How to File for Divorce in Ohio

The decision to file for divorce can be one of the most difficult decisions a person will ever face. Once you have come to the realization that a relationship has moved beyond repair, knowing where to turn for good, reliable answers can be a daunting task. Friends and coworkers may have advice or offer anecdotal information that just serves to fuel anxiety and confusion.

Rather than spending time worrying about what the process might entail, associated costs, or even how to proceed, consider seeking help from an experienced divorce attorney serving the Columbus, Ohio area. An attorney can help you determine which path is best for your situation. Gaining confidence through understanding the process itself is a vital first step.

The Process of Filing for Divorce in Ohio

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage. It is achieved through a final judgement by the court that a marriage is legally over and will include a finding of fault or reason the marriage has ended. This can include the ‘no-fault’ reason of incompatibility or legally recognized causes such as adultery, extreme cruelty, neglect, abandonment or even imprisonment.

The person who petitions the court for a divorce files the complaint with the court, asking to be relieved of marital duty and to divide assets and obligations within the marriage. The spouse who files this complaint is referred to as the petitioner. The petition for divorce can include deciding who owns which property and investments, as well as who will be responsible for paying which debt obligations in the future.

The other spouse becomes the defendant and gets an opportunity to answer the complaint. They may agree with items in the complaint or dispute them and offer opposing evidence or new counter claims of their own. They may also decide not to respond at all and the judge will make a determination based on the evidence provided by the initial petition alone. Generally, as these cases proceed, the goal is to find acceptable terms for both parties prior to a final review by a judge. This is where the assistance of an experienced attorney can be so vital to the final outcome.

As the initial case moves through the process, it is important to note that spouses may file petitions for child support, temporary custody orders, requests for spousal support or other orders appropriate to their unique circumstances. This can help maintain necessary relief during the ongoing negotiation process and help ensure that both parties are not under duress while negations are underway and the divorce case is still under consideration.

A pre-trial hearing may be scheduled to determine if both parties agree to the specific terms of their case. If anything is still in dispute, the pre-trial hearing identifies those points that will need to be decided at the trial. In these instances, the final discovery process dates are set, witness information is provided, and all final details for a trial will be outlined. As Ohio does not permit jury trials in divorce proceedings, a county judge will hear the case at a later date.

No matter what may have caused you to consider divorce, taking the next step can be made easier with the skillful guidance of a qualified divorce attorney. Your situation is unique and your very real concerns deserve individualized attention. Step away from the anxiety and consult with an expert dedicated to ensuring you have the accurate information you need to begin making a solid plan to move forward.

Contact the Columbus, OH Divorce Attorneys

Our attorneys have been focused on helping families like yours for over 30 years. Call or email to discuss your specific circumstances and concerns with one of our seasoned attorneys.

Guide to Spousal Support & Alimony in Ohio

The periods before, during, and after a divorce can be devastating for all parties involved. The courts take this into consideration and offer aid that can reduce the financial impact of divorce. Financial assistance that provides such support is called alimony, or spousal support in Ohio.

Spousal support is financial assistance paid from one former spouse to another. The spouse who is at a financial disadvantage will receive financial assistance from the former spouse who is at a financial advantage. This assistance helps them maintain the standard of living they had during the marriage and gain financial independence.

Spousal support laws vary by state. That’s why it’s important to speak with a Columbus, Ohio divorce lawyer to determine whether your divorce should include a request for spousal support.

Requirements for Receiving Spousal Support in Ohio

There are no set guidelines for spousal support in Ohio. The court determines the amount and duration of the support on a case-by-case basis. Either spouse may seek spousal support, whether husband or wife. Who it will be awarded to is based solely on the income and resources of both spouses.

In the past, spousal support was primarily sought by ex-wives and paid by ex-husbands, but times are changing. Over the past decade, as women obtain more lucrative careers and salaries in the workplace, there has been a significant rise in the number of men who seek and are awarded spousal support.

When Spousal Support Should Be Sought

It’s a popular misconception that spousal support is involved in every divorce case, but the truth is that financial assistance from a former spouse is not always required. But in certain instances when a marriage ends, spousal support is very necessary.

If a couple that has been legally married gets divorced or legally separated, the spouse who is at a financial disadvantage may seek a court order for spousal support. Spousal support payments can help a spouse with necessary living expenses such as rent, mortgage, food, clothing, transportation costs, and medical costs.

Although the two are often confused, spousal support and the division of marital property during divorce proceedings are not one and the same. In Ohio, spousal support is determined after the division of marital properly has taken place.

How Spousal Support Is Determined in Ohio

The Court of Ohio is responsible for determining the fairness of each spousal support order. Support may be in the form of financial payments as well as real estate or personal property. Support may be paid in lump sums or in installments.

Payments may also be deducted through a spouse’s federal taxes. All spousal support is tax-deductible for the spouse providing the support payments. Any spouse who receives the spousal support payments is required to report all payments received as income and is fully responsible for paying taxes on them.

In determining the recipient and amount of spousal support to be awarded in Ohio, the court must take the following 14 factors into consideration:

  • The income of both parties (including income earned from property awarded in the divorce proceeding)
  • The earning abilities of both parties
  • The ages and well-being (physical, mental, and emotional) of both parties
  • The retirement benefits of both parties
  • The length of the marriage
  • The ability of the spouse who is custodian of a minor child from the marriage to seek employment outside of the home
  • The standard of living that both parties established during the marriage
  • The level of education of both parties
  • The assets and liabilities of both parties, including any court-ordered payments
  • Any contribution of one party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other
  • The expenses and time necessary for the party seeking spousal support to gain education, training, or job experience that would make them qualify for gainful employment
  • The potential tax consequences that spousal support could have on both parties
  • The loss of or the negative impact on the ability to produce income resulting from performing marital responsibilities
  • Any other fact that the Court of Ohio finds relevant

If you’re seeking spousal support payments, get in touch with the experienced spousal support attorneys have been working on spousal support cases for over 30 years. To schedule a confidential legal consultation, please call or email.