Understanding the elements of Ohio divorce cases

Ohio couples who wish to divorce must have reasonable cause, their property must be divided and the court must decide whether to award spousal support.

After getting married, some couples in Butler County, and elsewhere, drift apart. In such situations, they may decide to divorce. Regardless of how long a couple has been married, there is more to ending a marriage than just signing some papers. Therefore, it behooves people who are considering a divorce to understand the elements of divorce cases in the state of Ohio.

Grounds for divorce

Couples in Ohio cannot end their marriage for just any reason. State law stipulates certain causes for which the court may grant a divorce, including the following:

• Adultery

• Gross neglect of duty

• Alcohol abuse

• Voluntary absence of one spouse for at least one year

• Incompatibility

• Imprisonment of one spouse in a correctional institution at the time of filing

Additionally, the courts may grant people divorces if they have lived separately with no interruptions for a minimum of one year. Couples may also obtain a divorce if one partner, or the other, had another living husband or wife during their marriage.

Dividing property

Over the course of their marriage, it is common for couples to acquire property and assets. Known as marital property, this may include wages and other income, personal real estate holdings, retirement benefits and appreciation of separate property. When couples divorce, their marital property must be split up between them.

In general, Ohio state law specifies that marital property should be equally divided between spouses. In situations when property cannot be equally split, it is divided based on what the court deems equitable. To make this determination, the court will consider a number of factors, including the duration of the couple's marriage, each spouse's assets and liabilities, the costs of selling certain assets and the tax consequences.

Spousal support

In some marriages, one spouse is the primary breadwinner, while the other primarily manages the home. When such marriages come to an end, the spouses who were not the main earners may need some form of support. As such, the court may award them spousal support. According to Ohio state law, spousal support is a monetary payment that may be ordered for the sustenance and support of a former spouse.

Family law courts consider several factors when deciding whether it is appropriate and reasonable to order spousal support, or alimony, payments. These include the income of both spouses, as well as their relative earning abilities. Additionally, the court will take into account the ages and physical, emotional and mental conditions of both spouses. The duration of the marriage and the standard of living that was established during the marriage also plays a role in determining if, and how much, spousal support should be awarded.

Seeking legal guidance

Going through a divorce is often an emotional and stressful experience for Ohio couples, even when things are amicable. Working with an attorney may help people in this situation to navigate the legal process, and effectively negotiate settlements. A legal representative may look out for their interests, and help them to understand their options.