CINCINNATI DIVORCE LAWYERS
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Divorce matters can be challenging and emotional, with prolonged disputes often taking a sizable toll on the family. Ensuring the timely and efficient resolution of these sensitive matters is critical for all involved.
At Tekulve Law, we have the requisite knowledge and experience to help any divorce situation and to provide the peace of mind you need to go about your daily life knowing that your best interests will be protected.
A divorce proceeding is a lawsuit filed by one spouse against the other for termination of the marriage. Ordinarily, there is no written agreement in place when the complaint for divorce is filed, and filing for divorce launches either the Contested or Uncontested litigation process.
If the parties are unable to agree on division of assets, debts or parenting issues, the matter will proceed as a contested divorce and likely require numerous hearings or even trial to reach a resolution. Depending on the specific situation, contested divorces may require adjudication as to one or more issues involved. For example, if the parties are able to agree on issues of property and debt allocation but unable to agree as to parenting issues, a separation agreement may be submitted leaving only the issue of parental rights to be determined by the Court. Further, should the parties be in agreement with the parenting issues and fail to agree on property division, a parenting plan can be submitted leaving the issue of property allocation to the Court.
Should the parties agree on all the issues, property division, debt division and retirement plan allocation, they can prepare and submit a signed separation agreement to the Court.
If the parties have a child or children and they agree on all issues involving the child or children, they can submit signed documentation delineating that agreement. That parenting agreement can be in the form of a Shared Parenting Plan. Such a plan would put forth the parenting responsibilities agreed upon by the parents as well as a parenting schedule. The Shared Parenting Plan will allocate tax deductions and address the allocation of uncovered medical expenses. Such a plan is likewise submitted to the Court for consideration. Should the Parenting Plan be in the best interest of the child or children, the Court will adopt same in its entirety.
DIVIDING DEBTS & ASSETS IN DIVORCE
Ohio courts follow the equitable distribution model of dividing marital assets. This means that all marital property will be divided as equally as possible. Marital property includes any property that was acquired by either spouse after the date of the marriage, regardless of whether the asset is titled in both parties' names, or in the name of one spouse only.
On the other hand, some property is classified as separate property, and is not subject to equitable distribution in divorce. Separate property can include inheritances, gifts made specifically to one spouse, property owned prior to the marriage, or personal injury proceeds paid to one spouse. Additionally, if the parties executed a valid pre-nuptial agreement prior to the marriage, any property listed in that agreement is also not subject to equitable distribution in divorce.
While courts prefer a fifty-fifty division of the marital property, circumstances in which a down-the-middle split would be inequitable can lead courts to divide the assets differently, depending on the situation.
Although assets must be equitably divided, Ohio does not require debts to always be divided equally between the parties. A court can address the division of debts on a case by case basis, and sometimes the facts of a particular case demand that one spouse assume more of the marital debt than the other.
Spousal support refers to the monthly payments made from one spouse to another during or after divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to allow a spouse who is unable to support themselves financially to continue a certain standard of living during or after divorce proceedings.
In making a spousal support award determination, a court will consider numerous factors, which include, but are not limited to:
The income of the parties, from all sources;
The relative earning abilities of the parties;
The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
The retirement benefits of the parties;
The duration of the marriage;
The extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because that party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage, to seek employment outside the home;
The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
The relative extent of education of the parties;
The relative assets and liabilities of the parties;
The contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party;
The time and expense necessary for the spouse who is seeking spousal support to acquire education, training, or job experience so that they may obtain gainful employment;
The tax consequences for each party;
The lost income production capacity of either party that resulted from that party's marital responsibilities;
Any other relevant factor.
If the parties reach a written agreement regarding all issues prior to initiating court action, they may then file a Petition for Dissolution jointly. The written agreement must include resolution of all property, debt, child support, spousal support, income tax and child custody issues. Dissolution proceedings are always no-fault in nature and a final hearing is held quickly (between 30 and 90 days) after the parties’ file their Petition for Dissolution.
The key to obtaining a dissolution is negotiation of the terms of the written agreement. That negotiation can occur either as a non-adversarial process (such as in a collaborative process where the parties work together to resolve their issues) or as an adversarial process (such as in traditional lawyer negotiations). Choosing the nature of the negotiation process is therefore an extremely important decision whenever either spouse is contemplating termination of the marriage.
If you've been served with divorce papers or are seeking to pursue a divorce, call Tekulve Law today at 513-752-0001 to schedule your free consultation.