Whether you are the spouse wanting the divorce or the decision was mutual, there’s no question the choice to end a marriage can be a difficult and painful event. Dissolving a marriage takes time, and certain legal obligations need to be in place to protect the interests of each spouse and the children.
When parents end a marriage, often one of the primary concerns is how the situation will affect the children. The Ohio court system makes rulings with the welfare of the children in mind and, for this reason, requires divorcing spouses to make a parenting plan. This plan will address co-parenting wishes by each parent. The ideal scenario is a plan in which spouses can jointly agree.
There are two forms of child custody: legal and physical. In Ohio, four types are possible with legal custody being joint or sole and physical custody being joint or sole as well. Legal custody refers to parents having the right to make decisions on important choices in the lives of the children, such as in the areas of education and religion. Physical custody means the children live with the parents.
Child support is calculated through a basic formula and enforced by the court. Even though the calculations follow specific child support guidelines, the court can increase or decrease the amounts based on the circumstances within each case. Some of the factors used to determine support are:
- The gross income of each parent
- The number of children in the household
- The costs for childcare, health insurance and other responsibilities
- The parenting time of each spouse
- Other relevant factors as necessary
In Cleveland, Ohio, along with the rest of the state, property is designated as either marital or separate. Assets and debts that have been acquired during the marriage will generally belong to both spouses.
Division Of Property
When couples go through a divorce, dividing property can be a contentious process. In some instances, such as commingled property, the true owner of the property can be especially difficult to identify. In Ohio, property and debts are divided equitably. While many may think this means creating two equal halves, it does not. The court will consider division of property based upon the length of the marriage, the costs to sell items, taxes and the financial needs of each spouse, among other factors.
In Ohio, there are two types of divorce – fault and no-fault. With a fault divorce it is necessary to show one of the grounds such as, adultery, was committed. In a no-fault divorce, a couple must comply with one of two conditions – a year of living apart or establishment of a mutual incompatibility agreement. As alternatives to divorce, it is also possible to legally separate, file dissolution or annul a marriage.
A legal separation is regarded in some instances as a trial run to divorce. It is for couples not ready to dissolve the marriage. Like in a divorce, however, child support, visitation and alimony are resolved, despite a couple remaining married. Couples that file for legal separation are not subject to the six-month residency requirement.
Couples who legally separate, rather than divorce, often do so for religious or financial purposes.
This process takes less time than a divorce, but the main condition that has to be met is that spouses agree on all issues before filing. There is little court involvement in dissolution. Couples need to be able to cooperate and work through all the issues. Filing dissolution will take significantly less time than a divorce; a marriage is often terminated in three months, as opposed to a year for divorce.
The court defines a marriage that should have never existed in the first place, an “invalid” union. Certain grounds for an annulment need to exist, such as:
- Mental incapacity
- Fraud or force
- Close blood relation
- Marriage not consummated
Evidence needs to be shown to the court in order to be granted an annulment. A skilled divorce lawyer can identify the type of proof required in court.
The goal is to work through the issues of the divorce and avoid a lengthy trial process. ADR is a cost-effective option that also saves time. Spouses will meet with a neutral third party to resolve issues that are contested.
A mediator can help with the following:
- Exploring a wide range of solutions
- Promoting effective communication
- Resolving disputes in a productive manner
Mediation is an ideal method to preserve spousal relationships and can be a way to protect children from the often-grueling adversarial process.
A divorce can be a tumultuous and life-changing event with future repercussions. Whether there is a family business involved or a concern over child custody issues, an experienced Cleveland attorney can answer all your questions and inform you on all aspects of divorce. When you have solid legal information, it becomes possible to make wise decisions for you and your family.
When looking to choose a lawyer to represent you during a divorce proceeding, it is wise to hire an attorney who focuses on divorce in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s important to select an attorney with a focus in family law rather than a general practice lawyer. The attorney you choose can make a difference in the outcome of your case.
To begin the divorce process or learn more about the legal steps, fill out the free case review form to get in contact with an experienced local divorce lawyer.