When a couple decides to proceed with a divorce in Ohio, they can file a dissolution, a divorce, an annulment or a legal separation. Annulments and legal separations are generally only used on rare occasions, primarily for religious or insurance reasons. Some couples proceed with a legal separation following a long-term marriage where the couple choose to live separate and apart but still remain legally married so their insurance coverages still apply. A dissolution or divorce are the primary means of severing a marriage as they are the most cost effective
Once Someone Files For A Divorce In Ohio, What Is The General Timeline Or What Are The Steps That Happen Up To The Point Where The Decree Would Be Finalized?
The first step in a divorce in Ohio is when one spouse, also known as the plaintiff, files the complaint and serves the other party, known as the defendant. Once served, the defendant has 28 days to file an answer. The defendant is generally served by a process server or other court official or by certified mail. If a defendant is unable to be served by traditional means, it is also possible to serve a defendant by publication in a local newspaper. Once service is perfected and the defendant does not file an answer, the plaintiff can request a non-contested divorce hearing where the other party does not have to appear. The plaintiff then must bring a corroborating witness to the final hearing and the court proceeds with an issue of decree.
If the defendant files an answer, there may be a temporary orders hearing depending on the matters involved. The court issues temporary orders regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, or exclusive uses of marital residence.
After the temporary orders hearing, the discovery phase occurs where each side can request financial, retirement, or other information from the other side. When custody issues are involved, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to consider the best interest of the child and make a recommendation to the court. Once the discovery phase is complete, if no settlement has been negotiated, the court schedules a final pre-trial and then a trial date. When the trial is concluded, the court issues a decree.
What Could Someone Look At For A Timeline Of When They Could Legally Be Divorced?
It depends on the number of contested issues involved. The minimal time needed for a divorce to be finalized if the parties agree on all issues is 45 to 60 days. Three to six months is the average time to be divorced.
How Is Time Sharing Or Custody Determined In Ohio When A Couple Is Divorcing Or Is Not Raising A Child Together?
In Ohio, when two parents agree to co-parent their child or children following a divorce, the court will adopt and approve a shared parenting plan that was agreed to by the parents. The parties mutual agreement regarding the care and custody of the child is generally necessary as the court usually does not impose shared parenting given the presumption that if the parties cannot agree on anything, they probably cannot make any joint decisions regarding the best interest of the child. The majority of divorces cases with children resolve with some form of a shared parenting arrangement in which both parents agree to a parenting time schedule, education, financial support and all other issues involving the children.
Is There An Age In Ohio Where A Child Could Have Any Input On Who He Or She Will Live With Or Who Will Have The Majority Custody?
There is no age of election in Ohio.
In the mid-80s, once a child turned 13, he or she could appear before a judge and choose which parent they wanted to live with. This practice was problematic given the potential for one or both parents to influence and put undue pressure on a child. Given these concerns, Ohio no longer allows this practice. The child does not get to choose where they live until they turn 18, but, The older a child gets, the more weight their preference is given.
While the court can impose where the child lives, parents should understand the practical considerations of forcing a teenager to reside in a home that the child is opposed to. It is generally much better for the child and the parents to reach some form of agreement in this regards.
For more information on Family Law in Ohio, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (937) 519-1786 today.