In Ohio, unlike many states, divorce and dissolution refer to two different ways to end a marriage. Dissolution is easier and less costly than a divorce, but you and your spouse must agree on all issues surrounding the termination of your marriage These include division of property, child custody, child support and spousal support. If all issues are not agreed upon, you must proceed with filing for a divorce to end your marriage. The laws for divorce in Western Ohio are the same as those throughout the rest of the state.
Filing for Divorce
You must be a resident of Ohio for at least six months before filing for divorce there. It does not matter where your spouse lives or where your marriage took place. The Court of Common Pleas, which exists in each county in Ohio, is the venue where the divorce proceedings are heard and decided. In Ohio, you can file for divorce on either fault or no-fault grounds. The two no-fault grounds are incompatibility and separate residency for at least one year. Examples of fault grounds include adultery and extreme cruelty.
Ohio is an equitable distribution state, which means that if the judge must decide the division of marital property, the law requires him to make a distribution that is fair, though not necessarily equal. If you and your spouse cannot reach a decision about property division on your own, the court will take several factors into consideration when making its determination. These factors include the duration of your marriage, your joint assets and liabilities, and the liquidity of the property to be distributed. The judge can also grant you or your spouse a distributive award, which is a payment made from separate property or income that is not a spousal support payment.
The court determines child custody based on what is in the best interests of the child. The court considers many factors, including the wishes of the child’s parents regarding the child’s care and whether there has been any child abuse or neglect. The court may decide to issue a shared parenting plan. A shared parenting plan is a plan for joint custody that either or both parents may request from the court. To determine if shared parenting is in the best interest of the child, the court will consider additional factors including the ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly with respect to the child and the ability of each parent to encourage the sharing of love, affection and contact between the child and the other parent.
Child and Spousal Support
The official Ohio Child Support Guidelines are used to determine who should pay child support and how much the payment should be. Child support is calculated by estimating the amount of support that would have been available to the children if the marriage had not ended and apportioning that obligation between the parents according to their individual incomes. Spousal support may be awarded to either spouse if it is deemed appropriate and reasonable by the court, with factors including the income of the parties, relative earning abilities of the parties, duration of the marriage, retirement benefits and the relative assets and liabilities of the parties.