Domestic Relations

Domestic Relations law, also called Family Law, deals with the termination of marriage and the support of the spouse and minor children.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a divorce and dissolution?

Both a divorce and a dissolution ultimately end with the termination of a marriage. In a dissolution, both husband and wife agree that the marriage should end and also agree to the terms of their separation – amount of spousal and child support, how assets will be distributed and how debts will be handled. A divorce is necessary when either one party does not want to terminate the marriage and/or the parties cannot agree to the terms of the separation noted above. In a divorce, the judge will decide the terms of the couple’s separation.

Does Ohio have “No Fault” divorce?

No. In order to successfully obtain a divorce, the filing party needs grounds (i.e. reasons) to follow in order to file the Complaint for divorce. However, these grounds are fairly easy to prove.

How are marital assets and debts divided?

Any assets obtained during the marriage and any debts incurred (which both party benefited from) are divided equally between the husband and wife.

Is there any property which will not be split in half by the parties?

An inheritance and property brought into a marriage can be retained by the party whose owns this asset. However, the husband or wife had to keep the property separate during the marriage in order to keep possession post divorce.

How long is the divorce or dissolution process?

In a divorce, because the parties cannot come to an agreement as to how assets will be divided, who will have custody of the children, etc. a divorce can last for well over a year. With a dissolution, once the parties have put all their agreements in writing and filed a petition for dissolution with the court, the marriage can be dissolved within 2 months.

Can I expect to receive spousal support?

Spousal support (formerly called alimony) is not as common as it once was and is not automatically awarded. However, the longer the marriage and the greater the income disparity between the husband and wife, the more likely support will be awarded for at least some period of time.

Is child support required?

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, child support is always awarded. Child support is set by a predetermined schedule and is based upon the income of the husband and wife. Child support terminates when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later.

What is a Shared Parenting Plan?

A Shared Parenting Plan is a binding agreement between the mother and father that states each party will take an equal role in making the most important decisions regarding the child, such as what medical care the child should receive, where the child will go to school, etc. Without a Shared Parenting Plan, the custodial parent makes all the decisions and the other parent has only visitation rights.

What if I feel my child support award should be amended?

In the event of a change of circumstances, particularly a rise or fall of income of one of the parties, either party can petition the court to adjust the child support. However, the resulting change in child support must increase or decrease more than 10% of the previous amount for the change to take effect.

What if my former spouse is not abiding by the terms of our separation or shared parenting plan?

If you have attempted to resolve the issue with your ex-spouse to no avail, then the aggrieved party can file a motion to “show cause” with the local domestic relations court and begin the process for the court to hold the non-cooperating party in contempt and force them to abide by the terms of the agreement.