Alexander Law Firm Co., LPA
A Legal Professional Association




A divorce is a civil lawsuit to terminate a marriage. To begin the process, one spouse serves a Complaint for Divorce on the other spouse.

The person filing for divorce must be a resident of Ohio for at least six (6) months immediately prior to filing the Complaint for Divorce. In addition to being a resident of Ohio, the person filing for divorce must select the county in which the case should be filed. This is typically the county in which the person filing the lawsuit has lived for at least ninety (90) days venue may be proper in more than one county, such as where the other spouse has his or her principal place of business.

What are Grounds for a Divorce?

A Complaint for Divorce must allege legal Grounds, or reasons, for the divorce. Although there are many grounds for divorce, most divorces are filed based on the grounds of incompatibility, living separate and apart for more than one year or gross neglect of duty. Rarely are divorces contested based upon the grounds.

What are Temporary Orders?

The phrase temporary orders refer to valid, enforceable court orders granted throughout the divorce process (but typically at the beginning) which remain in effect until modified or terminated by the Court. These orders can relate to parenting matters such as the designation of a temporary residential parent and legal custodian as well as establishing child support but they can also relate to non-parenting matters and various types of restraining orders used to protect the parties and assets of the marriage. Typically, one or both parties will seek a temporary order from the Court to designate who will be responsible to pay marital debts and obligations as well as household expenses during the pendency of the divorce case.

What is Sole Custody and Shared Parenting?

Sole Custody designates one parent as the “residential parent and legal custodian” of a child or children. Shared Parenting, on the other hand, is similar to what used to be referred to as “joint custody” and designates both parents “residential parents and legal custodians” of a child or children.

Whenever children are involved, the court must allocate parent rights and responsibilities. The court must consider various factors when allocating parental rights and responsibilities, including: the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the child in some cases, the child's interaction with parents, siblings, and other persons who may significantly affect the child's best interest; the child's adjustment to home, school and community; the mental and physical health of all persons involved; the parent more likely to honor and promote the child's relationship with the other parent; whether a parent has been convicted of domestic violence or child abuse and other factors.

What is Child Support and how is it calculated?

All parents in Ohio are required to financially support their children until emancipation, their eighteenth (18) birthday or graduation from high school. In situations where a child is disabled, a parent’s support obligation can continue indefinitely.

Ohio uses a statutory child support schedule and child support calculation worksheets to determine a presumptive child support amount. A correct child support calculation should incorporate more than just the parents’ incomes. The statutory formula provides for the consideration of additional factors, including: if either party pays spousal support, if either party pays child support for another child; if either party pays local income tax or work related expenses such as dues or uniform costs; if either party pays work related daycare, if either party pays healthcare costs associated with the children; if either party has other minor children in their home.

What is a Child Support deviation?

As stated above, Ohio utilizes a statutory child support schedule and child support calculation worksheets to determine a presumptive child support amount. Courts have the discretion to deviate (upward or downward) from the presumptive child support calculation if it is determined to be unjust, inappropriate or not in the best interests of the minor children.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal Support used to be referred to as alimony. Unlike child support, no guideline or statutory formula currently exists to calculate spousal support.

The need for, and amount of, spousal support is decided on a case by case basis based upon factors which the court must consider in determining the amount and duration of an award of spousal support. These factors include: the length of the marriage; the age of the parties; the earning capacity of both parties; the disparity in earnings; the standard of living of the parties during the marriage; one party’s contribution to the education/career of the other; one party's contribution as a homemaker; and the time and expense necessary to acquire education/training/job experience to obtain appropriate employment.

How are assets and property distributed?

Ohio is an equitable distribution state which means that all property of the marriage must be divided fairly and equitably. Ohio law presumes an equal division of all marital property, however, the term equitable does not necessarily mean equal.

In rare instances, the court may find an equal distribution of martial property would be unfair. In such an instance, the court may make a distributive award of one spouses separate property to achieve a fair result. This situation typically occurs when one spouse engages in serious economic misconduct with martial property or when one of the spouses has significant separate assets.

How long does a divorce take?

It is impossible to say exactly how long a divorce will take t be finalized. A fair estimate requires a review of the specific facts and circumstances of your case, including property and parenting issues. A divorce where custody and parenting time remain at issue can take one year or more. Additionally, property issues such as complex business valuations and designating assets as separate versus marital property can prolong a case.

Does it matter who files first?

It depends. The party who files a complaint for divorce first does not obtain any benefit when the court makes its final property distribution or determines parental rights and responsibilities. The person who files first, however, may be able to obtain temporary orders early in the process which may result in a strategic advantage as well as offering the party who files first piece of mind.

All local courts require the designation of a temporary legal custodian, establishment of child support where minor children are involved. Further, some courts permit motions for temporary spousal support at the time the case is filed. The availability of these orders depends upon the jurisdiction in which you file and the court’s procedure in granting temporary orders. 

        Call Christopher M. Alexander at (513)228 - 1100

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