested divorces will also require more court dates, and you are expected to pay a court cost each time you go before a judge.
- Will my divorce take long to conclude?
Along the same lines of thinking for the question about how much your divorce will cost, how long it takes your divorce to conclude is also not set in stone. It will vary depending on contested issued and the complexity of those issues. If we had to give an estimate, though, it could be said that a “fast” divorce will end in two months, an “average” divorce ends in six months to a year, and an “extended” divorce will take a year or two.
- My spouse ran away – can I still divorce them?
It might seem highly unusual but it is certainly not unheard of for a spouse to pack a suitcase and effectively disappear to start a new life. No matter why your spouse cannot be located, you can still file for divorce, but the process will be different and more complicated. You will be expected to make reasonable attempts to locate them and let them know you are filing for divorce. You may also need to post your divorce petition in public papers on the off-chance your missing spouse reads it. After a certain amount of time passes, which can vary depending on case details, you will be able to proceed with divorce as if it is uncontested.
Remember: If you have additional questions or concerns about your divorce in Ohio, please feel free to talk with one of our Columbus divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak.