Tag Archives: dissolution

Montgomery, Greene, Butler, Clark, Miami and Warren County Ohio: Divorce Fact 6/10: How long will my divorce / dissolution case take?

THE TIMING OF THE CASE WLL VARY DEPENDING ON SERVICE OF PROCESS AND THE COURT’S DOCKET: If you are the Plaintiff (filing for divorce first), you must first “perfect service” of process and the court summons on the other party (Defendant) before the court (Greene, Butler, Montgomery, Clark, and Warren County Courts) will schedule a court date.  The Court does not have jurisdiction over the opposing party until he/she has been properly served with the appropriate paperwork.  Service is typically perfected via certified mail, issued by the Clerk of Courts shortly after the case is filed.  Essentially, the Clerk gathers all of the documents filed, creates its own summons, and requests that the postal service deliver the documents to the defendant via certified mail. The Court will not consider service perfected until the U.S.P.S. sends the return receipt to the Clerk of Court’s office.

If the defendant refuses to sign or otherwise claim the certified mail, the clerk of courts will then notify your attorney that service was not perfected.  The attorney will then ask the clerk to “re-issue” service via regular mail, as Ohio law allows service by regular mail if the certified mail was unclaimed or refused by the defendant.  Service can also be perfected via personal service by the county sheriff or a special process server (although these methods are more expensive than certified mail).  Regardless of how service is ultimately perfected, the court will not schedule the case for a hearing until service has been completed.   Further impacting the scheduling of the case is the court’s own docket.  Logically, if the court has a backed-up docket, your case will be scheduled out further than if the court’s docket is not as crowded.   How quickly you receive a court date cannot be controlled by the attorneys.

Brought to you by the Miami-Valley law offices of Morrison & Nicholson.  Author: Charles W. Morrison, Partner at Morrison & Nicholson. Call today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney by calling (937) 432 – 9775.

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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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Do I Need a Lawyer for an Ohio Dissolution of Marriage?

I was looking over the Morrison & Nicholson Ohio Law Blog webstats the other day and noticed that quite a few people were looking for information about Ohio’s dissolution of marriage process and whether or not a lawyer is required.  Thus, this blog entry was born: What is a dissolution and do I Need a Lawyer for an Ohio Dissolution of Marriage?

In most states the term dissolution refers to a traditional divorce proceeding. However, in Ohio a dissolution of marriage is a statutory alternative to a divorce proceeding in which husband and wife both agree on parental rights, spousal support, and division of personal property, contained in a document called a separation agreement.  The husband and wife then file the a dissolution petition to the court, attaching the separation agreement and various other forms, asking the court to issue a decree.

Ok, so you have googled “dissolution of marriage in Ohio,” purchased the forms from an online legal form vendor for 300 bucks and now your thinking about all the money your going to save by not having to hire a lawyer.  Can this work?  Yes, it can.  A lawyer is not necessarily required to get a marriage dissolution.  However, before you go that route keep in mind that many of these online forms warehouses give little or no instruction as to filling out the forms and the process of filing.  Furthermore an attorney can help negotiate, advise, and protect your interests.  For those of you willing to bear the storm I hope that this blog entry will at give you a big picture perspective of the process itself.

Before you order anything online you should stop by your local county clerk’s office (normally the Division of Domestic Relations) or the website and take a look at the forms that are required for a dissolution.  Doing so will give you a better idea about whether this is something that you would like to tackle yourself.  Also, the people working in the Clerk’s office are generally not very helpful as they are not allowed by law to give legal advice, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

After you have have all the required forms properly filled out you then submit them to the court.  A petition hearing date will then be set anywhere from 45-90 days later.  At this hearing a judge will ask you and your spouse a few questions then she will issue the decree of dissolution and voilia, your marriage is dissolved.

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Bankruptcy & Divorce, which first?

Bankruptcy and Divorce

Lets take the following hypothetical situation:

Ryan and Lauren are married but soon to be divorced.  Ryan is planning on moving from the marital residence in Miamisburg, Ohio, to Tennessee with his new girlfriend Jennifer.  Lauren has already moved to Kettering, Ohio.  Can they file a joint bankruptcy together in Dayton?  Would it be better to wait and file their bankruptcy after the divorce is final?

Divorces breed bankruptcies.  During the marriage there was one household with one set of expenses.  Once one spouse moves out, there become two households and two sets of expenses, and divorce litigation can be very costly.  Filing bankruptcy is often the only solution for people getting divorced.  But how does separation and divorce affect a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Ryan and Lauren can file a joint petition at any time during their marriage, even if they are maintaining separate residences.  Filing joint bankruptcy is cheaper because saves the additional filing fee.  However, most bankruptcy attorneys will not advise filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in anticipation of a divorce.  Chapter 13 bankruptcies require that the debtors make monthly payments for 36 or 60 months.  This is impractical to do if the individuals involved will no longer be married.

The timing of the two separate cases in Ohio is also important.  Filing either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stall any existing divorce proceedings.  The bankruptcy court issues what is called an Automatic Stay at the beginning of the bankruptcy that prohibits anyone from taking action on any debts.  Therefore, the divorce court cannot divide the debts of the spouses until the divorce case is final or a Relief From Stay is obtained from the bankruptcy court.  It is often considered preferable to file the joint Chapter 7 bankruptcy a couple of weeks before filing the divorce case, as the Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not generally take as long as a contested divorce.

A skilled bankruptcy attorney will be able to answer all of your questions about filing bankruptcy in the context of a divorce or separation.  Many Dayton-Springfield area attorneys offer free bankruptcy consultation.

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