Category Archives: Family Law

What are Legally Sufficient grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

ohio_divorce_reasonsDivorce is purely a matter of statute and each of the acceptable grounds for divorce in Ohio are fixed by statute. This means that you and your spouse cannot simply list whatever reasons you personally have for wanting the divorce in your Pro Se complaint and have the Court accept them. Rather, your complaint for divorce must list one or more legally sufficient grounds, enumerated under the applicable statute, and put on evidence of that ground at the hearing.

So, what are legally sufficient grounds in Ohio? Generally, any of the following will suffice:

1. Either party entering into a bigamous marriage

2. Willful absence of the adverse party for one year

3. Adultery (obviously!)

4. Extreme cruelty (carefully defined under statute)

5. Fraudulent contract (marriage is a contract, after all)

6. Any gross neglect of marital duty

7. Habitual drunkenness

8. Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal prison when the petition is filed with the Court

9. Procurement of a divorce outside Ohio, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while such obligations remain binding upon the other party

10. On the application of either party, when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation

So there you go, now you know that “he is a jerk” will not suffice as legally sufficient grounds to state in your complaint. You must plead and prove one of statutorily enumerated grounds established by the Ohio Legislature to obtain a divorce.

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Do Grandparents Have the right to visit their grandchildren in Ohio?

GrandparentGrandkidsUnder current Ohio law, grandparents are permitted to petition the court for visitation rights with respect to their grandchildren.  One would think that such a petition would not be necessary, but, unfortunately, more than we would like to think grandparents are prevented from seeing thier grandchildren.  Quite frequently, grandparents turn to the courts in order to have the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren. This often comes up as a problem when a couple divorces and whomever is chosen as the residential parent does not want his or her former in-laws to visit the children.  Therefore, grandparents need to be aware that if the Court finds that it is in the child’s best interest to have visitation with his or her grandparents, they do have legal recourse. However, it must be noted that the Court is required to give some special weight to the wishes of the parents as to whether the grandparents are granted the right to certain visitation with the children.

This does not mean that the parents wishes control the Court’s decision, but that if the parents feel strongly against visitation, the court must consider that fact.  But even if the residential parent does not want to allow the visitation, the Court can , and often does, grant the visitation if it is in the best interest of the child.  There are specific stautory provisions that cover the visitation rights of grandparents in Ohio, so you should seek the advice of counsel to determine if your case is worth pursuing.

Brought to you by the Ohio law offices of Morrison & Nicholson.  Call today for a free consultation (937) 432 – 9775.

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Interim custody, attorney fees, spousal, and child support while a divorce case is pending in an Ohio Court

house_divorce_boat It is often the case that a couple that is going through a divorce has one of the spouses move out of the home, leaving the other spouse with primary custody of the children.  The vacating spouse is often the breadwinner of the home, however (after all, he or she has the funds to rent an apartment during the course of the divorce action).  This can leave the remaining spouse in the home with the children and no source of (or not enough) income to continue to run the household and properly care for the children.  So, what is that spouse to do?  One answer is to file a motion with the court requesting that the other spouse be required to pay monthly child support until the final divorce decree is filed with the court.

This temporary child support is but one example of “interim orders” that the court is empowered to issue while the divorce case is proceeding through litigation and until there is a final resolution to the case.  Other interim orders that the court may grant include: (1) Temporary spousal support; (2) award one spouse sole occupancy of the marital residence; (3) award interim attorney fees for one of the spouse to be paid by the other spouse, among others.  Therefore, when you speak with your attorney, be sure to bring up all financial concerns that you may have with filing for divorce and there may be a remedy available.

Brought to you by the Ohio law offices of Morrison & Nicholson.  Call today for a free consultation (937) 432 – 9775.


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OHIO County-Specific Divorce Requirements

man woman divorce ohio Often, married couples that are divorcing want to make the process as quick and painless (and inexpensive) as possible. They have come to some sort of agreement as to division of real and personal property, alimony amounts (if any), who they want to be the residential parent, and so on. But, just as frequently, divorcing couples cannot come to an agreement as to one or more of the above issues. In the latter case, this would be a contested divorce. When the divorce is contested, attorneys first work to resolve these issues by way of settlement in order to avoid a trial.

However, many times couples are so at odds with one another that nothing is negotiable and a trial is the only way that a resolution to one of the common issues can be reached. The trial is not unlike a criminal trial in that witnesses will be called to present testimonial evidence and documents will entered as exhibits to prove whatever the party introducing the evidence wants to prove (e.g., that a retirement account or home should not be considered maritial property).

Because a contested divorce can go to trial, one must be cognizant of how many courts differ in the trial process. In short, trial processes are very county-specific and it is important to be familiar with the Court’s local rules and customary practices. Some counties require several “pre-trials” beforehand and ask for several formal statements to be submitted to the court and filed with the Clerk of Courts ahead of the pre-trial or trial date. Some courts require the parties to submit to mediation before a trial is finally conducted, while other counties do not provide a mediation program for Domestic Relations matters at all. In other words, A divorce action in Greene County, Ohio can differ dramatically from a divorce action in Montgomery County, Miami County, Warren County or Butler County, Ohio. Familiarity with the judges and the court-specific rules can really help divorcing couples avoid a long and protracted divorce action and help make the entire process easier to meander through and more cost-effective for all involved.

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Easiest way to terminate the marriage when one spouse no longer lives in Ohio | Dissolution vs. Divorce

divorce_movingThe Courts of Ohio have jurisdiction to terminate the marriage of any Ohio resident that has lived in the state for at least six months.  This is the case even if the marriage took place in another state.   The termination can be by way of Divorce, Dissolution or annulment (in rare circumstances).  Often, couples that have separated and are living apart want to terminate the marriage and have already come to an agreement on all relevant issues (property division, child custody, spousal support, etc).  In other words, the parties agree to go their separate ways and really do not want (or have anything) to fight over.

Frequently, when the parties agree on all material issues, the best mechanism for terminating the marriage is a dissolution.  When parties petition the Court for a dissolution, they submit a separation agreement to the Court along with the petition.  Both parties later appear in court for a brief hearing where they affirm their desire to dissolve the marriage and to declare their agreement on all material issues, as is evidence by the signed separation agreement.  This seems easy enough, right?  Well, maybe not.

A dissolution will not work when one of the parties to the marriage is unable to appear in Court here in Ohio.   At the heart of the dissolution is the idea of agreement by the parties, and if one of the parties does not appear in court to formally declare their agreement, the Court cannot terminate the marriage. In this scenario, the parties should look into an “uncontested divorce.”

Generally speaking, an uncontested divorce is where one party files a complaint for divorce and the other spouse fails to file any responsive pleading or otherwise appear and defend the action.  The Court can terminate the marriage by simply having the plaintiff-spouse testify (along with one other witness to corroborate the testimony) and the defendant-spouse need not appear at all.  Although this seems rather intuitive, the real benefit of an uncontested divorce is that the parties can still enter into a separation agreement, just as in a dissolution, and submit it to the court for incorporation into the final divorce decree.

So, whenever two spouses reside far apart, they should consider an uncontested divorce action to save the absent spouse travel expenses.  But, remember that this will only work when both spouses are in agreement on the division of property, child custody, spousal support, etc.

Brought to you by the Ohio law offices of Morrison & Nicholson.  Call today for a free consultation (937) 432 – 9775.

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