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Family Law Frequently Asked Questions

Although most people don’t enter a marriage with the thought that it might end prematurely, the unfortunate reality is that many will have to endure the pain of divorce. For those that have reached the point where divorce is the last remaining option, questions are likely more prevalent than answers. Here are answers to some of the most common questions in the divorce process:

What is a divorce? What is a dissolution?

Divorce is a lawsuit to terminate the marriage. It may involve many issues: custody, support, visitation, property, asset and debt division, etc. The parties are fighting over at least one of these issues.

A dissolution is a dissolving of the marriage, by agreement, where the parties are not in dispute over any property, support or child-related issues. They agree on all issues.

What are the grounds for divorce in Ohio?

Ohio is a "no-fault" divorce state. This means in order to get divorced it is not necessary to prove either spouse caused the breakdown of the marriage. One party merely needs to prove that the parties are “incompatible” . This is the single most common grounds for divorce in Ohio. In some situations it is preferable to seek a divorce based on fault. The grounds for fault in Ohio include gross neglect and extreme cruelty, adultery, or living separate and apart for more than one year.

What is the procedure in a Divorce?

The first step toward ending the marriage is to file a Complaint. This document requests a divorce. Along with the Complaint, it is common for one party or the other to request Restraining Orders. The purpose of Restraining Orders is to make sure that both parties "do the right thing" regarding dealing with each other, children, mail, bank accounts, credit cards, personal property, etc.

Once the Complaint has been filed and the other party served, they are given 28 days to respond. If they do not, the Court will set the matter as an uncontested divorce. This type of case will proceed without the other party if he or she chooses not to respond. An uncontested divorce can also be one where, after the divorce is started, the parties reach an agreement and settle the lawsuit.

If the other party responds to the Complaint by choosing to fight, the Court sees this matter as contested and they set a pre-trial and a trial. Any issues that can’t be settled will go to trial.

The overall divorce process averages approximately six months in length, although it could be as short as 60 days or as long as 2 years!

Can I get support during the Divorce?

Yes. If you and your spouse are not living together, and your children are living with you, the Court will generally award Temporary Child Support while the divorce is proceeding. Whether you have children or not, if your spouse earns a significant amount more than you, you may also be able to receive Temporary Spousal Support (Alimony).

How is Child Support Calculated?

Child Support in Ohio is based primarily on the gross incomes of the two parties. A new spouses’ income is not considered. Additional children from another relationship, or the responsibility to pay support for other children will be factored in, as will the cost of health insurance for your children.