Tag Archives: debt marriage
Gay and lesbian couples are often concerned that their “non-traditional family” will be a disadvantage in custody decisions. While technically this issue is never to be determinative of custody disputes, lest the Court violate the Equal Protection Clause, many gay and lesbian couples feel that their sexual orientation played a role in the ultimate disposition of the Court. Putting aside potential biases of certain judges, there is at least one case that seems to lend credence to those concerns. In 2008, the Second Appellant District in Clark County decided a case by the name of Page v. Page in which the Court specifically stated that a homosexual relationship of a mother caused adverse affects to the minor children and warranted a change of custody from that mother to the father. The facts of that case can be summarized as follows:
Four years after the mother was designated the residential parent of both children, the father filed a motion to modify the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. The common pleas trial Court granted the father’s motion and awarded him custody. The appellate court held that the common pleas court did not err in finding that a change of circumstances occurred as there was evidence that, as a collateral result of the mother’s relationship with her same-sex partner, both children had experienced personality disorders, and therefore, modification of custody was in the children’s best interest. The court determined that the adverse collateral effects of the mother’s relationship with her partner and the partner’s role in the children’s lives showed little room for improvement in the future.
While the Court was careful to say that it was not basing its decision on the simple fact that the mother was a lesbian, but rather the collateral affects that her relationship had on the children, it should give pause to the gay and lesbian couples fighting for custody. This is something to keep an eye on in the future as more and more gay and lesbian couples fight for custody of one of the partner’s minor children.
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Divorce 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.
Easiest way to terminate the marriage when one spouse no longer lives in Ohio | Dissolution vs. Divorce
The 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.
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