COMPREHENSIVE DIVORCE GUIDE FOR OHIO

Divorce rates have gone down in the past ten years, not only in Ohio but across the country. The Census Bureau released data about a year ago and not only has the divorce rate declined but so have marriages. It seems that many people are waiting longer to get married to “divorce proof” their marriage.

According to Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, “people with college degrees tend to wait longer to get married, thus having more financial independence to postpone marriage until they are more confident it will work. This translates to lower divorce rates.” But unfortunately, as long as there are marriages, there will be divorces.

THE SLATER & ZURZ DIVORCE ATTORNEYS

There are almost as many reasons for divorce as there are divorces – infidelity, financial problems, incessant arguing and physical and emotional abuse are but a few reasons people seek to end a marriage. If you feel that you have come to the end of your marriage relationship and you are considering divorce, you will want to contact an attorney. There are divorce attorneys at Slater & Zurz that have the knowledge and experience to help you. There are so many variables to be considered when contemplating divorce and the Slater & Zurz team will work with you and for you to reach a fair resolution.

TYPES OF DIVORCES

  • DISSOLUTION PROCESS

When both spouses agree on all the terms of a divorce, that is called a dissolution. These are usually less expensive and can take less time. In a dissolution, both parties mutually agree to end their marriage. There is no need to prove grounds to end the marriage. A husband and a wife need only to sign a dissolution petition which is then jointly filed in regards to property, spousal support and issues with child custody and/or child support. After the petition is filed, the parties must wait at least 30 days before a court hearing. At the court hearing, which must be held within 90 days of filing, the dissolution agreement will be reviewed and both parties must agree for the court to grant a dissolution.

  • DIVORCE PROCESS

One definition of divorce is “a legal decree that ends a marriage before the death of either spouse.” There are two types of divorce – “no fault” and “fault-based.” No-fault divorce is usually based on compatibility and no one is to blame. Grounds could include irreconcilable differences, irremediable breakdown of the relationship or loss of affection.

A “fault-based divorce” could result because of adultery, abandonment, domestic violence or abuse which could mean physical, drug or alcohol. When you choose your divorce attorney, remember that they will need your full cooperation to help you help them. You need to be honest with them – giving them facts. For instance, if you are considering a “fault-based divorce,” you must have proof for any allegations that you bring forth to your attorney. The time limit is the same for both.

  • FILING FOR DIVORCE ON YOUR OWN

Although it is perfectly legal to file for divorce on your own, it’s usually not a good idea. You might think that filing for divorce on your own will save you time and money but his is usually not the case. There are rules, paperwork and forms that you are probably unfamiliar with and in the end, you might end up paying more than you would have had you hired a good divorce lawyer.

The divorce system is complicated and unfamiliar to most people. Even if you think that your divorce will be amicable, the process of doing it yourself is not easy. Both parties must agree on everything and then you need to write down all the terms of that agreement to present to the court. Then of course you need to go through the court system to have your divorce approved. There could be many obstacles you have to overcome to do this on your own.

You need to ask yourself some questions when you are contemplating filing for divorce yourselves:

  1. Do you have minor children? – If the answer is yes, then you must figure out such things as custody, child support and rules for parenting.
  2. Is there real estate involved? – If you own a house, you’ll need to figure out who gets the property or whether it will be sold, etc.
  3. Support? – Who gets support and how much will they get and for how long?
  4. Finances? – Are there wills, stocks, credit card bills, etc.? Who is responsible for them?

After considering all of the options above, you might want to reconsider filing for divorce on your own.

SLATER & ZURZ

At Slater & Zurz, we will discuss the fees for our services during a free consultation, based on the type of divorce or dissolution you choose to pursue, the issues in your case, and our assessment of what will be involved. Throughout your case, we will strive to continuously earn and maintain your trust by treating you with the respect you deserve, by keeping you informed about all developments, and by fairly and meticulously accounting for all fees we charge.

WHEN YOU DECIDE THAT DIVORCE IS THE ONLY OPTION

When you have come to the decision that you are going to file for divorce or dissolution and you have contacted an attorney, you will have responsibilities to that divorce attorney to give them all the facts in an honest and truthful way. Don’t make innuendoes – try and be flexible – but always give him/her all the information that you have. Be open and truthful – you could be penalized by the court later if something you said was found out to be untrue. Communication with your attorney is key.

You might need (or want) to discuss: parental guardianship; possible child support and/or alimony; any premarital agreements; retirement plans, such as pensions, savings, etc.; and of course attorney fees. As long as you are open and honest, the process will run smoothly.

VISITING AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

After you have chosen your attorney, you will probably be called to visit his/her office for the talk about the information listed above. You might also be asked to fill out a client contact form and a financial statement. You should be prepared to take your financial records to the office on your first visit. Full financial disclosure is paramount – failure to do so can result in problems later.

Usually included in the items to bring to your first visit are: full names of the spouses involved in the divorce and children’s names with birthdates of minor children. Social Security numbers of all family members plus addresses, contact information and the place and date of your marriage.

Of course all financial records will be needed such as bank records, tax returns, mortgages, rental agreements, utility bills, pay stubs, credit card bills and a stock portfolio and other investments in they apply. If there are any other financial items that you think might be necessary, be sure to bring them to the initial visit. Minor children or disabled children must be considered by bringing school and medical records.

When you call Slater & Zurz to set up your initial meeting, they will confirm this list and/or advise you on other information that you might need.

GETTING A DIVORCE IN OHIO

Each county and each court in Ohio has its own way of handling divorce cases. Individual judges will also vary.
There are three categories of divorce and yours will probably fall into one of these categories:

  1. Contested Divorce – What is being contested? Child custody, finances, etc.? Negotiation is key in this type of divorce and this is often time-consuming and could result in a trial. These types of divorces usually take about a year or even longer considering the items contested and the negation process.
  2. Uncontested Divorce – Easier and shorter period of time because both parties have agreed to the divorce. Courts usually move these cases more quickly.
  3. Dissolution – Each party agrees ahead of time on all conditions of the divorce. A dissolution petition is filed and between 30 and 90 days of the filing date, there should be a hearing. If everything is in accord, the judge signs the divorce order and the dissolution is completed.
    Choose an attorney that is familiar with all the aspects of divorce and various courts and judges in your county. Your attorney will advise you of the best choice for you in the process. The law firm of Slater & Zurz have experienced Divorce and Family Law attorneys that are familiar with all aspects of your particular case. They will discuss the fees for their services during a free consultation based on your needs. You will be kept apprised during the entire process of all developments in your case.
    Call 888.534.4850 for a free consultation and they will let you know what they believe is the best way to proceed with your case.
Slater & Zurz