FAMILY LAW FAQS

DIVORCE

  • To file for divorce in Ohio, you must be legally married, and you must have lived in the state for at least six months.

  • You can file for divorce in Ohio if your spouse lives in another state.

  • If you file (or your spouse files) for a fault-based divorce, a finding of fault can impact issues including property division, alimony, and child custody. It can also indirectly impact child custody rights, as the court may find that living with a parent who committed adultery or spent time in prison for a crime may not be in the best interests of the child.

  • While it is technically possible to have one attorney represent both spouses in a divorce, we generally don’t recommend it. In most divorces, there are just too many conflicts for both spouses to have the same legal counsel. In addition, if any issue in your divorce starts to look like it might possibly end up going to court, you will likely have to hire a separate attorney anyway.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

  • In Ohio, the term “dissolution of marriage” is used to refer to a type of non-adversarial, no-fault divorce. In other states, it is simply the legal term for a divorce. 

  • Since an Ohio dissolution is a non-adversarial process, a dissolution is usually quicker than a divorce since each spouse agrees ahead of time on the terms of their divorce. In Ohio, the dissolution is scheduled for a final hearing between 30 and 90 days of the filing date.

DISTRIBUTION OF MARITAL PROPERTY

  • Ohio is not a community property state. Instead, division of property in a divorce under Ohio law is subject to a rule known as, “equitable distribution.”

Generally speaking, marital property includes any assets that either spouse acquires during the marriage. However, there are several important exceptions, including gifts and inheritances received by a single spouse.

 If a couple only has one significant asset (like a house or car), then that asset may need to be sold so that each spouse can receive an equitable portion of the proceeds from the sale.

 

SPOUSAL SUPPORT AKA ALIMONY

  • Whether you are entitled to alimony (also referred to as “spousal support”) will depend on the specific circumstances involved in your divorce. In general, spouses with less income and less earning potential are more likely to receive alimony, though these are just two considerations in a long list of possible factors.

  • Your spouse may be entitled to alimony if he or she earns substantially less than you do, or if he or she gave up employment or educational opportunities in order to take care of your family. Unlike other states, Ohio does not distinguish between various forms of alimony. The general list of factors (see below) applies in any divorce where either spouse seeks long-term or short-term financial support.

CHILD CUSTODY & CHILD SUPPORT

  • Custody is understandably most parents’ top priority when going through a divorce. In Ohio, as in most states, custody rights are determined based on the best interests of the child. There are numerous factors the courts consider and that spouses need to weigh when developing parenting plans.

  • To determine if you are entitled to child support, you will need to conduct a thorough assessment of your current and anticipated future financial circumstances. The parent who is considered the “breadwinner,” will typically be required to pay child support, though this is not necessarily always the case.

  • In Ohio, with only limited exceptions, child support payments are calculated according to strict guidelines established by the state legislature. There are standard worksheets and schedules that parents are required to use in order to determine their child support rights and obligations.

GRANDPARENTS' RIGHTS

  • Grandparents rights’ include both, custody or grandparent visitation. 

  • The Grandparent needs to prove to the Court that both parents are unfit or unsuitable, then demonstrate that it is in the “best interests” of the minor child that they be placed in the custody of the grandparent.