Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage Attorneys in Toledo, Ohio

Stability, Security, and Hope During Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage

Ending a marriage is one of the most stressful decisions a person can make. There are questions about spousal support, child support, property division, and how to get a divorce, to name just a few.

If you are considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side who will answer your questions, make a plan to help see you through, and fight to protect the future for you and your children.

At Clarke Law, we approach divorce as true attorneys and counselors, because we know that legal advice is only part of the picture.

We also offer commercial litigation services that are especially useful if your divorce involves significant business assets.

At Clarke Law, we know that divorce and dissolution of marriage can be overwhelming. Here, we answer questions about divorce and dissolution of marriage, property division, and child and spousal support. Of course, we understand that each case is unique, and we answer all these questions and more during your initial consultation.

What Is the Difference Between Divorce and Dissolution?

Divorce, dissolution of marriage, and no-fault divorce are all ways to end a marriage in Ohio. There are distinct differences between them, and understanding these differences is key in helping you decide which option is best for you.

Ohio Divorce

In Ohio, a complaint for divorce must allege grounds for divorce. Grounds for divorce in Ohio include:

  • Either party had a living spouse at the time of the current marriage
  • One spouse’s willful absence from the marriage for one year
  • Adultery
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Fraudulent contract
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Imprisonment
  • Either spouse received a divorce outside of Ohio

When you file for a divorce, you are telling the court that one spouse’s actions led to the breakdown of the marriage. Your spouse can object to your stated reasons for divorce, so it is important that you be able to prove the conduct through testimony and evidence.

A fault-based divorce is often more adversarial than a dissolution of marriage or a no-fault divorce. But in many cases fault-based divorce is the only option, especially if you do not meet the requirements for a dissolution of marriage.

Dissolution of Marriage in Ohio

Dissolution of marriage is an option if you and your spouse agree on all aspects of a divorce. This includes, of course, that you and your spouse want to separate. But to be eligible for a dissolution of marriage, you and your spouse must also agree on how your property will be divided, child custody and child support arrangements, and spousal support arrangements.

In a dissolution of marriage, the divorcing couple present to the court a joint settlement agreement and a petition for dissolution of marriage.

One advantage to dissolution of marriage, if you are eligible, is that both spouses are able to determine what is best for their family when deciding the issues in their case.

Unlike a divorce, in a dissolution of marriage you do not need to state a reason for the dissolution.

No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce is a third option that is available if you can demonstrate that you and your spouse have lived apart for at least one year, and that you are incompatible as a couple. Generally, if both spouses agree that they are not compatible, the court will accept the divorce. But if one spouse does not agree that the marriage should end, you are not eligible for a no-fault divorce.

What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage?

Regardless of which option you choose to end your marriage, you must meet Ohio residency requirements in order to proceed with a divorce or dissolution of marriage. To be eligible, you must be able to prove that you have been a resident of Ohio for at least six months, and that you and your spouse have lived in the county where you will be filing for divorce for at least 90 days.

Residency rules are in place to prevent forum shopping, where one spouse might relocate to a jurisdiction that they believe has more favorable laws or a more favorable judge.

How Is Property Divided in an Ohio Divorce?

Ohio is an equitable division state, which means marital property will be divided as equally as possible between the spouses. The judge starts from the presumption that property will be divided equally, and will listen to arguments from each spouse as to why a different allocation of property would be fair. Ohio judges strive to make a fair distribution of property, even if that property division is not exactly equal.

Ohio law classifies property as either marital property or separate property. Marital property is divided equally between the spouses, while each spouse retains separate property that was brought to the marriage. The key, however, is determining what property is marital property, and what property is separate property.

Marital property is property that was acquired during the marriage. It often includes the home, personal property, bank accounts, and retirement benefits.

Separate property is property that was acquired before the marriage, and also includes some property that was acquired during the marriage such as gifts or inheritance and most personal injury awards.

When dividing marital property, the court will consider:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The assets and liabilities of each spouse
  • Whether the custodial parent would benefit from remaining in the marital home (when children are involved)
  • Liquidity of the property
  • Tax consequences
  • Cost of selling the property
  • The existence of a premarital agreement concerning property division
  • Retirement benefits
  • Any other factor the court deems necessary

How Is Spousal Support Calculated?

When making decisions about spousal support, the court will consider the fixed expenses of both spouses and try to equalize the income between the spouse who receives support and the spouse who is ordered to pay support. The general rule is that the court will order one year of support for every three years the couple was married.

When determining spousal support, the court will consider:

  • Income
  • Earning capacity
  • The age and physical, mental, and emotional condition of each spouse
  • Retirement benefits
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Employment after the divorce
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Education
  • Assets and liabilities of each spouse
  • Contribution to education, training, or education of the other spouse
  • Tax consequences of an award of spousal support
  • Lost income due to marital responsibilities
  • Any other relevant factors

How Will the Court Determine Child Custody and Child Support in an Ohio Divorce?

When a couple is seeking a divorce and children are involved, issues surrounding child support and child custody are of the utmost importance. Ohio begins with a presumption that it is best for children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. If one parent believes the other parent should not have custody of the couple’s children, the judge will listen to arguments as to why a different arrangement would be better for the children.

Both parents are required to provide financial support for their children. The amount of financial support is based on each parent’s income and the amount of time each parent spends with the children. In making child support orders courts will consider a spouse’s earning capacity, as opposed to what the spouse is actually earning.

Clarke Law—Stability, Security, and Solutions in Ohio Divorce

Divorce is one of the most stressful situations a person can face. Decisions you make today will have lifetime effects for you and your family. That’s why you need a caring, compassionate divorce attorney who will listen to your concerns and help you make a plan so that you come through your divorce stronger than before.

Meetings with a new client begin with the question “What do you want your life to look like a year from now?” Then we get to work creating a plan to get you there.

When you work with Clarke Law, know that you have a team of caring, compassionate professionals looking out for your best interests. We pride ourselves on listening to our clients, and offer assurance that someone is there for you, listening to your concerns, and fighting for your rights as we bring your divorce to a successful resolution.

Clarke Law has been serving families in and around Toledo since 2005 and proudly works with people throughout Northwest Ohio in Lucas County, Wood County, Fulton County, Erie County, and Sandusky County.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your case that lasts about an hour. We will listen as you tell us about your current situation, the reasons for the divorce, and share your concerns. We will answer your questions, and make a plan for how to successfully get through the divorce.

We understand that questions about divorce and child custody don’t just come up between the hours of 9 and 5. That’s why we’re available to our clients via cell phone, whenever they need us.

If you’re considering divorce or if your spouse has already filed, you need an Ohio divorce attorney who will listen, offer reassurance and hope, and provide the stability and security that you need during uncertain times. We invite you to learn more about what to expect when Clarke Law handles your divorce and to contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.