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Ohio Family Law: Frequently Asked Questions

Family law and divorce issues can be an upheaval for families. As life changes for you and your children, it’s important to have sound legal counsel and strong representation every step of the way. At DeBra Law, LLC, we are here to answer your questions and guide you through this difficult time.

To arrange a consultation, please call us in Cincinnati at 513-548-5920 or complete our contact form. Our divorce and family law attorney advises and represents clients throughout Hamilton, Clermont, Warren and the surrounding counties.

How long does divorce take in Ohio?

The answer to this question will depend largely on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the parties disagree on at least one matter, whether it’s child custody, property division or spousal support. Essentially, the divorce may take as long as it takes to resolve the dispute. Sometimes this can happen in a matter of months; other times, the divorce could take more than a year to finalize. It all depends on whether the divorcing spouses can come to an agreement with the help of their attorneys.

With an uncontested divorce, one spouse files for divorce, and the other spouse fails to respond within the allotted 42 days. That is when a judge may grant the divorce. In any case, if you are planning to file for divorce, it is highly recommended that you seek counsel from a divorce attorney before filing. Our divorce attorney at DeBra Law, LLC, can assess your situation and help ensure that your divorce filing is expedited and handled smoothly, and that your rights and interests are protected from day one.

Note: An uncontested divorce is not the same thing as a dissolution. Read on to learn more.

What is dissolution, as opposed to divorce?

In Ohio, dissolution is an alternative to divorce, but the end result is the same. A big difference is that dissolution can greatly reduce the time and cost of divorce. If you and your spouse agree on every aspect of your divorce and do not need any involvement from a judge, then dissolution may be an option for you.

With dissolution, you and the other party draft your own settlement agreement and present it to the court. Then a hearing is scheduled for 30 to 90 days later, and at that hearing a judge will finalize the dissolution if you and your spouse are still in agreement about all aspects of your divorce.

Note: Even if you decide to seek a dissolution instead of a traditional divorce, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced divorce attorney before agreeing to a divorce settlement. Unfortunately, many people have signed away important custody and property rights by agreeing to a dissolution before seeking legal counsel.

How is marital property divided in Ohio?

In Ohio, marital property is divided between divorcing spouses on the basis of “equitable distribution.” It’s important to understand that equitable distribution is meant to be fair, and sometimes “fair” does not mean “equal.” Multiple factors must be considered when seeking a fair division of marital assets and liabilities, and equitable distribution often becomes complex when disputes and high-value assets are involved.

For more on equitable distribution in Ohio, please see our property division overview.

Can I modify my custody and support agreement after my divorce?

If you and your family have experienced a significant change in circumstances after your divorce was finalized or the court issued a custody or support order, it may be possible to petition for a modification. For example, if your child’s needs have changed significantly, or if a relocation with your child is in your child’s best interests and not a violation of the other parent’s parental rights, then the court may grant a modification.

In these cases, it is always best to have an experienced family law attorney on your side. Modifications of custody and support must be approved by the court, and failing to get court approval could result in a motion of contempt of court.

For more on contempt and how it relates to custody, support and property division, please see our overview of the right to file a motion of contempt.

Contact DeBra Law, LLC

To schedule a consultation, please call DeBra Law, LLC, at 513-548-5920 or complete our contact form. We represent clients in Cincinnati and throughout Hamilton, Clermont, Warren and the surrounding counties.