SKILLED IN DIVORCE CASES
Ending a marriage is never an easy decision. However, finally deciding to pull the plug is relatively easy compared to actually navigating your way through the Ohio court system.
At Groth & Associates, we represent clients in a divorce. We wear many hats in the process, counseling and advising them on the best course of conduct but also fighting for their rights in a courtroom. Please contact us today to learn more.
OPTIONS FOR SPLITTING UP
Ohio law actually gives men and women several options for ending their marriage. When we meet with clients, we discuss how they want to split up:
- Dissolution of marriage. When a couple agrees to end their marriage, they can file a petition for dissolution. They file jointly with the separation agreement that resolves issues such as the division of marital property, spousal support, child support, and the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (child custody).
- Divorce. When couples can’t agree on the critical issues discussed above, they can request a divorce. This is a civil lawsuit, which asks the judge to decide the issues for them.
- Legal separation. With this option, the couple remains married but the court issues orders regarding support, the division of marital property, and the allocation of parental rights/responsibilities. Couples sometimes choose to stay married for religious reasons or to qualify for certain spousal benefits.
Not every option is available to all couples. For example, you must live in Ohio for at least six months to file for dissolution of marriage. When meeting with a Perrysburg divorce lawyer, make sure you fully understand all options.
For a legal consultation with a divorce lawyer serving Perrysburg, call (419) 930-3030
Couples who have children could be in for a rough divorce. They will need to determine child custody—what is now called the “allocation of rights and responsibilities” in Ohio. Regardless of the name change, however, the concept remains the same. Parents will need to decide who has the legal right to make decisions regarding education, religion, and health care. They will also need to come up with a parenting plan that determines who the children live with and when.
Many child custody issues are in dispute, and sometimes a judge must decide the issue. A judge will decide custody issues by considering what is in the best interests of the child. Our lawyers are skilled at helping clients find common ground with a spouse to avoid a lengthy, emotional lawsuit. Nevertheless, we are prepared to fight when necessary.
Parents also must support their children financially, even when children do not live with them. Ohio has created guidelines that have standardized the calculation of child support. These guidelines consider many factors, such as the number of children, each parent’s income, and the amount of time the children will spend physically with each parent. Child support also includes the costs of daycare and health insurance.
Regardless of the guidelines, judges retain authority to depart from the guidelines if necessary. Judges are not even required to use the guidelines when parents have very high incomes.
Family Lawyer Near Me (419) 930-3030
DIVIDING MARITAL PROPERTY
Another key area of dispute involves dividing the marital estate. Couples who have been married for any meaningful length of time have usually amassed significant assets. Under Ohio law, anything obtained while married is marital—regardless of who paid for it or whose name is on the title or deed.
Some of the more common marital assets include:
- Investments (stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, etc.)
- Retirement accounts
- Investment properties
- Personal property
A person can leave the marriage with their separate property. This includes anything they owned before marriage, as well as inheritances and gifts to only one spouse received during the marriage.
Men and women are free to decide how to divide their property. When they can’t agree, a judge will do so based on a variety of considerations, such as the length of the marriage and each spouse’s assets and liabilities. A spouse who hides assets might receive less property.
Divorce can devastate a lower-earning spouse, who might seek alimony, now called spousal support. Courts have the power to award support, though they are not required to. Judges look at many factors, including each spouse’s age and earning potential, to determine whether to award support and how much.
Increasingly, the trend is to short-term spousal support with a definite end date. Permanent spousal support is much less common unless a spouse is permanently disabled. Support often allows one spouse to obtain education or more work experience with the ultimate goal of becoming self-supporting.
Complete a Case Evaluation form now
A divorce can take a year or more to work its way through the court system. During that time, the couple will probably live apart. However, the world does not stand still for a divorcing couple. They still need to raise their children and pay their bills, including their mortgage.
This is where temporary orders come in. They last only for the duration of the divorce and can be used to determine who gets to live in the marital home, as well as how parental rights are allocated. If necessary, a judge can also order temporary child support and alimony.
It is vital that our clients do not overlook the importance of temporary orders. They often set the stage for what will ultimately ripen into the final orders contained in the divorce decree. If you want your children to live with you during the school year, for example, it is critical not to agree to a temporary living arrangement where the children are with the other parent. A judge might assume that this arrangement “works” for everybody and fold it into the final order.
NEGOTIATING A FAVORABLE DIVORCE
Many of our clients want to do anything to avoid a contested trial. Divorce is a public process, and there is always the risk that the other side will air dirty laundry. Although we think there is a time to fight, we also understand the value of reaching an agreement amicably. At our firm, we listen closely to our client’s goals and develop a map that allows them to get where they want to go.
CONTACT A PERRYSBURG DIVORCE LAWYER TODAY
If divorce is on the horizon, or if you have received divorce papers, please call Groth & Associates to schedule a free consultation.