Getting a Divorce in Columbus, OH? Here's How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help
Choosing the Right Legal Method: Divorce vs. Dissolution
Ohio law allows divorcing parties to choose from two common legal methods to end their marriage: divorce and dissolution.
A divorce is when either spouse files a lawsuit against their partner in order to end the marriage. This is the more formal method of ending a marriage and can be resolved through negotiations or court proceedings.
A dissolution is an agreement between both parties to end the marriage without going to court. This is also called a no-fault divorce. This method is generally less expensive and faster than a divorce, but both parties must agree on all issues in order for it to proceed.
What Is a No-Fault Divorce?
A no-fault divorce, also called a dissolution, is a divorce that is based on a claim of irreconcilable differences or an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” These terms describe incompatibility, which means you and your partner no longer agree or get along and there’s no hope for reconciliation.
To qualify for a no-fault dissolution, either you or your spouse must have lived in Ohio for at least six months. With a no-fault divorce, you don’t have to prove either spouse did anything wrong in order to end the marriage. All that must be proven is that the marriage can’t be saved and both parties agree on all issues related to their divorce, such as division of assets or spousal support.
If either spouse denies the claim, you’ll be forced to file for a formal divorce that requires you to prove fault.
What Is a Fault Divorce?
In many US states, including Ohio, courts still recognize the concept of “fault” when it comes to divorce. This means that fault or blame must be proven in order for a marriage to end.
If you want to file for divorce in Columbus, Ohio, living in the state for a minimum of six months is required. Defending your fault-based divorce requires filing a legal complaint and establishing that your spouse is at fault based on one or more legal grounds.
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Legal Grounds for Divorce in Ohio
For an at-fault divorce in Ohio, you must have a legal reason. This reason is referred to as “grounds” for divorce.
Some legal grounds are more likely to generate legal arguments than others. If your partner disagrees with your legal grounds, you will have to prove them in legal proceedings. The process can be complicated since you’ll need to provide evidence and find witnesses to prove that at least one of the grounds is true.
Some recognized grounds under Section 3105.01 of the Ohio Revised Code include:
Divorces are often unforeseen and uncomfortable. It’s important to remember that every case is unique and it’s essential to have experienced legal guidance throughout the entire process, especially since fault can have a great impact on the outcome of the case.
What To Expect From Common Divorce Matters in Ohio
Once the grounds for divorce are established, the court will move on to deciding any other issues related to the divorce. These can include a variety of matters, such as property division, spousal support, parental rights, and determining child support.
The court generally uses an equitable approach to dividing marital property between the two parties, meaning they will try to maintain a fair balance while taking into account each party’s contributions to the marriage. The same goes for other matters such as child support and spousal support.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Division of Property in Ohio Divorces
The court may consider either party’s misconduct as a factor in marital dividing property. For instance, if one party wasted marital funds on activities that were not of the family’s benefit, such as an extramarital affair, the court may give the innocent party a greater share of the property.
The court determines what is considered marital property by applying appropriate case laws and statutory laws. This is equally divided unless otherwise explained in writing that an equal property division would not be fair to one party.
Ohio statutes have defining factors for separate and marital property:
Alimony and Spousal Support in Ohio
Alimony, or spousal support in Ohio, is an amount that one spouse gives to the other for financial support during and or after the divorce. This support is intended to ensure that both parties can cover ordinary expenses and maintain a lifestyle nearly similar to the one they got accustomed to during the marriage.
As with most issues in a divorce process, spouses can agree on the details and terms of support and present it to the court. However, alimony isn’t automatic in Ohio; therefore, when parties can’t agree, the court decides if the requesting party qualifies for spousal support and, if so, how much and for how long.
Allocating Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Ohio
Ohio courts take several factors into consideration when making child custody decisions.
Previously, Ohio courts granted child custody to one spouse or the other. But currently, the court divides parental rights and responsibilities between both parents based on the best interest of the children considered minors. Shared parenting does not necessarily mean equal time-sharing.
The spouses can submit a parenting plan for shared parenting to the court for review and approval. The court can accept the plan, request an amendment, or deny the plan.
Without a plan, the court will allocate responsibilities between the parties naming one spouse as the legal custodian and sole residential parent and granting the other appropriate parenting rights.
The Role of the Court in Determining Child Custody
Upon the request of a parent, the court must talk to the child privately about their wishes regarding parenting arrangements. The court may appoint a guardian for the child to investigate the circumstances and report. However, the court considers but is not bound by the child’s wishes or the guardian’s recommendation.
If one parent is abusive, the court may deny parental rights to that spouse and grant the other sole custody. The court may also consider relocation when allocating parental rights such as custody or visitation.
In addition, several factors are considered during a divorce, including the child’s mental, psychological, and emotional development, adjustment to the new home, community, and school, and interaction with siblings, parents, and other important persons. With these factors in mind, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney who can help you navigate the complex process and ensure the best possible outcome for you and your children.
Determining Child Support in Ohio
For a divorce involving minor children who have not yet reached the age of 18, the court must consider child support issues.
Ohio law uses child support guidelines to calculate child support. The amount of child support is determined by the set basic schedules depending on the number of children and the total gross income of the parents combined, as well as other factors like credit. Medical cover costs and necessary child care are considered, and the resulting support obligation is divided according to each parent’s income percentages to their combined annual income.
While the amount of child support calculated using these factors is presumed appropriate, the court can deviate from the basic charts when the calculated amount is inequitable and isn’t in the child’s best interest.
What to Expect During a Divorce Trial in Ohio
When spouses can’t agree on the terms of their divorce case and aren’t able to settle their issues, it’s up to the family law judge to decide the outcome of divorce proceedings. This process is called a divorce trial. It is rare for divorce cases to go to trial since most are uncontested or mediated; however, some cases do proceed to court.
During a trial, both parties in the divorce must present evidence and arguments for why they should get what they are asking for in the divorce. Each spouse’s lawyer has the chance to examine witnesses and submit documents. The judge then reviews all of the evidence and arguments presented
After hearing both sides, the judge will make rulings on alimony, property division, parental rights and responsibilities, and child support. The court’s ruling is based on the evidence presented and any applicable laws, not on personal opinions or feelings. The judge will keep in mind the best interests of both parties and any minor children involved.
How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help You Through the Trial Process
Navigating the complex divorce process can be challenging, and the life-changing consequences of divorce cases aren’t something to take lightly. That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced attorney guide you through the stages of litigation if your case goes to trial, which can last from several hours to several weeks.
Before the trial date, your attorney will help you prepare by reviewing your legal issues and gathering necessary information about finances, assets, debts, and any unique circumstances. It is their responsibility to ensure that all evidence is properly presented before the court and that your case is thoroughly prepared.
While divorce trials are challenging and costly experiences, an experienced attorney can help save you and your family a great deal of time and money. Attorney fees and divorce filing costs can add up quickly, putting your family and finances under stress. That’s why it’s important to take steps to avoid them whenever possible by attempting to settle family law matters through divorce mediation or negotiation instead of litigation.
Navigate Your Divorce Case with Confidence and Clarity With Columbus OH Divorce Lawyers
If you or your family are involved in a divorce or other family law matter, you need an experienced family law attorney who cares about your well-being and who will work hard to protect your interests. A qualified attorney with experience in divorce cases and family law services can help you navigate the process with confidence and clarity.
At the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak, our team of divorce attorneys has years of experience successfully resolving family law matters in the Columbus, OH area. Our law firm provides legal services for a variety of family law situations, including family dispute, child custody cases, and a variety of divorce cases. We can help you with divorce filing, contested divorce and uncontested divorce, collaborative divorce, and divorce mediation.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and let us guide you through this difficult time.