Xenia, OH Divorce Attorneys

No matter how common divorce has become, for the couple going through the process, there is always emotional and financial upheaval. When children are involved, the process is even more stressful. At Cox Keller Lusardi, we recognize that the more contentious the interactions, the more damaging to all family members the divorce process becomes. We are, therefore, dedicated to calming the waters as we achieve the best terms for you in the most efficient way possible.


In Ohio, marriages can be dissolved in two ways: dissolution and divorce. Though both processes have the same legal results, dissolution is far easier for the parties involved. In order to choose dissolution, however, both partners have to agree on all aspects of the settlement -- real estate and property division, support, child custody, and dealing with debts. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are able to agree on the specifics of all of these areas, your attorney can formulate a Separation Agreement and file it with the court. In a dissolution, both parties have to appear in court for a Final Hearing, approximately 30 days after filing, and the process can often be completed in less than 90 days.

While it is a much quicker, less expensive, and less complicated than filing for divorce, dissolution is not used that frequently, since the very basis of divorce is typically disagreement and conflict. Most often, there are sticking points regarding property and monetary distribution; child custody, visitation, and support are other common areas of contention.

Contested and Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is similar to a dissolution, though the former was, almost certainly, originally contested. The fact that it is now uncontested simply means that the areas of discord have been ironed out by opposing attorneys and the parties are now in agreement. As might be expected, an uncontested divorce is finalized more quickly than a contested one. When a divorce of either kind takes place, at least 43 days must elapse between the filing process and the hearing.

In a contested divorce, on the other hand, the proceedings are likely to take many months, or even years, because there is a trial during which the opposing parties, each represented by an attorney, present their viewpoints on all pertinent issues to the judge who will ultimately decide on the terms of the divorce decree.

Grounds for Divorce

While dissolution does is a no-fault procedure, there are a number of legal grounds for divorce, including:

  • Incompatibility

  • Bigamy

  • Living separately for at least 1 year

  • Gross negligence in duties

  • Imprisonment in a state or federal prison

  • Extreme cruelty

  • Fraudulent misrepresentation

  • Habitual drunkenness

The Steps Involved in Divorce

First of all, in order to be eligible to be divorced in Ohio, one partner must have resided in the state for at least 6 months. In order to proceed, with the help of a well-qualified attorney you must then take the following steps:

  • File a complaint to which the opposing party responds

  • Exchange written, detailed, financial disclosures with the other party

  • Decide on the specifics of a parenting plan (custody, support, visitation)

At this point, the judge hears all the evidence, deliberates, and renders a decision. At this point, the divorce decree becomes final. The length of time it takes for the divorce to become official may vary since the judge may order both parties to participate in counseling before granting the divorce. In any case, the divorce process cannot begin until 30 days after the complaint is filed and the case must be heard within 90 days of filing. In many cases, the counseling, if required, can take place during the intervening 2 months.

Pretrial Orders

Because some issues need to be decided in the present, such as visitation schedules and which party will be responsible for paying bills before the divorce becomes final, your attorney may have to file requests for pretrial orders to cover immediate actions.

Property Division in Ohio

Since Ohio is an equitable division state, each spouse owns the income he or she earns during the marriage, and has the right to manage any property that is in his or her name alone. Nonetheless, which party’s name is on what property isn't the only deciding factor. Generally speaking, the judge will begin by presuming that property should be equally divided, but will listen to arguments from spouses who can show reason that this means of distribution is unfair. Ultimately, the judge is committed to dividing marital property equitably (fairly), but not necessarily equally.

In most cases, property and debts incurred during the marriage are distributed equitably, but not always equally. Gifts one spouse has acquired before the marriage or has inherited normally remain individually owned.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, formerly known as alimony, may be awarded to be paid by one partner to another based on disparate income levels, though this occurs less frequently than decades ago. Also, while in the past spousal support was usually paid by men to women, more and more men are receiving spousal support since their former wives are the higher wage earners. The court considers several factors in determining whether spousal support will be paid, and, if so, in what amount and to which spouse. Such factors include:

  • Standard of living during the marriage

  • Lack of resources on the part of one spouse to meet legitimate needs

  • Length of the marriage

  • Age and health of the two parties

  • One spouse’s need for further education in order to earn a living

Child Custody

Unless proven otherwise, it is assumed that any children of a marriage should have ongoing contact with both parents after a divorce. The precise terms of parenting time will be determined by the judge with input from both parents and possibly from psychologists and/or other counselors. The child’s own viewpoint may be taken into account, and is more likely to be considered seriously the older the child is.

Child Support

In Ohio, as in all other states, both parents are responsible for supporting their children, whether or not a divorce takes place. The factors that enter into financial support decisions are generally [1] each parent’s income and resources and [2] how much time each parent spends with the child. In some cases, the family court may rule that one spouse who has been unemployed should be earning money or that one spouse is fully capable of earning a higher salary than he or she is making at present.

Even the simplest dissolutions of marriage are life-altering and often heart-breaking. The skilled family attorneys at Cox Keller Lusardi not only have extensive experience in handling divorce cases; they are also caring and compassionate people. When you engage our services as your divorce attorneys, we will be with you every step of the way, supporting you, protecting your interests, and working hard with knowledge and integrity to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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85 West Main Street, Xenia, OH 45385
| Phone: 937-372-6921

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