Cleveland Divorce Attorneys
Divorce is always challenging, even when it’s amicable. Separating finances, assets and personal lives isn’t easy, regardless of how long you were married or how many assets you have. You don’t just need to separate on paper; divorcing couples also face a changing lifestyle, moving houses and adjusting to a new normal.
Working with the experienced Cleveland divorce attorneys at KJK can help you focus on moving forward from your divorce and ensure you receive your fair share of your marital assets. We pride ourselves on providing support throughout the entire divorce process, whether you want to go through mediation or need to take your divorce to trial, or if you choose to avoid divorce by ending your marriage through dissolution.
Navigating the Complexities of Ending a Marriage:
Helping Ohio Families Through Mediation and Divorce
Divorce becomes even more complicated when you have children. It’s essential you do your best to minimize the disruption in your children’s lives. Having a long, drawn-out court battle could mean constantly changing custody schedules and uncertainty, affecting your children’s mental health.
At KJK, where possible, we believe in trying to resolve the termination of a marriage without going to court. Besides the traditional alternatives to litigation, we also offer dissolution services.
In Ohio, dissolutions have the same effect as divorces. To achieve a dissolution, you and your spouse must reach an agreement on all the same aspects as you would with a divorce, including dividing marital property, child custody and support, and alimony, if necessary, before ever appearing before the court.
If you and your spouse choose to end your marriage through dissolution, you and your attorney will attempt to negotiate without involving the court. This process is often less stressful than going through a divorce. While you cannot use subpoenas to learn information about your spouse, your attorney can bring in experts to examine financial information or advise you on the best way to handle child custody.
Once you and your spouse have agreed on all the dissolution terms, you then must file your dissolution with the court to legally dissolve your marriage. Between 30 and 60 days later, you and your spouse must appear at a final hearing where you both provide basic and straightforward testimony to the court as to your full and complete disclosure of your assets and liabilities, the agreed-upon terms of your dissolution, and your desire to terminate the marriage. The court then must approve your agreement, which officially ends your marriage.
Division of Marital Property
One of the biggest hurdles in divorces and dissolutions is dividing your marital property. However, to divide it, you must first determine what is marital property and what is separate property.
Ohio law presumes that all property acquired during the marriage is marital property and subject to equitable (presumed equal) division between the spouses. Separate property, however, is typically retained solely by the owning spouse and not subject to division between the spouses. Limited, specifically defined types of assets, including those that are premarital, those that are inherited and, in certain cases, those that are gifted, may fall into the category of separate property.
An experienced divorce attorney with KJK can help you go through your assets, financial documents and property lists to determine what is marital property and what is separate property.
Once you and your attorney have identified the marital property, you must then divide it. Usually, in Ohio, the courts divide the property equally. However, some factors could mean one spouse receives a greater share of the property, including:
- How long the marriage lasted
- Tax consequences of division for each spouse
- Who receives primary custody (particularly when dividing up the primary home)
- Debts, both shared and individual
- How liquid the assets are, and if selling them would adversely affect one or both spouses
- Other factors the court deems relevant
Alternatives to Litigation:
Divorce Doesn’t Have to Be Messy
While divorce is almost always hard, it doesn’t need to be messy. Protracted legal battles cost a lot of money and can wreak havoc on your lives, preventing you from moving on and healing from the separation.
At KJK, we provide legal counsel for couples that want an alternative to an adversarial court process (litigation) when ending their marriage with the following alternatives:
The ultimate goal of the collaborative process is a dissolution rather than a divorce. You, your Cleveland spousal support attorney, your soon-to-be ex and their attorney all meet together to discuss the options and resolve issues using interest-based negotiation techniques. Without involving any litigation or court proceedings, you create a dissolution agreement that’s beneficial to both parties.
If an impasse is reached during negotiations, the couple can also select a non-biased party to help them reach an agreement, like a private judge or mediator. Like other non-litigation methods, the goal is to create a dissolution agreement without the court’s input that works for everyone.
At KJK, we also offer Cleveland marriage mediation. In this litigation alternative, a single neutral lawyer helps the couple have constructive conversations to see if there is enough common ground to reach an agreement. Mediation is also a common tactic in litigated divorces, often ordered by the court. In most of these cases, the court orders mediation to help solve child custody concerns, including visitation and determining the child’s primary caregiver.
These non-court processes can be used to resolve financial issues including the allocation of assets and debts, spousal support and child support, and can be used to resolve issues relating to children as well. Couples often find that these processes offer them more control over their own futures and more creativity in the options they explore.
While most couples wish to avoid the expense and emotional stress of a legal battle, that isn’t always possible. Especially if you leave your spouse because of abuse or domestic violence, mediation or a collaborative process may not be an appropriate option for you. However, if possible, avoiding litigation can help you complete the divorce process faster, save you money, and cause less upheaval in your children’s lives.
We’re Here for you:
Talk with a divorce attorney
Divorce cases are the most common type of legal matter handled by KJK’s Family Law attorneys, and we are sensitive to how difficult and emotional these cases can be. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, we can help you find the best way forward. Contact the team at KJK today to schedule your initial appointment.
Divorce & Dissolution of Marriage Frequently Asked Questions
How long will my divorce take?
What’s the difference between a dissolution and a divorce?
In order to pursue a dissolution, the spouses must have a full and complete agreement, signed by both parties, as to all issues relevant to the termination of their marriage. Those issues include the division of their property and debts, other financial issues, and where relevant, custody and parenting issues. Once the parties finalize their agreement, they then jointly file it with the court, along with a Petition for Dissolution. The court then holds a brief administrative hearing, during which it reviews the parties’ agreement and usually adopts it as an order of the court, terminating the marriage.
In contrast, a divorce is an adversarial legal proceeding between two spouses, which means that, in effect, a spouse is suing the other spouse for a divorce. Although the end result of a divorce is also the termination of the marriage, the court has much more of a direct role in a divorce proceeding when compared to a dissolution. A divorce is initiated by filing a Complaint for Divorce with the court. Thereafter, and until the matter is resolved, the court holds a number of proceedings in order to see if an agreement can be reached on the issues involved in the matter. Once again, those issues include the division of the property and debts, other financial issues, and where relevant, custody and parenting issues. Ultimately, if the parties to a divorce action cannot reach an agreement, then the matter is set for a trial, and the court will, if necessary, take evidence and issue a Judgment Entry of Divorce to resolve the matter, in its entirety.