Family Law

What are Legally Sufficient grounds for Divorce in Ohio?

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.

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

Under 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.

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

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.

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OHIO County-Specific Divorce Requirements

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

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 to fight over anything.

Frequently, when the parties agree on all material issues, the best mechanism for terminating the marriage is a dissolution. When parties petition for a dissolution, they submit a separation agreement to the Court along with the petition and appear for a brief hearing where both parties agree that want to the dissolve the marriage and declare their agreement on all material issues. However, 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. The parties can sign 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.

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Child Support in Ohio – How can I have the amount adjusted if I can no longer pay the current amount?

Child Support in Ohio is established by statute and is based upon a standard formula. Only in rare cases does the Court deviate from the amount that the formula prescribes for the divorcing couples’ situation (if the divorcing couple makes a lot of money or very little money combined, the Court has the power to ignore the prescribed formula and establish an amount itself). This formula is useful and may be fair at the time of the divorce decree, but many clients want to know what happens if circumstances change such that the amount of child support is too much or too little a few years down the road. For example, maybe the father has lost his job and can no longer pay the amount originally set-down in the divorce decree. Or, say the wife wins the lottery and now has a better financial position than she did when the couple divorced. Well, a child support obligor can ask for an Administrative review of the child support amount (through the Child Support Enforcement Agency) and ask that it be reduced based upon a change of circumstances. Or, the obligor can file a motion with the Court (as a post-decree motion) and ask that the Court modify the amount based upon the change in circumstances. If the Child Support Agency (CSEA) declines the obligor’s request for a modification downward, he can appeal that ruling to the Court afterward. So, in short, if you are a current child support obligor and you feel that based upon a change in circumstances, the amount you are paying is no longer appropriate, there are avenues to pursue where you might have it reduced. Speak with an attorney about whether you can have your child support reduced (or increased) and how best to go about it.

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Can I Increase Visitation With My Child As Opposed to Filing for Custody?

We have previously posted on the topic of filing a motion to change custody of minor children from parent to the other (a motion to “reallocate parental rights and responsibilities”). As was discussed in that post, the petitioning parent that wants to become the custodial parent has the burden to prove that there has been some substantive change in circumstances of the current custodial parent or the minor child (not the petitioning parent’s circumstances). This can be a rather high burden for the petitioning parent to meet, and if the child appears to be doing alright in the current situation, the chances of success are not that great, even if the petitioning parent’s home would be a better destination for the children. Courts are loath to shift the children around after custody has been established, and therefore, a change in circumstances is needed. Once the parent shows that there is such a change, he or she must demonstrate that a change in custodial status would be in the children’s best interest. If the parent cannot first adequately show a change in circumstances, there is no need to even evaluate the children’s best interest.

However, what if the petitioning parent does not want to obtain legal custody, but rather wants to merely increase visitation with the children? Although the motion would still be considered a motion to reallocate parental rights and responsibilities, the standard for modification of the prior Court Order is not as high. The petitioning parent need not show that there is any change in circumstances in order to prevail on a motion to increase parenting time (“Visitation”). Rather, all the petitioning parent must do is demonstrate that increasing visitation is in the child’s best interest. Essentially, a petitioning parent skips straight to the best interest issue, and never has to show that something has changed with the custodial parent or child. Motions to increase parenting time are common and are often granted, considering that increasing visitation would not fundamentally disrupt the children’s life and more contact with a parent is in most cases beneficial to the child.

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Difference between Domestic Relations Court and Juvenile Court in Custody cases

It can be very confusing as to which court is the proper court to file a motion for alteration of parental rights and responsibilities. Do I file in the Domestic Relations Court? Or, do I file in the Juvenile Court? How are they different? It seems that they both handle child custody issues in Ohio, so which is the right one? Well, the answer is a simple one. If the parents were married and divorced, then the Domestic relations Court will handle all post-decree motions, including those related to child custody, child support and spousal support. However, if the parents were never married, then any original custody determination was made in the Juvenile Court and that Court would handle all subsequent motions related to child custody. Basically, go back to the Court where the original determination was made. If you cannot remember which Court or find your papers, then simply apply the general rule.

If you have never been married to the other parent, and there has never been a Court Order determining child custody, then you would need to file in the Juvenile Court initially.

In Sum: always file in the court that originally issued any order respecting child custody. If there has never been a Court Order respecting child custody and you ar

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Children Services Home Studies When Custody Is an Issue

If a person wants to take custody of a child that is alleged to be abused, neglected or dependent child, either with Children Services filing a complaint, or a private party filing a complaint for custody, those prospective custodians must have a home study conducted. Many people gt nervous when the issue of a home study is raised, fearing that outsiders will soon be prying into their lives. However, homestudies are rather mundane and the items the investigators are interested in are very basic in nature. When Children Services or a privte organization conducts a homestudy, they are effectively looking at the following:

1. Is the home structurally sound?

2. Is there adequate room in the home that would allow the custodians to take-in another child?

3. Is the home sanitary and safe in all respects?

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If you have a personal injury, Social Security, or VA Benefit issue please contact the Law Offices of John T. Nicholson and schedule a free consultation today! Please Call us at 1-800-596-1533 or fill out our contact form by clicking the button below.

Law Offices of John T. Nicholson

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Dayton, OH 45432-1805
(937) 432-9775
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2021 Auburn Ave., Suite 105
Cincinnati, OH 45219
(513) 276-4677
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1041 Dublin Rd #103
Columbus, OH 43215
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Franklin, OH 45005
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Kettering, OH 45429
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Piqua, OH 45356
(937) 325-8500
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Springfield

150 N Limestone St #217
Springfield, OH 45501
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Trotwood

2541 Shiloh Springs Road
Dayton, OH 45426
(937) 524-5922
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Troy

22 N Market St
Troy, OH 45373
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West Chester

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Cincinnati, OH 45069
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Mailing Address

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Dayton, OH 45441
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Beavercreek Office

4461 Dayton Xenia Road
Dayton, OH 45432-1805
(937) 432-9775
Map & Directions

Cincinnati Office

2021 Auburn Ave., Suite 105
Cincinnati, OH 45219
(513) 276-4677
Map & Directions

Columbus Office

1041 Dublin Rd #103
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 384-5800
Map & Directions

Franklin Office

8 Stadia Drive
Franklin, OH 45005
(937) 432-9775
Map & Directions

Kettering Office

5335 Far Hills Ave., Ste. 108
Kettering, OH 45429
(937) 524-5922
Map & Directions

Piqua Office

430 N Wayne St
Piqua, OH 45356
(937) 325-8500
Map & Directions

Springfield Office

150 N Limestone St #217
Springfield, OH 45501
(937) 325-8500
Map & Directions

Trotwood Office

2541 Shiloh Springs Road
Dayton, OH 45426
(937) 524-5922
Map & Directions

Troy Office

22 N Market St
Troy, OH 45373
(937) 524-5922
Map & Directions

West Chester Office

7103 Cincinnati Columbus Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45069
(513) 276-4677
Map & Directions