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.