Divorce, Dissolution & Legal Separation: An Overview
Ohio law provides three ways for you and your spouse to end or alter your marriage: Divorce, Dissolution and Legal Separation.
Dungan & LeFevre‘s family law attorney Jack Hemm can help you navigate these processes in a way that best protects your rights and interests now and in the future. To set up a consultation, call us in Troy at 937-770-6225 or contact us by email. We advise and represent clients throughout the Miami Valley and Ohio.
What Is A Legal Separation?
A legal separation is a legal action that does not end a marriage but allows the court to issue orders regarding the division of property, spousal support and, if there are minor children, child support and parenting time. You and your spouse remain married but live separately. When the court grants a legal separation, you both must follow the court’s specific orders.
What Is A Dissolution?
A dissolution is a legal action that is possible when you and your spouse mutually agree to terminate your marriage and reach an agreement on all issues regarding the division of assets, debts, support and issues regarding minor children, if applicable. Neither party has to prove grounds to end the marriage.
After the Petition for Dissolution is filed with the court, you must wait at least 30 days before the court can hear your case, and the court must hear your case no later than 90 days after the petition is filed. At the hearing, the court will review the separation agreement, ask questions about assets and liabilities, and make sure you and your spouse understand and are satisfied with the settlement. If the court is satisfied that the agreement is fair, the court will grant the dissolution and order the separation agreement into effect.
What Is A Divorce?
A divorce is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage when the problems within a marriage simply cannot be resolved and an agreement on all issues cannot be reached without the court’s intervention. In a divorce, the court makes the final decision and issues orders about property division, spousal support and any issues regarding minor children in the event the matter is not settled between the parties prior to the final hearing.
Filing For Divorce
A divorce starts when one spouse (the plaintiff) files a complaint with the court. The plaintiff must have a reason why the divorce is being filed and eventually prove the reason for the divorce. Discuss with your attorney why you believe your spouse’s behavior justifies filing for divorce.
Notifying Your Spouse
The court will serve the defendant by certified mail or hand delivery with a copy of the complaint and a summons to appear in court. After the defendant has been served with the complaint, the defendant must file an answer with the court within 28 days. The defendant can file a counterclaim requesting a divorce, and the plaintiff can file a reply to answer the counterclaim.
Reaching An Agreement
During the course of the divorce proceedings, your divorce might be settled by you and your spouse in the event you reach an agreement. When this occurs, a separation agreement is prepared, signed by each spouse, and filed with the court. If you and your spouse are unable to resolve one or more of your disputed issues, those issues are presented to the court at a final hearing. The court will review the evidence presented and issue a ruling based on Ohio law. Our goal is always to resolve your case through negotiations and settlement conferences. However, if court intervention is necessary, our attorneys are experienced litigators with the knowledge and skills to bring any case to trial.
Whether your divorce is simple or complex, the attorneys at Dungan & LeFevre are ready to seek the results you need. If your case involves a marriage lasting more than 20 years, a business, an inheritance or a substantial gift, it is crucial that you obtain the right advice and work with an experienced Domestic Relations & Family Law attorney. Dungan & LeFevre is committed to addressing the specific needs of each client and will develop targeted legal strategies for the unique circumstances of each case.
Dungan & LeFevre‘s attorney Jack Hemm practices in the field of Domestic Relations and Family Law, and is available to discuss your legal issue with you at your convenience.