Choosing to end a marriage is never an easy decision, and the legal proceedings regarding divorce can be just as difficult once you do make the decision to end your marriage.
Trolinger Law Offices, LLC, a trusted Columbus divorce attorney, will be there throughout the process to ease your stress and concerns. Your children, finances, future, and peace of mind are our priorities in representing you. No divorce is the same. Trolinger Law Offices, LLC provides you with individualized, sophisticated, and vigorous representation to protect you and your family.
Divorce is the process in which married couples follow a series of legal proceedings to terminate their marriage without there being agreed upon terms in the beginning of the case.
To open a divorce case:
- A party files a complaint with the court.
- The other spouse files his or her response to the complaint.
- Both spouses present their views of how and on what terms the marriage is to be terminated.
- Because they cannot agree, the couple requests the court to make the decisions for them with the assistance of a competent Columbus Divorce Attorney.
Taking the First Step
When terminating the marriage enters into the thoughts and discussions of a relationship, it is important to seek legal representation early to ensure that you know your rights, risks, and options. Developing a legal strategy, both defensive and offensive, is key to protecting your interests and limiting potential consequences should your spouse seek to take vindictive or selfish actions. Choosing a Columbus divorce attorney with experience, knowledge, and compassion can make all the difference in experiencing a divorce proceeding that is smooth and satisfactory to both parties.
Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce
A divorce can be contested or uncontested. When the spouses reach an agreement as to all aspects of their divorce (grounds, finances, spousal support, property, and child related issues), then the divorce is considered uncontested. Some divorces become uncontested very early in the litigation and others become uncontested right before or during trial. Most divorces become uncontested at some point prior to trial. The agreement is written and presented to the judge for approval at an uncontested final divorce hearing eliminating the need for a trial. Trolinger Law Offices, LLC provides sophisticated and professional representation to get our clients the best possible results through effective negotiation.
If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on all issues, then the divorce will result in a contested trial before a judge or magistrate on unresolved issues. Evidence regarding your child-related or financial matters is presented to a judge or magistrate for their consideration. The judge or magistrate then issues their decision establishing the terms upon which your marriage is terminated. Trolinger Law Offices, LLC has experience in trying contested divorces. If you are anticipating being involved in a contested divorce, schedule your consultation.
We will ensure that you are prepared, and we will aggressively litigate your interests should your case not be resolved prior to trial.
How Long a Divorce Takes
A divorce, in Ohio, can be a lengthy process. If the parties come to an agreement, then the case can be resolved in a few months. However, if the parties cannot agree, then the matter continues in court and results in a trial. The Ohio Supreme Court has established timelines for divorces in Ohio. Ideally, divorces without children should resolve in 9-12 months. However, divorces that involve children should resolve within 18 months. Many divorces are resolved by a negotiated agreement prior to trial. It is important that you hire an attorney with the experience to navigate the issues in your case to obtain the optimal outcome for you. Trolinger Law Offices, LLC have years of litigation experience and will strategically represent you to protect your rights. You can be confident that you will come out of your divorce ready for the future.
Handling “High Asset” Divorces
Every divorce is treated as a “high asset” divorce because all of our clients’ assets are important to them. We take our role in protecting assets seriously. When the term “high asset” divorce is utilized, it should not simply refer to a divorce in which the parties are wealthy, and it does not mean that the attorney fees should be higher. Whether you are dividing $100 or $10,000,000, the math is the same. A true “high asset” divorce is one in which the parties’ financial situation is complicated. Examples of a “high asset” divorce include, but are not limited to the following: parties’ assets include closely held business interests, partial ownership of a business with multiple business partners, stock options, deferred compensation, joint ventures, real estate holdings/partnerships, trust assets, and complex tax benefits or consequences. These can be some of the most complicated and complex divorce situations. Trolinger Law Offices, LLC has experience handling complex financial matters in divorce and dissolution cases. We work closely with clients, accountants, business counsel, business valuators, and other experts to ensure that the true “high asset” divorce is handled with the attention and sophistication that it requires.
Along with the right to marry in Ohio, marriage equality laws also gave couples the right to divorce. We are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community. To consult with a Columbus divorce attorney regarding the uniqueness of your circumstances, contact us. For more information on how Ohio Divorce Law impacts same-sex couples and other considerations, head to our blog.
A dissolution of marriage takes place when both spouses petition the court to terminate their marriage. The parties to a dissolution must negotiate and agree upon all terms and conditions of how the marriage is terminated before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. Essentially the process begins in total agreement between the spouses.
How Long a Dissolution Takes
A dissolution of marriage is typically faster and less expensive than a divorce. The legal proceedings related to a dissolution are completed between 30 and 90 days after the filing of the petition. The time in court is not the only factor in how long a dissolution takes. Negotiations can take several months or just a few days depending on the circumstances of the marriage. The negotiation period often takes more time than the actual legal proceedings in a dissolution. Many times, the respective spouses negotiate between themselves long before hiring an attorney. Contacting a divorce attorney early in this process is the best practice to ensure that you are negotiating fairly and with the necessary knowledge to make sure your rights are protected.
Dissolution with Children
All married couples who wish to terminate their marriage can obtain a dissolution as long as both parties reach an agreement on all issues. If you have children, then you can still obtain a dissolution as long as both parents agree on the custody, parenting time, child support, and all other issues related to the children.
Divorce or Dissolution: Choosing What is Right for You
There are advantages and strategic benefits to both a dissolution and a divorce. A dissolution is typically more amicable, quicker, and usually less expensive. Additionally, a dissolution allows both parties to have control in how their marriage is terminated. However, a divorce will allow for a more independent assessment of the realities of the marriage. If one party controls all of the finances, a divorce will allow for your attorney to obtain all of the financial information to which your spouse is not allowing you access. Likewise, if your spouse is not allowing you to see the children as often as you would like, then a divorce will allow your divorce attorney to advocate for a judge or magistrate to correct the situation. Trolinger Law Offices, LLC has extensive experience representing clients through both dissolutions and divorces. Contact us today to schedule your consultation because we will provide you with all of the information, and together, we will determine which legal option and strategy best suits your needs and goals.
Annulment is another way to terminate your marriage in Ohio. An annulment not only terminates your marriage, but a court also determines that the marriage was void or voidable. In other words, the court not only terminates your marriage but can determine that the marriage did not exist in the first place. In order for a marriage to be void, it must be an illegal marriage, I.e., incest (marriage to a first cousin or closer), bigamy/polygamy. A voidable marriage for purposes of obtaining an annulment is a marriage where one or both parties were underage at the time of the marriage, the marriage was a result of fraud or force, the marriage was unconsummated, or where one spouse was unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incompetence, incapacity, or disability.
A legal separation is a legal proceeding to divide the assets and liabilities of the marriage, determine spousal support/alimony, establish child support, and to determine the custody and parenting time arrangements regarding your children. A legal separation does not terminate your marriage. Additionally, a legal separation is not required prior to obtaining a divorce or dissolution. There are different requirements and conditions on residency and jurisdiction, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to know when a legal separation is appropriate for your situation or when such will provide you with strategic benefits.
Spousal Support and Alimony
Spousal support (referred to as alimony in some states) is a monthly payment from one spouse to another for living expenses. Spousal support is awarded when one spouse earns a significantly greater income than the other. The amount of spousal support is determined by the respective annual income of the parties. How long a party pays/receives spousal support is determined by several factors including but not limited to the duration of the marriage, the age of the parties, the health of the parties, and many other factors. A court has wide discretion in determining if spousal support will be ordered, the amount, and the duration.
Whether a party is ordered to pay spousal support or if a party is to receive spousal support is very fact specific. It is imperative for your divorce attorney to know the law and the details of your personal, marital, and financial situation to present the best case for the court and opposing counsel regarding your obligation for or benefit of spousal support. Trolinger Law Offices, LLC has successfully litigated a large number of spousal support cases. Attorneys Trolinger and Meis fight for their clients’ rights as it relates to spousal support, and Attorney Trolinger has appeared in the court of appeals multiple times on these issues. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with the best divorce attorneys in Columbus.
How Spousal Support is Calculated
There is no formula for spousal support. The court has discretion to determine how much spousal support will be awarded. The court may look to equalize the incomes of the parties depending on the incomes of the parties and the duration of the marriage. However, the amount of spousal support is determined by the specific facts and circumstances of the parties and their marriage. The quality of the case presented to the court and opposing counsel will determine how much you will be ordered to pay or receive in spousal support.
Assets and debts of the parties are divided by the court in a divorce, dissolution, and legal separation. In Ohio, the court will equally divide all marital assets and debts among the parties unless such equal division is unfair for some particular reason. The goal of a property division is to disentangle the parties financially from each other. A financially sophisticated attorney is required to know and understand all costs and benefits associated with how your property is divided. It is important to understand when or if equal is not necessarily the same.
Marital Property Versus Separate Property
Marital property is any asset or debt that has been obtained and accumulated during the term of the marriage and is subject to division by the court in a divorce, dissolution, or legal separation. In Ohio, all property is presumed to be marital property until a party proves otherwise. Separate property is property that is determined not to be marital property and is not subject to division in a divorce, dissolution, or legal separation. The asset or debt remains the property of the one of the parties. Separate property may be inheritance, gifts, or property that was acquired prior to the marriage. Many times, a party will use their separate property for some marital purpose like making a deposit on the purchase of the marital residence. A detail-oriented attorney is required to trace, identify, and establish your separate property so that it is protected through the legal process. It is our goal to ensure that your spouse does not unfairly receive property to which they are not entitled.
Dividing Assets in a Long-Term Marriage
Dividing assets in a long-term marriage (a marriage twenty years or longer) can be especially complicated due to the amount of property that has accumulated over the years. Usually, the complication is more about identifying and inventorying the property and the emotional connection that each party has to certain property. We provide a compassionate and goal-oriented approach to these issues to enable the client to obtain a fair and desired result.
A long-term marriage does not necessarily mean that the parties are older individuals. Many long-term marriages are between parties still in their forties. However, the issues that present themselves in a divorce between individuals of advanced age can be even more complicated due to the parties receiving social security benefits or being in pay status with their respective retirements. The financial issues facing older divorcing couples can be devastating if not handled properly. The attorneys at Trolinger Law Offices, LLC are experienced litigators and are more than capable of protecting your interests and lifestyle for which you worked your whole life.
Modifying Divorce Decrees
Most divorce settlements are final once they are approved and adopted by the Court in a Divorce Decree. However, the divorce settlement can be changed if the court retains jurisdiction to modify certain terms. The most common issues of which the court retains jurisdiction is spousal support and child-related issues. The Court often retains jurisdiction to modify the amount or duration of spousal support to change those terms if the circumstances of the parties change after the divorce. This can include one of the parties losing a job, becoming disabled, or earning more or less money. Child-related issues can be modified until the children emancipate so long as the modifications are in the child’s best interests. Certain changes related to the children require that the circumstances of the parties have changed. Finally, property divisions can be modifiable if the court specifically retains jurisdiction over the property division or as to certain terms of it. Schedule a consultation with our divorce attorney at Trolinger Law Offices, LLC to discuss your situation and the desired changes to your divorce settlement or court order to better understand your options.
Failing to Comply with the Divorce Agreement or Court Order
Divorce Decrees, Separation Agreements, Shared Parenting Plans, and other court orders are legal and lawful orders of a court. If one fails to comply or fulfill their obligations under the court order, then severe legal consequences can result. The violating party can be found in contempt of court, sentenced to jail time, ordered to pay monetary penalties, and/or ordered to reimburse the other party for their legal expenses. In certain circumstances, violating a court order is unavoidable or justified. If you find yourself or if your former spouse is in violation of a court order, then schedule a consultation with Trolinger Law Offices, LLC to know your legal options to resolve the issue before the consequences get out of control and expenses mount. Read more about Post Decree Matters.
Business Ownership and Divorce
Protecting your business from the effects of divorce is important. Creating a prenuptial agreement is one of the most effective methods of protecting your business from the consequences of divorce. In Ohio, a spouse of a business owner is legally entitled to half of the value of their spouse’s interest in their business. However, when the business is a sole proprietorship and the income of the business flows through to the owner, then the value of the business may be valued only as income of the business owner spouse.
Preparing for or going through a divorce while owning or having interest in a business is extremely stressful and can be disastrous to the business’s future or business partners’ interest. It is imperative that a knowledgeable and competent attorney is involved to ensure that the business is valued correctly and any property division is fair and equitable. Sophisticated representation is required to coordinate and communicate with accountants and business valuators to ensure that your position is effectively communicated and presented to the court to protect your business interests.
If you have a legal matter relating to your family or business, you can count on the legal team at Trolinger Law Offices, LLC to tailor a winning strategy to fit your circumstances and protect your interests. Contact us today to request a consultation.