Things with my spouse are not working out. What are my options?
There are three ways to terminate a marriage in the State of Ohio: Dissolution, Divorce, and Legal Separation. The statutes governing the division of property and debt and allocation of parental rights are the same for all three options. The difference is in the process.In a dissolution, the parties to the marriage first negotiate a complete resolution of all issues arising from the marriage. The parties must agree on a distribution of assets, an allocation of debt, and all terms relating to the allocation of parental rights. Then the parties agreement is reduced to writing in a form of a Separation Agreement which is filed with the Court with a Petition for Dissolution and accompanying documents. In essence, the parties are saying to the Court that they have a marriage that they would like terminated and they have reached a resolution as to all issues. They are asking the Court only for a hearing to formalize the agreement and terminate the marriage. The Court has a 30 day statutory waiting period before the Judge can conduct the final hearing. Generally counsel can obtain certified copies of the final Judgment Entry of Dissolution so that the matter is completed on that date.If the parties to the marriage are unable to reach a resolution as to all issues, then they cannot proceed by dissolution and must file a complaint with the Court for a divorce or legal separation. In that case, the parties are essentially stating to the Court that they have a marriage that they want terminated but there is something upon which they cannot agree. The Court will set a series of pre- trials every 30 to 45 days to attempt to assist the parties in identifying the issues and reaching an agreement. After six or eight months, if the parties cannot agree, then the matter will be set for trial and the Judge will decide the remaining issues.A legal separation is the same as a divorce proceeding and is NOT intended to be a temporary “fix” or a “wake up call” to a spouse. The procedure is that same as a divorce but the parties are still legally married at the conclusion of the litigation. There are unique circumstances where a legal separation maybe the best option to proceed, however, those circumstances are rare. Your attorney should be able to advise you if your particular situation falls into that category.
What will this cost me?
Each case is truly unique and it is a policy of this office not to give quotes over the phone. I request the opportunity to consult with you so that we can discuss the issues particular to your case and determine a plan that best services your particular needs. The consultation fee is $100.00 which is non-refundable. At the consultation, I can provide quotes specific to your case and which are based upon how we anticipate you will need to proceed. In most offices, a dissolution is set at a flat fee and depends whether or not parenting orders and other additional documents such as Quit Claim Deeds and health insurance Orders are required. A divorce action generally is charged a retainer against at which a fee will be charged at an hourly rate as the work is preformed.
What am I entitled to in a divorce?
The Ohio Revised Code provides that each party is entitled to half of all property accumulated during a marriage. In essence, everything acquired from date of marriage until date of divorce is put into what I refer to as a “martial pot” and the presumption is that it should be split as equally as possible between the parties. This includes assets, debts, and rights and obligations associated with the children.
Things that will not be included in the marital pot:
Your attorney will ask you questions during your consultation that will help identify separate property and marital property. Your attorney should also be able to give you an expectation as to the outcome but there are no guarantees. Equal division is the presumption but each case is unique and presumptions can be overturned in certain circumstances.
Lisa M. Snyder Esq.
714 Court St.
Fremont, OH 43420
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