Divorce in Ohio
Termination & Litigation
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"At Fault" Divorce.
The "at fault" divorce proceeding requires the court to make rulings.
A divorce is a contested hearing wherein one spouse alleges that the other has been “at fault” under one of the statutory grounds for divorce permitted under Ohio law. According to Ohio law, “fault” grounds include adultery, willful absence for more than one year, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness, gross neglect of duty, fraudulent contract, imprisonment in a state or federal penal institution, and procuring a divorce outside of Ohio if the Ohio spouse is still bound to the marriage.
A divorce cannot be granted, however, unless the testimony of the complaining party is supported by a witness. Thus, a “non-contested divorce” requires you to bring a witness to court to testify that “grounds” exist to support the divorce. While other states have adopted a “no-fault” statutory scheme, the only true “no-fault” grounds for divorce permitted by Ohio is “living separate and apart for one year without interruption and without cohabitation” and “incompatibility” not denied by either party.
Cases are settled by agreement or by a trial judge.
While a divorce case is going on, each party has the right to find out about all property, marital or not, owned by either or both parties. Professionals are often brought in to determine the value of assets such as real estate, businesses, and pension plans. These professionals can be brought into court through the use of subpoenas. In Ohio, there are no jury divorce trials. Divorce cases are either settled by agreement of the parties or tried before a trial judge or magistrate. If a case is settled, the agreement becomes the court’s order. One or both of the parties may obtain the divorce without lengthy testimony about the grounds for the divorce, and it may not be necessary for more than one party to appear at the final hearing. If a divorce case is contested all the way through a trial, and one or both parties are unhappy with the court’s decision, an appeal may be filed with the court of appeals. A three-judge panel will review the court’s decision. Obviously, hiring an attorney with proven trial litigation skills is preferable to seeking a remedy through the costly appeal process.
A "No Fault" Divorce - Dissolution
A "no fault" divorce proceeding requires cooperation of all parties.
Unlike a divorce, fault grounds are not at issue. Dissolution is often thought of as no-fault divorce. A dissolution petition is not filed with the court until the parties have reached an agreement on all the issues that must be addressed in a divorce matter.
Designation of a residential parent, parental rights, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of property, payment of debts, and payment of attorney fees must be considered in either case. While the parties are negotiating, there is no subpoena power available, so the parties must voluntarily trade information. Professionals can, however, be hired to evaluate property, etc.
A dissolution of marriage process (or "no fault divorce") may eliminate much of the divorce process and expense.
When an agreement is reached and filed with the court, a hearing must take place within 30 to 90 days.
Both parties must appear and testify that they are satisfied with the agreement; that they have made full disclosure of all assets and liabilities; that they have voluntarily signed the agreement; and that they both want the marriage dissolved. The court must also approve the parties’ agreement. Because there is no court involvement until an agreement is reached, all the temporary orders and possible hearings that might occur in a divorce case are avoided. The end result of both a divorce and a dissolution of marriage is the same: the marriage is terminated.
Life after a Divorce
The Age Old Question: What Happens Now?
You are driving home after your final divorce hearing when it hits you. I’m done! It’s finally over! When the relief of a final divorce hearing fades you are left with some very fundamental questions about what happens next.
"I pride myself on being there for you for the long haul and being a resource for you as long as you will need me. Often, a short consultation can provide peace of mind or clarify how the court would interpret your actions. I'm there if any issues ever arise with child support, visitation, or if there needs to be a custody change." - Jamie Anderson