Canton Legal Separation Lawyer
Ohio recognizes three distinct ways to end a relationship. A couple hoping to terminate their marriage legally can file for dissolution or divorce. If a couple wants to separate but not legally end their union, they can file for the third option: a legal separation. Legal separation has several benefits and may be a preferred option for religious or cultural reasons.
At Slater & Zurz, our family law attorneys provide dedicated representation for individuals filing for legal separation in Canton, Ohio. We understand that deciding to file for legal separation is not easy. We are here to help you understand your rights and help you pursue a fair outcome in your case. Contact our office for a free consultation on filing for legal separation in Canton. Call (330) 968-2547 to get started.
What Is Legal Separation?
Unlike divorce or dissolution of marriage, a legal separation does not formally (or legally) end the marriage. A legal separation allows the court issue orders resolving debts and assets, spousal support, and parental rights and responsibilities. In divorce and legal separation proceedings, the court will always aim to distribute equally between spouses.
Without the assistance of an experienced Canton legal separation lawyer, you may be at the court’s mercy. A lawyer acts as your advocate, helping to prove why you should receive things like spousal support, child support, or custody of the children.
Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?
Legal separation and divorce are recognized as two distinct legal concepts in Ohio. In a divorce, the court issues an order to terminate the union legally. In a legal separation, the marriage remains legally intact, but the court issues orders determining property rights, parenting time, alimony, and other factors common to divorce.
Do I Have to File for Legal Separation to Get Divorced in Ohio?
Ohio law does not require a person to file for legal separation to get divorced. Legal separation is a separate and distinct legal procedure. A spouse served with a complaint or petition for legal separation can file a counterclaim of divorce.
At any point, either spouse can file for divorce or dissolution of marriage. It is essential to discuss all of your legal options with a highly-qualified Canton legal separation attorney as early in the process as possible.
What Are the Grounds for Legal Separation in Ohio?
The court of common pleas may grant a legal separation only if the person seeking separation has stated and proven that they have valid grounds or legal reasons for the separation. The grounds for legal separation are codified in the Ohio Revised Code Section 3015.17.
A court may grant a legal separation for one of the following causes:
- Willful absence for at least one year;
- Extreme cruelty;
- Fraudulent contract;
- Gross neglect of duty;
- Habitual drunkenness;
- Imprisonment of the other party;
- Spouses have been living separate and apart for at least one year without cohabitation or interruption, or
Failure to state legal grounds for the separation could result in your complaint being denied or dismissed. A Canton legal separation lawyer can help you understand your rights and the legal separation process.
Are There Residency Requirements for Legal Separation in Canton?
Like most other states, Ohio has strict residency requirements for filing for divorce or dissolution of marriage. To file for a divorce in the state, the plaintiff must have been a resident of Ohio for at least six (6) months before filing the petition. To file a dissolution of marriage, at least one of the spouses must have been a state resident for at least six (6) months before filing.
While there are no residency requirements for seeking a legal separation in Ohio, the action must be brought in the proper county according to Section 3105.03 of the Ohio Revised Codes and following the Rules of Civil Procedure. Many people seek legal separation because they do not meet the residency requirements for a divorce or dissolution of marriage.
Do Both Spouses Have to Agree to a Legal Separation?
Both spouses must agree to the legal separation. If one spouse files a petition for a legal separation, but the other spouse wants a divorce, the responding spouse must file a counterclaim seeking a divorce.
What Is Determined by the Court of Common Pleas in a Legal Separation?
The procedure for filing for legal separation is the same as filing for a divorce. The person filing for legal separation must allege jurisdiction and grounds and request a court order. Legal separation requests are heard through the Stark County Court of Common Pleas in Canton, Ohio.
The court may issue orders concerning:
- The division of property
- Parental rights and responsibilities
- Child support
- Spousal support
The court may also consider any other matters that should be addressed before granting the petitioner’s request for a legal separation. It is important to note that unlike a divorce or dissolution of marriage, a legal separation does not legally end the marriage.
Will I Receive or Have to Pay Spousal Support If I Am Legally Separated?
During legal separation proceedings, the court will issue orders regarding spousal support. Spousal support refers to payments made to a spouse or former spouse for sustenance and support. The court may award reasonable spousal support to either spouse during this process.
The court considers several factors when determining whether spousal support is appropriate, including:
- The income, assets, and liabilities of the parties
- Relative earning abilities of both spouses
- Mental, physical, and emotional conditions of the spouses
- The ages and education of the parties
- The retirement benefits of either spouse
- The duration of the marriage
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Tax consequences
The court of common pleas may also consider any other factor they find relevant and equitable in awarding spousal support to one party. A Canton legal separation lawyer can help advocate for your position to receive support or mitigate the amount you have to pay.
Why Should I Consider Legal Separation?
People consider legal separation for a variety of reasons. Unlike divorce or dissolution of marriage proceedings, a legal separation does not have a six (6) month residency requirement. In addition, many people consider legal separation because there are significant tax and retirement benefits to maintaining the marriage.
Sometimes, the couple may feel that divorce is frowned upon by their religion or culture. And still, for others, a legal separation allows them to maintain their marriage for their children. Since a legal separation does not legally terminate the marriage, it may be the preferred choice for a couple who might reconcile after a time apart.
Before beginning any family law procedure, speaking directly with a Canton legal separation lawyer is in your best interest. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and clearly explain your legal options.
Do I Need an Attorney to File for Legal Separation in Canton?
While not required by law, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice before filing for legal separation in Canton. The process is complex and often complicated by emotion, frustration, and fear by both parties.
A Canton legal separation lawyer will not only represent and advocate for your interests, but they can also ensure that the proceedings run as smoothly as possible.
Family law matters can take months or longer to resolve without the help of an attorney. Retaining a lawyer early in the process can help save you time and money while giving you access to the resources you need to move forward with your life.
Why Slater & Zurz?
At Slater & Zurz, we know how difficult it is to decide to legally separate from a spouse. It is never easy to decide to end a relationship. Even when both parties agree to the separation, several potentially contentious issues may have to be resolved.
Our Canton legal separation lawyers understand these challenges. For over 30 years, we have been providing dedicated, client-centric representation for our clients. Our firm works hard to find amicable solutions to family law matters while aggressively pursuing our client’s best interests.
Filing for Legal Separation in Canton? Call Our Office Today.
If you have questions about filing a legal separation in Canton, contact our office at (330) 968-2547 for a free consultation. Our lawyers can help you understand the legal process and file the appropriate paperwork in the court of common pleas.
All consultations are confidential and without obligation to retain our services. Get the experience you need when results matter. Call now to speak directly with a Canton family law attorney today.