Tag Archives: divorce docket times

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.

Posted in Family Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | No comments

Can the Child choose which Parent they want to live with in Ohio?

It is one of the most common myths that people maintain when it comes to child custody: Once a child reaches a certain age, that child can choose which parent to live with, right? Well, that is actually incorrect. However, this myth is based in history and actually grounded is truth. Under former Ohio law, once a child attained the age of 12 years old,child_support_ohio_termination that child had the power to choose which parent was to be deemed the residential parent and legal custodian of that child. However, under current Ohio law, minor children no longer have the ability to choose which parent they want to live with on a permanent basis. In other words, when the Court issues its final divorce decree which, among other things, allocates parental rights and responsibilities, it is not the child that determines which parent is to be the residential parent, even if that child is a teenager. Ohio law treats a 14 year old in the same manner as a 4 year old when it comes to determining which parent with be designated as the residential parent. And, like almost all issues involving minor children, the determination is guided by what is in the “best interest of the child”.

So, divorcing parents, remember that your child will not be choosing for or against you when it comes to custody issues. Rather, the Court will decide and you need to focus your energy on convincing the Court that it would be in the best interest of the child to live with you … do not work on convincing the child that he or she should choose you. Which, in truth, is not fair to the child anyway.

Posted in Family Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

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.

Posted in Bankruptcy, Family Law | Tagged , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Family Law | Tagged , , , | No comments