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.

How does cheating affect your divorce settlement

Divorce proceedings are a difficult and trying time where emotions can run high.  The turmoil of divorce can be made worse if you learn your spouse has been cheating on you.  Even if the indiscretions do not trigger the divorce, having a cheating spouse can be psychologically damaging and can lead to additional stress during the divorce.   Many people will ask lawyers what the legal impact of a cheating spouse can be.  The majority of Columbus, Ohio divorce lawyers will say that it has little affect in the courtroom, but a huge affect when negotiating a settlement.

Ohio Divorce Law : Adultery

Unless the court discovers financial misconduct, Ohio is generally a no-fault divorce state.  In no-fault states, the court isn’t looking to place blame during a divorce hearing, so the court tends to ignore instances of cheating, focusing instead on the dissolution of the marriage.  If there is financial misconduct, and the cheating spouse spends marital assets on his or her paramour, the cheating partner will have to pay up.  The courts will likely award an additional amount to the faithful spouse to compensate for the expenditure of joint funds.  This is generally rare, as the majority of cases don’t require the extra step of going to court.

Wife Cheated Divorce Settlement

The real impact of cheating during divorce proceedings occurs when you settle a case out of court.  Since the overwhelming majority of cases settle outside of the courtroom, the spouse who was cheated on often has a great advantage in negotiating the settlement.  Generally the unfaithful spouse will feel remorseful and often quick to acquiesce to the requests of the other spouse. Guilt and other emotions often come into play during negotiation settlements, giving one spouse an advantage that he or she will surely take.

This is why finding the right Ohio divorce lawyer is so important.  They will make sure that if you are the cheating spouse, you still focus on a positive outcome while negotiating.  Adversely, if you are the faithful spouse, and you feel you deserve more of the marital assets because of the indiscretion, the right attorney will be able to fight and negotiate for you to get you what you want.  It is important not to let emotions get away from you during negotiations.  Proper legal representation will keep you focused on the matter at hand and help you keep your emotions away from the negotiation table.

The last and most important question that people with children ask is what effect does a cheating spouse have on custody arrangements.  Generally if the divorce proceedings progress to court, the judge will look at the impact that the indiscretion had on the child.  Did the child witness the affair, has the new boyfriend or girlfriend of the cheating spouse been convicted of a crime?  The court must ask questions like that to ensure the child is placed in a safe environment after the divorce proceedings.  If the matter is settled out of court, then it is important that you discuss with your attorney any incidents that you felt put your child at risk.  Again, find an attorney who specializes in family law to help you navigate the common pitfalls of Divorce.

Enforcing an Ohio Divorce Decree

Signing a divorce decree obligates you and your former spouse to fulfill each of the agreed-upon conditions. While circumstances may make minor, occasional, and unintentional violations unavoidable and forgivable, resolving long-term problems requires going back to court to compel compliance. Three reasons you may need to enforce a divorce decree are when your previous partner:

  • Stops making spousal support (alimony) and child-support payments
  • Refuses to allow visits with your children or keeps your kids longer than specified in divorce papers
  • Retains more proceeds from the sale of shared property or refuses to surrender listed items

Even when you and your ex agree that sticking to the original terms of the divorce no longer makes sense, deciding to alter arrangements without going back to court constitutes a violation. This means, for instance, that if a move by the custodial parents from Ohio makes stays with the other parent on alternating weekends impractical, you should petition the court to alter visitation rights.

Things to Understand When Seeking to Enforce a Divorce Decree

You must document every violation by your former spouse. This means, among other things, keeping copies of late and/or short support payments, details of checks returned for insufficient funds, and evidence that payment could have been made. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services maintains an Office of Child Support in every county. Staff there can help you explore nonjudicial options to secure payments and, if necessary, build a court case.

The results of being found in violation of a divorce decree can be harsh. Civil judgments can include

  • Orders to pay all past-due spousal support and child support with interest and penalties
  • Orders to pay the complaining spouse’s court costs
  • Garnishment of wages
  • Revocation of visitation rights
  • Forfeiture of property

Spouses who do not make support payments despite having adequate financial resources can go to jail. Refusing to abide by visitation agreements can also result in jail time for contempt of court, with the length of the sentence left to the judge’s discretion.

A third possibility is that a judge can find a former spouse in violation of the divorce decree but impose no immediate penalty. One acceptable excuse for failing to pay child support for a certain period could be unemployment due to incarceration or temporary disability. Recognize, however, that leaving Ohio does not automatically relieve a custodial parent of the duty to adhere to a child visitation schedule.

Work With a Columbus Family Law Attorney to Enforce Your Divorce Decree

Ohio law permits individuals to file petitions for the enforcement of divorce decrees on their own. Taking legal action against a former spouse with the help of an experienced Columbus family law attorney, however, could enhance your chances of success. We cannot guarantee any outcome, but our attorneys know which forms need to be completed, when they need to be delivered, and who must receive the paperwork to get it the attention it deserves. We also know which questions to ask to ensure all the necessary evidence gets collected and presented to make your case for a civil or criminal judgment as strong as possible.

If your ex has not fulfilled his or her obligation under your divorce decree, call us

How to Protect Your Retirement Assets in an Ohio Divorce

In any divorce, finances and property division can get ugly—especially if one person makes more than the other. It’s risky to assume your retirement assets are secure when you divorce, and you won’t realize how much you stand to lose until it’s too late. Central Ohio divorce lawyers can advise you on what to do when it comes to protecting your retirement assets. However, there are steps you can take to help secure your retirement assets during a divorce.

Know Ohio’s Divorce Law Regarding Property

All states have different laws regarding property during a divorce. For Ohio divorce law, most property falls below “equitable distribution of property,” which means any funds received during the marriage by either spouse are subject to equitable division. However, according to Ohio law, specific property not subject to division includes:

  • Any funds that were earned prior to the marriage by either spouse, and that spouse is entitled to keep it
  • Income generated by passive means
  • Any property attained after the divorce is finalized
  • Inheritance for either spouse

Other factors under Ohio law can impede a 50/50 division of property, but these factors are carefully considered by your attorney and the court. Your attorney will discuss which factors affect your assets in detail with you, which is why it’s crucial to keep current financial records of your property. These factors include:

  • Marriage length
  • Age and physical health of both spouses
  • Property or income purchased by each spouse
  • The standard cost of living for each spouse
  • Any agreements made between spouses during the marriage concerning property

It’s imperative to know which factors will affect you during the divorce. It’s also a good idea to restrict retirement accounts from receiving additional funds, and record all monetary deposits and withdrawals.

Stop Contributing to Your 401(k) and IRA

Don’t expect your 401(k) or IRA to be completely protected from division. When the idea of “divorce” begins to float around in your home, stop making any monetary contributions to your IRA or 401(k). These retirement accounts would be divided between each spouse, especially if your husband or wife made any contributions.

It’s also vital to ask your employer to stop making contributions to your retirement and savings accounts. Some individuals lose over half of their contributions after the divorce only because they continued investing money into their retirement and savings accounts.

Monitor and Record all Your Debts and Assets

Take an inventory of everything you own: your financial assets and debts. You need to record all your financially-owned assets, and to know where your money is at all times and where it goes. Keep copies of credit accounts and loans, and note any funds that were recently received or removed. Also, make notes of home equity, business debts, and tax returns. Anything you have purchased, invested or contributed should be accurately recorded prior to the divorce proceedings.

Hire a Divorce Attorney in Central Ohio

The most important step is to hire an attorney. Central Ohio divorce lawyers are skilled and knowledgeable in divorce law, and they will take the necessary steps to help you protect your retirement assets during divorce proceedings. Your lawyer will guide you through the process beginning with recording your accounts to finalizing the divorce and signing the papers.

Need an experienced divorce attorney to help you? Edward F. Whipps & Associates is a seasoned law firm with over 30 years of experience aggressively protecting our clients’ retirement accounts.

What Are the Rights and Benefits of Former Military Spouses?

Divorce is a stressful and complicated time for anyone, but it can be a particularly trying experience for military spouses, who are often stationed far away from their friends and loved ones while facing divorce proceedings. Military divorces pose unique issues. Many spouses divorcing a service member are concerned about whether the benefits they enjoy as military spouses will continue after their divorce.

The law typically allows for a military divorce to be filed in the state where either the husband or wife has legal residence. This generally means that the person who started the divorce files in the state where he or she is a resident. It’s important to bear in mind that the state where a military member resides has the ability to divide the military pension in a divorce. Therefore, if you file for divorce in a state that isn’t the state of residence of the military member, then the court may not be able to divide the pension.

Overview of the United Services Former Spouse Protection Act

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) addresses concerns that military spouses may have about their rights and benefits after a divorce. Under the USFSPA, a former spouse can be designated as a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) beneficiary. SBP is an annuity that allows retired service members to provide continued income to the beneficiary in the event of their death. Retiring service members are enrolled in SBP unless they choose not to participate.

The USFSPA also allows former spouses to continue receiving commissary, exchange, and health care benefits after a divorce. In order to qualify for these continued benefits, a former spouse must prove the following:

  • The service member has 20 years of creditable service
  • The marriage lasted at least 20 years
  • The marriage overlapped with the period of service for at least 20 years

A former spouse meeting these requirements is referred to as a 20/20/20 former spouse. A 20/20/20 former spouse receives full health care, commissary, and exchange benefits. The health care benefits are provided through TRICARE and military treatment facilities. Former spouses who do not meet the 20/20/20 requirement will lose their commissary and exchange privileges as soon as the divorce is final.

If a service member has 20 years of creditable service and the marriage lasted 20 years, but the marriage overlapped with the period of service by only 15 years, then the former spouse will only be entitled to full medical benefits for one year following the divorce. These former spouses are known as 20/20/15 former spouses. In order to maintain full coverage, however, the former spouse cannot remarry or join an employer-sponsored health plan. After this one-year transitional period, the 20/20/15 former spouse will be eligible to purchase a conversion health policy negotiated by the Department of Defense.

Former spouses who are not 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 are not eligible for any military health benefits after a divorce, but they are eligible to receive temporary health care coverage from the DOD Continued Health Care Benefit Program, which provides 36 months of coverage. In order to qualify for this coverage, a former spouse must enroll within 60 days of losing full military health care benefits.

Are Former Spouses Entitled to a Portion of Retirees’ Retired Pay?

There is no law that automatically entitles a former military spouse to a retiree’s military retired pay. Nevertheless, a former spouse is eligible to receive direct payments from a retiree’s retired pay if the court order satisfies specific requirements and conditions.

State courts are authorized to divide military retired pay as a marital asset or as community property in divorce proceedings. In order for a former spouse to qualify for direct payments of retired pay under the USFSPA, the former spouse must have been married to the service member for 10 years or more and the service member must have had at least 10 years of creditable service during that time.

Speak with a Columbus, Ohio Military Divorce Attorney

If you have any questions about your rights and benefits as a former military spouse, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are a Columbus, Ohio military divorce attorney with extensive experience handling divorce cases on behalf of service members and military spouses.

How the Courts Determine Who Gets Custody of a Child in Ohio

Parents normally share complete custody of a minor child, unless they go through a divorce, legal separation, annulment, or dissolution. If two parents are unable to agree on who will get custody of the minor child or children in a time like this, the courts will have to make the decision.

The decision of who will get custody varies on a case-by-base basis. Under Ohio law, judges are required to make a decision about parental rights and responsibilities based on a child’s best interest. They must inquire about the care and maintenance of the child in order to make an appropriate decision.

In the past, the courts typically granted custody to the mother, while the father provided child support. Today, child custody cases are no longer based on the gender of the parent. It has become increasingly common for fathers to win custody of their children. Although most custody disputes are between the father and mother, a third party may be involved in some cases, such as if one or both parents has passed away or if a parent is unable to care for a child.

Factors That the Courts Consider When Assigning Parental Rights

The primary goal of the court is to provide a stable environment for the child. A parent who cannot provide proper childcare or who does not have a stable work situation may not be able to get custody of a child. There are various factors that the courts must consider when determining which parent should get custody, including the following:

  • Employment status
  • Personality and disposition
  • Relationship with the child
  • Home environment
  • Physical and mental health
  • The parent’s motive in seeking custody
  • Child-rearing skills
  • Whether a parent or any member of a parent’s household has been convicted of or has pleaded guilty to domestic violence, a sexual offense, or any other crime

Other factors that the courts may consider include the impact that moving could have on the child and whether or not the parent plans to relocate with the child. The courts may also consider the child’s wishes regarding whom he or she wants to live with, if the child is old enough to make that decision.

Under Ohio law, unless a court order deems otherwise, the biological mother of a child born outside of wedlock is considered the legal custodian and sole residential parent of the child. Biological fathers do not have rights to custody or parenting time for children born outside of wedlock unless they pursue those rights in court. In order for a biological father to win custody, he must establish paternity and then bring an action for custody or parenting time before an Ohio juvenile court.

Joint Custody vs. Shared Custody

Joint custody, also known as shared parenting, is a parenting agreement in which both parents are considered the residential parent of the minor and both equally share in decision-making for the child. Sole custody is when one parent is designated as the custodial parent and has the right to make decisions in all matters concerning the child.

Once the courts make a decision regarding sole custody or joint custody, it can be difficult to overturn that decision. However, there are situations when a custody decision made by the court can be changed, such as if a custodial parent develops a drug or alcohol addiction or if a custodial parent is convicted of a crime and goes to prison.

As a parent, there is nothing more important to you than your children. If you’re going through a divorce or dealing with a custody dispute, having the help of an experienced child custody attorney can be invaluable.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

If your family is facing child custody issues and you need a child custody attorney in Columbus, Ohio, contact us. At our law firm, children matter the most. We understand the impact that custody disputes can have on children and strongly encourage parents to put their children first and reach an amicable agreement. Our goal is to help children transition to a happy and positive future.

Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce in Ohio

A divorce is a court agreement that a marriage is legally over. The court will only enter a judgment of divorce if it finds that certain grounds for divorce exist. “No-fault” grounds for divorce include incompatibility or living separate and apart for a year. “Fault” grounds for divorce include bigamy, adultery, willful absence for one year, gross neglect of duty, etc. Divorce is not the only way to end a marriage in Ohio, however. You can also terminate a marriage through annulment.

Annulment is a court decree that a marriage is legally invalid because of a defect that existed at the time the marriage was entered into. An annulment decree essentially declares that the marital status never existed in the first place. A court can grant a marriage annulment only when certain circumstances exist. The following are the six grounds for annulment in Ohio:

  1. Either you or your spouse were under the age required for marriage at the time that you got married (18 years of age for males and 16 years of age for females).
  2. Either you or your spouse were already legally married and the other spouse is still alive.
  3. The marriage consent of either you or your spouse was obtained by fraud, unless you continued to live with your spouse after learning all the facts. An annulment based on fraud must be filed within two years after discovery of the fraud. For example, consent could be obtained by fraud if a spouse misrepresents his or her gender or identity.
  4. Either you or your spouse had been declared mentally incompetent, unless competency was restored later and you subsequently lived together as husband and wife.
  5. The marriage consent of either you or your spouse was obtained by force, unless you lived together as husband and wife afterward. This type of annulment must be filed within two years of the marriage date.
  6. The marriage was never consummated, or in other words, you and your spouse didn’t have physical relations following the ceremony. This type of annulment must be filed within two years of the date of the marriage.

In order to have a marriage annulled in Ohio, you must prove one of the six grounds of annulment listed above. Most annulments are filed early in a marriage because in many situations, you must bring a request for annulment within two years of the marriage date or within two years of discovering the facts.

You can file a petition for annulment with the court, addressing the grounds for the annulment. The petition must be served on the defendant spouse. Keep in mind that if you file an annulment, spousal support cannot be awarded. The Ohio statute that allows a party to recover attorney fees doesn’t apply to annulments, either. However, in civil annulment cases that involve fraud, the court may award attorney fees.

Hire a Columbus Divorce Lawyer to File a Petition for Annulment in Ohio

Because the grounds for annulment are complicated and the actions that the court must take are not always clear, it is a good idea to hire a Columbus divorce lawyer to represent you. An attorney can help you determine whether you should file for a divorce or an annulment. If there are grounds for both divorce and annulment, consider the amount of property you have and the financial compensation you need. If after assessing the facts of your case, it looks like you are likely to be awarded spousal support or attorney fees, keep in mind that a divorce would give you access to these remedies but an annulment most likely would not. Divorce may also be a better option if you accumulated a significant amount of marital property during your marriage.

If you or a loved one is contemplating a divorce or annulment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Columbus divorce lawyers. We have over 30 years of experience providing sound and thoughtful counsel in divorce cases. We also have a strong track record of obtaining much-needed financial support and other favorable outcomes for our clients.

Tips for Preparing for a High Net Worth Divorce in Ohio

Divorce is often a delicate and painful issue for all involved. If one or both parties in a divorce have a high net worth, dividing the marital estate can be even more complicated. It’s not uncommon for high net worth individuals to feel overwhelmed during the divorce process because there is so much at stake and emotions are running high.

High net worth divorce cases require more expertise than typical divorce cases because there may be an ownership interest in a business, an extensive investment portfolio, inheritances, or other complications. High net worth divorce attorneys must work closely with accountants, actuaries, business appraisers, and real estate appraisers to assess your case and provide an objective analysis.

Start with a Plan

It’s important to begin a high net worth divorce with a specific plan. First, gather all of the necessary accounting and business records to prepare a balance sheet of assets and debts. Your Columbus divorce attorney may bring in forensic accountants, business appraisers, and other experts to help during the planning stages.

Determine Marital vs. Separate Property

In Ohio, the property that you bring into the marriage is known as separate property. Marital property is property owned by both the husband and wife. Separate property doesn’t become marital property just because you get married. If separate property is not commingled during the marriage, it typically remains separate property.

If either party in a marriage assists in increasing the value of separate property during the marriage, the appreciation in value may be considered marital property. The premarital value of the separate party is not considered marital property, however. A high net worth divorce attorney in Columbus, Ohio can help you trace the life of complex assets throughout your marriage to determine what would be considered marital property and separate property.

Protect Your Business

If one or both parties in a divorce own a business, it’s important to accurately appraise and divide that business. Simply dividing a business in half is not considered equitable under Ohio law. An attorney would take the time to understand your business and then work with experts to accurately value it. The value of a business is tied to cash flow, receivables, and tax liabilities. Getting the help of a divorce attorney is critical to achieving equitable results when appraising and dividing a business.

Determine Spousal Support

Spousal support is a payment from one spouse to the other that is designed to prevent financial hardship following a divorce. It is typically paid on a monthly basis. Determining spousal support can be a particularly challenging issue for high net worth individuals. Each spouse may have the expectation to maintain the same quality of life during the separation and divorce process as in the marriage. The amount of spousal support that you must pay or are qualified to get is decided on a case-by-case basis. Factors that the court considers when awarding spousal support include the age, lifestyle, financial resources, and future earning potential of both parties.

In a high net worth divorce case, choosing the right Columbus high net worth divorce attorney is crucial. You need an attorney with the qualifications, experience, and resources necessary to handle the complexity of such a divorce. We have extensive experience in high net worth divorce cases. Our strong background in psychology and our in-depth understanding of how emotional issues affect divorce cases set us apart.

Should You Hire Your Own Private Ohio Divorce Judge ?

Divorce can be time-consuming and expensive.  With the numerous visits to the court, time away from other commitments, and expense of trial, many are turning toward private judges or arbitrators.  In some instances, it may be favorable to work with a private judge or arbitrator to avoid the public setting of the courthouse and to save time.  An Ohio statute has been on the books for nearly 40 years which allows private judges to handle civil cases like divorce and dissolution.  Work with a Columbus, Ohio divorce lawyer to learn if hiring a private judge is beneficial to your specific situation.

You have the right to utilize a private judge or arbitrator when seeking a divorce.  This is especially beneficial if you and your spouse have very few contested matters and hope to keep the divorce a private matter.  Uncontested divorces are often heard and decided in a fraction of the time that would be needed for a contested divorce in the court system.  As in any arbitration case, the private judge or arbitrator will hear both sides of the civil matter, and present a decision to the parties.  The decision will then be submitted to the court for confirmation.  Again, this process is much faster than seeking divorce through the court system. 

Even in contested matters, agreeing to a private judge will make the divorce process much faster.  A private judge will hear evidence from both parties, and issue a decision in all matters.  A Columbus, Ohio divorce attorney can review your specific situation and advise whether or not a private judge would be best.  While divorce through the court will still provide a satisfactory resolution and is still recommended by some divorce lawyers, Columbus, Ohio courts often set trial dates that could stretch out the length of your divorce proceedings.  Work with a family law attorney who understands the need for a swift resolution with desirable results.

The use of private judges is ever-increasing as couples seek ways to divorce without the mess of working through the court system.  Private judges heard around 20% of all divorces in Franklin County in 2012 alone.  That number is on the rise as more couples take advantage of the many benefits provided by hiring a private arbitrator, such as time-saving arbitration scheduling.  Rather than visit the court for appearances or mediation conferences with the judge at the courthouse, the private judge will meet with the parties at a mutually convenient time and place.

Lastly, if you prefer to preserve your privacy and keep your divorce out of the public eye, hiring a private judge may be in your best interest.  Many uncontested divorces are performed with limited waiting and in the privacy of an office rather than in the public eye.  Keeping assets and other marital disputes out of the courtroom may be beneficial for both business and privacy reasons.  If you feel working with a private judge would best fit your needs, contact a Columbus, Ohio divorce and family law attorney for more information.  Rather than try to find the private judge on your own, work with someone with the requisite experience and contacts to find the right arbitrator for your needs.

Our divorce attorneys understand the steps that must be taken to obtain the services of a private judge and when one should be used.  If you or a member of your family faces significant legal issues and need the experience of a family law attorney, you can arrange an initial consultation.