Ohio residents have the option of terminating their marriage through dissolution (Ohio Revised Code §3105.61) which requires advance mutual agreement, or through divorce (Ohio Revised Code §3105.01) which may be contested or uncontested. In rare circumstances, parties may qualify for annulment of marriage (Ohio Revised Code §3105.31).
There are many aspects involved in terminating a marriage. The Court
must divide the parties’ property and debts, and if appropriate, award
spousal support (formerly “alimony”). If there are children, the Court
must allocate parental rights and responsibilities and determine
responsibility for child support and health care needs. It is the
Court’s responsibility to ask questions to ensure orders are made that
require the parties to appropriately meet their statutory duties to
order to make a fair property distribution the parties must fully
disclose the value of all assets no matter whose name they are in. This
includes things like real estate, bank accounts, pension and profit
sharing plans, pending insurance claims, lawsuits and personal
property. The Court must also be informed of all outstanding debts. This
includes mortgages, car loans, credit cards, department store and
credit card charges, unpaid medical and hospital bills and other
bills. Property and debt are divided consistent with the guidelines set
forth in Ohio Revised Code §3105.171.
The Court must also be informed about all sources of income. Both
parties must reveal their income to each other and verify that income
with documentation. This is necessary for the Court to fashion
appropriate child and spousal support orders. Child support is
established consistent with the Ohio Child Support Guidelines in Ohio Revised Code §3119.01-3119.24. Spousal support is determined according to the considerations set forth in Ohio Revised Code §3105.18.
When there are minor children, the Court must ensure there is a written
plan as to how the parents will share parenting time as well as the
duties and costs of raising the children. In cases where the parties
have been successful in working together on parenting issues a “shared
parenting” plan may be appropriate. Alternatively, it may be in the
child’s best interest if one parent is designated the residential parent
and legal custodian and a specific parenting schedule is
created. Parenting determinations are guided by the best interest of the
child and the legal considerations set forth in Ohio Revised Code §3109.04.