Divorce Questions & Answers
At White Law Office, Co., it is our mission to help educate and empower our clients in understanding their complex legal matters. Often, we see similar questions arise from clients when one is facing the possibility of a divorce or dissolution of marriage. Included herein is a list of common family law questions that our office is routinely asked.
What is the difference between a divorce and a legal separation?
A divorce in Ohio is a contested termination of a marriage by judgment of a court. It may only be granted upon a finding of a fault-based ground which includes:
- Bigamy (the act of going through a marriage ceremony while already married to another person);
- Extreme cruelty;
- Willful absence of the adverse party of one year;
- Fraudulent contract;
- Habitual drunkenness
- Gross neglect of duty; and,
- Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution when the complaint for divorce is filed.
When pursuing a legal separation, one would file a petition in the court of proper jurisdiction. Not only do the parties must agree to pursue a legal separation, but the parties must agree on everything in relation to the division of assets and debts in pursuing a legal separation. Once a legal separation is granted, the parties may live separate and apart. However, their marriage is not legally terminated as they are still legally married after a legal separation is granted by the court. As such, the parties cannot remarry.
My spouse and I agree on the division of everything, should we still pursue a divorce?
It is suggested that the parties pursue dissolution if the parties agree that their marriage should be dissolved and agree as to the division of marital assets and debts, as well as other issues surrounding their marriage including custody of the minor children (if applicable). A dissolution is a non-contested, no-fault termination of the marriage. The parties must agree on everything, like a legal separation, but the parties’ marriage is legally terminated. Typically, the dissolution process is much quicker than divorce and it is typically much more affordable for the parties. However, keep in mind that at any point, one party may contest the dissolution proceedings and as such, a divorce would be required to dissolve the marriage.
How much does a divorce cost?
It is near impossible for an attorney to accurately predict how much a divorce costs. This can be traced to the fact that often factors change during representation. Typically, the more contested a divorce is, the costlier it may be. Again, during the consultation with White Law Office, Co., the attorney is typically in a better position to assess the factors present and accurately estimate what costs may be in pursuing said divorce.
How long will my divorce take?
It is difficult to give an accurate prediction of how long one’s divorce will take at the onset of the divorce itself. Many factors, such as the court’s schedule and cooperation of the parties, influence the length of time that it may take. During the consultation with White Law Office, Co., the attorney will be in a better position to assess the estimated length of time to complete the divorce, but again no guarantees can be made.
Do I have to have an attorney represent me through a divorce?
Even though it is recommended that you retain an attorney to represent you in your divorce, one does not have to have an attorney when filing for divorce. The parties may represent themselves even though it is ill-advised to do so.
What if I do not want a divorce?
It is very common that one party does not want to terminate the marriage. Unfortunately, this is not grounds for the judge to rule against a divorce complaint and as such, the divorce proceedings will carry on.
Can I be restored to a maiden name?
Typically, this takes place at the final hearing. If a party requests that they be restored to a prior name, the court can, in fact, do so.
I am in danger. Can I get something to protect me while I am going through a divorce?
This a predicament that far too many face prior to proceeding forward with a divorce. Depending upon your circumstances, the court may grant a protection order or restraining order if requested by one of the parties in a divorce. During the consultation with White Law Office, Co., our attorneys will assess the factors present and determine whether a protection order is necessary during the pendency of the divorce.
Recognizing the difficulties that one may face in pursuing family law matters, it is recommended that you contact White Law Office, Co. immediately should you find yourself facing these questions or more.
This article is not intended to provide legal advice. It is intended to provide broad and general information about the law. Before applying the law discussed herein, please consult with your Attorney or the Attorneys at the White Law Office, Co.