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Middletown Law Firm Handles Complex Divorces

Divorce is one of the most traumatic events that can occur in a lifetime, carrying repercussions not just for the divorcing spouses, but for the entire extended family. In this difficult time, you need guidance from attorneys with experience.

Combs, Schaefer, Ball & Little knows that divorce takes you into an unfamiliar and often complicated realm of law at a time when you are least prepared for it, and we are here to help. Our reputable and skilled divorce attorneys practicing in Middletown, Lebanon, Franklin, West Chester and surrounding areas can provide you with trustworthy and sensible guidance during the divorce process and as you map out your parental rights and financial future.

What is a divorce?

Divorce is a means to end a marriage. It arises when the husband and wife cannot resolve their problems, and are asking the court to make the final decision and issue orders concerning property division, spousal support and matters regarding the children.

Some divorce cases are eventually settled by agreement between the parties. When this occurs, a proposed agreed decree of divorce is prepared, signed by the parties and submitted to the court for approval. When approved, the agreement is made effective by a court order. If the parties cannot agree to resolve one or more of their disputed issues, the disputes are presented to the court. The court will review the parties’ evidence and make its decision based on Ohio law. The experienced Middletown family law attorneys at Combs, Schaefer, Ball & Little can help you navigate the complexities of divorce.

How is property divided after a marriage is ended?

Ohio statutes define marital and separate property. Marital property is property acquired during the marriage, including real estate, personal property or intangible property such as stocks and bonds, bank accounts and retirement plans. Marital property also may include increases in the value of separate property due to either spouse’s work effort, labor or contribution of marital money to the increase in the property’s value.

Separate property includes all real, personal and intangible property from an inheritance; property owned before the marriage; income or appreciation from separate property not resulting from the labor or substantial effort of either party during the marriage; a gift after the marriage date that is proved to be made to only one spouse; and an award for personal injury, except any part of the award that compensates for lost wages occurring during the marriage, or medical bills from the injury paid with marital funds.

Middletown attorney explains spousal support

Spousal support is awarded to help sustain a spouse after a property division has been awarded. The court may consider specific factors in making an award. Some of these factors are the ages, earning ability and health of the parties, the length of the marriage, and the standard of living during the marriage. The court also may consider any other relevant factors. It is important to have a skilled and reliable attorney in requesting or defending a claim for spousal support.  The attorneys at Combs, Schaefer, Ball & Little can fight for defend your rights.

How are parental rights and responsibilities allocated?

The court allocates the parental rights and responsibilities between the parties based on the best interests of the children. Shared parenting is often preferred a possibility of allocating custody. If a plan for the children’s care is submitted by one or both parties, the court may adopt the plan and grant shared parenting. However, if the court finds the proposed plan is not in the best interest of the children, it can request amendment of the plan or deny shared parenting altogether. If no plan is submitted, the court cannot award shared parenting and will allocate the parental responsibilities to one of the parents, naming that parent as the child’s residential parent and legal custodian.

At either or both of the parties’ request, the court must talk with a child about his or her wishes concerning parenting arrangements, or the Court can appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The guardian ad litem, often another attorney, represents the child and the child’s best interests. The court takes into consideration, but is not bound by, the child’s own wishes and concerns in these matters. Other factors taken into account include the child’s mental, emotional and psychological development; the interaction of the child with other significant persons; and the adjustment to the school, community and home. The court also may consider factors such as whether a party can appropriately serve as a custodial parent, whether support has been paid, and whether parenting time has been allowed or any abuse has occurred.

How are parenting time rights determined?

In every case involving children, the court orders a specific schedule for parenting time allocation to the parents. The primary consideration is the best interest of the children. Ohio statutes provide many factors to be considered in making the determination. Each Ohio county has a standard parenting time order.

What are temporary orders?

The court may issue temporary orders to be in effect while the case is pending and before the final decision. The person seeking temporary orders files a motion with the court, for instance, for the use of the marital residence, allocation of parental rights, support of minor children, spousal support and assignment of responsibility to pay marital debts (such as the house payments, car payments, insurance, etc.). These temporary orders are not necessarily what the court will award as a final order when the case is resolved. Temporary orders, unless modified, usually remain in effect and are enforceable from the time the court approves the order until the final action is granted.

Contact our Middletown lawyers for a free consultation

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact Combs, Schaefer, Ball & Little today.