Filing for divorce is never easy. Aside from the usual emotional upheaval, the two parties must decide how to split concrete, tangible property in a practical matter. Who gets the house and car? How will our finances be arranged? How will the kids spend time with their parents?

Not to mention, divorce is handled differently state by state. In Ohio, divorce can be filed under either fault or no-fault grounds. Divorce filed as no-fault divorce means that the spouses are incompatible and one of the spouses simply no longer wishes to be married.

A fault-based divorce means that the circumstances that caused the divorce are statutorily recognized as grounds for divorce. Each of these circumstances carries with them alternate rulings in regard to property proceedings, alimony, child custody, and child support.

Without an experienced attorney, a divorce lawsuit can be difficult to navigate. Finding good legal guidance will go a long way in alleviating some of the most instrumental problems facing divorce.

Attorney for Divorce in Columbus, Ohio

If you or a loved one is going through a divorce, an experienced family law attorney has the potential to get you on the right track. A divorce can be difficult, confusing ordeal to process and recover from; its effects potentially lasting an entire lifetime.

If you are seeking a divorce lawyer anywhere in the Columbus, Ohio area; including Franklin County, Delaware County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Fairfield County, and Licking County, Joslyn Law Firm will represent you.

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm have successfully handled numerous family law cases, especially divorce suits. If you need an experienced, family law attorney with extensive knowledge of the Ohio court of common pleas, contact Joslyn Law Firm today at (614) 420-2424 for a free consultation.

Overview for Divorce in Ohio

Jurisdiction over Divorce and Party Requirements

Divorce and family law cases in Ohio are heard in the Court of Common Pleas in the Division of Courts of Domestic Relations. The court of common pleas has full equitable powers and jurisdiction over divorce cases. It will seek to determine the correct and rightful verdict on all domestic relation matters.

To file for divorce, there are a number of requirements that need to be met for proceedings to move forward. First, one of the parties, in most cases the party who initially filed for the divorce, must prove residency in Ohio for at least six months before filing the complaint. Even if the marriage took place in another state, the court of common pleas in the county of residency will hear and determine the case.

The members must also provide proof of marriage. In most cases, proof of cohabitation and reputation of the marriage between the two partners is competent evidence in proving the marriage. But under certain circumstances, the court may need more sufficient evidence to establish the marriage.

How is Property Divided After Divorce?

After a divorce is filed, the court will determine how shared property will be allocated. This can be a messy debacle. Ohio law categorizes properties as either separate property, or marital property.

Once the property has been characterized as separate or marital property, the court will begin equitable division of the property. The following are the definitions for the different properties that the court must divide equitably.

  • Marital Property – Any of the following:
    • All real and personal property owned by either or both spouses, including but not limited to, retirement benefits;
    • All interest that either or both of the spouses currently has in any real or personal property;
    • All income and appreciation on separate property due to the labor, monetary or in-kind contribution of either or both of the spouses;
    • Money from participant accounts in state and municipal deferred compensation plans.
  • Separate Property – All real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property that is found by the court to be any of the following:
    • An inheritance by one spouse by bequest, devise, or descent during the course of the marriage;
    • Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that was acquired by one spouse prior to the date of the marriage;
    • Passive income and appreciation acquired from the separate property by one spouse during the marriage;
    • Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property acquired by one spouse after a decree of legal separation;
    • Any real or personal property or interest in real or personal property that is excluded by a valid antenuptial agreement;
    • Compensation to a spouse for the spouse’s personal injury, except for loss of martial earnings and compensation for expenses paid from marital assets; or
    • Any gift of any real or personal property or of an interest in real or personal property that is made after the date of the marriage and that is proven by clear and convincing evidence to have been given to only one spouse.

In making a division of martial property, the court must consider all relevant factors. Ohio Revised Code § 3105.171(F) states the following factors the court takes into account when dividing shared property.

  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Assets and liabilities of the spouses;
  • The desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to reside in the family home for reasonable periods of time, to the spouse with custody of the children of the marriage;
  • The liquidity of the property liquidated;
  • The economic desirability of retaining intact an asset or an interest in an asset;
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective awards to be made to each spouse;
  • The costs of sale, if it is necessary that an asset be sold to effectuate an equitable distribution of property;
  • Any division or disbursement of property made in a separation agreement that was voluntarily entered into by the spouses;
  • Any retirement benefits of the spouses, excluding the social security benefits of a spouse; and
  • Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.

Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage

A marriage can be legally ended in two ways, divorce or dissolution of marriage. If a person files a complaint that their spouse was at fault for the end of their marriage, he or she is pursuing a divorce. The term “at fault” basically is a legally acceptable reason or fault ground that the marriage’s failure was not the petitioner’s doing.

The following are the fault grounds for a divorce:

  • Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage form which the divorce is sought;
  • Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint;
  • Procurement of a divorce outside this state, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding on the remaining party;
  • Both parties lived separate and apart for one year without cohabitation;
  • Willful absence of the adverse party for one year;
  • Adultery;
  • Extreme cruelty;
  • Fraudulent contact;
  • Any gross neglect of duty; or
  • Habitual drunkenness.

If a person successfully divorces from his or her spouse, the court may then determine that the petitioner has a legal right over more than equal distribution of shared property. Basically, the complaining party may be granted ownership over more joint martial property than the other party.

However, in order to do this, the petitioner must prove the appropriate statutory grounds for divorce. In other words, he or she must present evidence to the court that their spouse’s actions were the reason for the marriage failing.

This can be a tall order for some divorce cases. Some fault grounds can be easily proven such as a spouse being convicted for a crime. Other fault grounds are less tangible and harder to verify such as gross neglect of duty or extreme cruelty. It is very common for petitioners to testify in a divorce trial.

Dissolution of marriage could be considered a “no fault” divorce. Fault grounds are not an issue in a dissolution of marriage. A dissolution agreement can only be settled between the two parties and must include information about property division. If there are minor children from the marriage, both parties must address the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.

Once the court reviews the separation agreement, the judge will ask both parties if they agree with the details of the arrangement. If both the court and parties agree, the court will grant dissolution and make the separation agreement a court order.

If both parties do not agree, they may negotiate the terms of agreement again and set a later court date. Another option is for either spouse to convert the action for dissolution of marriage into divorce action through filing a motion. The motion must contain a complaint that states the fault grounds of the other party.

Additional Resources

Ohio Revised Code | 3105.01 – Visit LAWriter, official website for all of Ohio’s Laws and Rules, to learn more about family law court proceedings. Chapter 3105 deals exclusively with divorce, annulment, alimony and more for the state of Ohio, perfect for the edification of curious readers.

Divorce and Dissolution: What’s the Difference? – Visit the official website for the Ohio State Bar Association. Read a citizen’s guide to divorce and dissolution proceedings in Ohio’s family courts. Find more information on the differences between divorce and dissolution of marriage, and what fault grounds are.

Find a Divorce Attorney in Franklin County

Divorces can have consequences that last forever. Often, a divorce is a necessary step in one’s life, but not equipping yourself with an experienced team of support can leave you without the terms you deserve.

Joslyn Law Firm has practiced family law in the Columbus area for years. With numerous divorce cases under their belts, the attorneys Joslyn Law Firm know the courts of common pleas and seek without abatement to defend those in their employ.

Do not let yourself succumb to a divorce suit without a fight; it is imperative you do all you can. Without the legal aid of an experienced, family law attorney at your side, you could spend your whole life regretting the outcome.

If you or a loved one are going through a divorce in Columbus, in Franklin County; Delaware, in Delaware County; London, in Madison County; Lancaster, in Fairfield County; or Circleville, in Pickaway County; contact Joslyn Law Firm for legal advice.

Contact Joslyn Law Firm today at (614) 420-2424 for a free consultation today.

This page was last updated by Brian Joslyn

This article was last updated on September 21, 2018.

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