Divorce Attorney Dayton, OH
Handling Divorce-Related Cases in Southwest Ohio
At L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC, our Dayton divorce attorneys are committed to helping our clients through successful and healthy divorce processes. We understand that divorce is a life-changing event and can affect various family members, including children. That is why we work hard to examine every detail associated with divorce cases. Our goal is to make each family member as comfortable as possible.
Because we understand this complicated legal process can be mentally, emotionally, and physically draining, we are available to stand by your side from beginning to end. When you entrust our team with your case, you can rest easier knowing that we will provide you and your family with compassionate representation every step of the way. Over the years, we have gained the necessary experience and skills it takes to streamline the process for you.
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Ohio?
Grounds for a divorce are the legal reasons you give for seeking to terminate your marriage. In other words, when you submit your petition, you state why the court should grant your request.
In Ohio, you may seek a divorce on fault-based or no-fault grounds. Fault-based grounds are those asserting that your spouse engaged in conduct that damaged the marriage.
Under O.R.C. 3105.01, fault-based causes for divorce include:
- Either party already had a living spouse at the time they entered into the current marriage,
- Either party was willfully absent for 1 year,
- Extreme cruelty,
- Fraudulent contract,
- Gross neglect of duty,
- Habitual drunkenness,
- Imprisonment, or
- Either party got a divorce in another state which was advantageous only to them
No-fault grounds are those stating that neither spouse did anything wrong, but a divorce is the best course of action for the relationship. Generally, incompatibility or living separately for 1 year serve as reasons for no-fault divorces.
Because Ohio permits both no-fault and fault-based divorces, consult with an experienced family law attorney before filing. Our Dayton divorce lawyers can help you understand the process and gather and present evidence to support your case.
What Are the Requirements to File for a Divorce in Ohio?
Before your divorce proceedings and begin and your request is granted, you must ensure that you meet certain requirements.
- Residency requirements: To file for a divorce, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Ohio for at least 6 months. Additionally, either of you must have lived in the county you’re filing in for 90 days.
- Paperwork requirements: You must also submit specific paperwork to the court. The documents you file depend on your situation. Generally, they include a complaint; an affidavit of income, expenses, property, and debt; a request for temporary orders; a parenting proceeding affidavit; and a health insurance affidavit.
- Serving requirements: After you file your petition with the court, your spouse must be notified of the action. This is referred to as serving divorce papers.
At L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC, our Dayton divorce attorneys will get to know you, learn about your situation, and let you know if you meet the requirements and what forms you must include with your request.
Divorce Process in Ohio
Each state has different divorce laws or requirements, all of which affect what your divorce experience will be. Whether it is your first time getting a divorce, or you’ve been down this road once before, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of what the process is going to be from beginning to end.
The following are several factors you should know about the Ohio divorce process:
- Determine if you are eligible for divorce – In Ohio, you need to be a resident of the state for a minimum of six months before you can file for divorce.
- Choose where to file – Counties in Ohio have residential requirements as well. You need to file for divorce in the County Court where the plaintiff (the person filing for divorce) resides. You, or your spouse, must have lived in the county you’re filing in for at least 90 days to be eligible for divorce.
- State your grounds – Ohio is considered a mixed state, meaning you can use either fault or no-fault grounds as the basis for seeking a divorce. No-fault divorce requires that the filing spouse allege irreconcilable differences between the parties. A spouse filing for a fault divorce may cite any of the following grounds: adultery, fraudulent contract, extreme cruelty, the willful absence of the other party for more than one year, living separate and apart for more than one year, incompatibility, etc. Your lawyer may advise you to use fault grounds to gain leverage in a contested child custody case or dispute about the division of marital property or the amount of alimony.
- Collect your forms – These forms include the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Complain for Divorce, as well as the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage or Decree of Divorce. Aside from these essential documents, there are anywhere from 10 to 20 other documents that may be required throughout the filing process, such as Domestic Case Designation Form, Marital Settlement Agreement, Affidavit in Compliance With (ORC 3109.27), and Health Care Order.
- File with the courts – As soon as your packet of forms is complete, you can officially file with the courts. Your case will be opened, and your spouse will be served with divorce papers. Then, you’ll start the divorce process. The clerk’s office is responsible to keep you and your lawyer informed throughout the process in regards to additional paperwork, requirements, as well as hearing dates and times.
- Ohio is an equitable distribution state – When it comes to property division, the court will divide marital property equitably between the two parties. Separate property is not subject to division.
- Rules for child custody – Ohio courts, like all state courts, begin with the presumption that it is best for a child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. Judges want to support joint custody arrangements if possible. On the other hand, the precise nature of the time-share will be determined by the child’s best interests.
Will I Have to Go to Court for My Divorce?
During your divorce proceedings, you may be required to attend several hearings, which means you would have to go to court. During the hearings, a judge will review all information presented by you and your spouse. If you and your spouse don’t agree on some issues, the judge will decide on the matter in a way they deem fair or equitable.
We Handle Every Angle of Divorce
Divorce can be a complicated process that often results in feelings of bitterness and anxiety. That is why we are committed to handling all angles of divorce when working with our clients.
When you choose our firm, we can also guide you through the following issues:
What Is a Dissolution of Marriage?
In Ohio, if both spouses agree on property, spousal support, and child-related matters, they may seek a dissolution of marriage. This option is different from a divorce in that both spouses make decisions on how to resolve disputes rather than asking the court to make final determinations.
After the spouses jointly file the required forms concerning their dissolution of marriage, the court will schedule their case for a hearing. During this proceeding, a judge will ensure that both parties agree on and understand the action. If they determine that everything is in order, they will grant the dissolution of marriage.
Modifying a Divorce Decree in Ohio
Modifying a divorce decree involves a new trial and could take a significant amount of time and money if two former spouses can’t agree on a change. The rules of the new trial will be dictated by an appellate court, and there are time restrictions on when the appeal must be filed.
Modification is usually required when former spouses can’t agree on an amendment. To modify an agreement, a person seeking the change must file a petition with the court that had jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. A clerk of the court can tell you which forms need to be submitted.
If a judge finds you experienced a substantial change in circumstance, he or she will likely approve the modification if it is still in the child’s best interest. For example, changes in child support could be made if the financial needs of the child have changed or if there is a significant change in income for either parent.
Custody changes can be made if the current custodial situation is no longer in the child’s best interest. For example, if the child is experiencing abuse, neglect, or abandonment, the judge might reconsider child custody arrangements.
A preponderance of evidence is usually needed to make the modification request, meaning at least 51% of the evidence presented favors the person bringing the action.
L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC Can Pave the Road Toward a Better Life
If you have been contemplating divorce and believe we can help you achieve a better and more prosperous future, contact our Dayton divorce lawyers at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC right away. No matter your situation, we can guide you through every part of the process and help you pursue a happier life. You will never feel alone when you choose to work with our team. We can stand by your side from start to finish.