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Divorce Attorneys In Columbus, Ohio

When a marriage is ending, many people get caught up in emotional conflict. While the divorcing couple may agree that the marriage is over, they often disagree as to how to resolve custody, property division and other matters in their divorce. At the law firm of Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, our divorce attorneys in Columbus, Ohio will help you keep your focus on the tasks at hand: achieving an equitable division of marital assets, creating a parenting plan for raising your children, and determining appropriate child support and spousal support.

For more information on a divorce topic, click on one of the links below:

  • Marriage dissolution: Marriage dissolution is an alternative to a contested divorce.
  • Collaborative law: Collaborative law focuses on the parties and their attorneys working together as a group to identify and address the issues and concerns of both parties in order to help the two sides resolve complex divorce issues without putting the decision into the hands of the court. A successful Collaborative Law case results in the marriage being terminated by a Dissolution and avoids the time, expense and emotional costs that result from a contested divorce.
  • Mediation: Mediation is a process that can be employed in a contested divorce or in a collaborative case or a simple dissolution. Mediation provides an opportunity for the parties to work with a neutral third-party who can assist them by facilitating discussion so that the parties can both express their thoughts and concerns with the hope of developing an agreement that meets the needs of both parties and their children. If an agreement is reached on all, or some, issues, the agreement can be incorporated into divorce decree or separation agreement.
  • Marital property division: Ohio courts start with a presumption that an equitable property division means an equal one. However, the judge can decide that an unequal division is “equitable” based on the facts of your case.
  • Child custody and parenting time: In Ohio, there are two types of child custody: sole custody and shared parenting. Each type of custody has its own characteristics, but neither of them determine the parenting schedule or what the child support obligations of either party will be.
  • Child and spousal support: In Ohio, child support is based on statutory guideline calculation that considers the income of the mother and father, the cost of healthcare coverage and the cost of work-related childcare. The statutory calculation must be done to establish the guideline support amount, but the parties may agree to a different amount or the court may order a different amount if it deems it to be appropriate to do so. Spousal support is not based upon a statutory calculation, rather the court has total discretion to determine the amount an length of spousal support after considering the parties’ incomes, the length of the marriage, and a host of other factors.
  • Relocation and child custody: Our lawyers represent parents who wish to relocate as well as parents who oppose such moves. The Ohio courts start with the presumption that a relocation of children away from a parent is harmful to the children and unfair to the parent being moved away from. So, a parent that relocates with children away from the other parent must convince the court that there are valid reasons for the relocation that will, ultimately, be beneficial to the children.
  • Unmarried parents and child custody/support issues: Our lawyers represent unmarried fathers who wish to establish custody and visitation rights, as well as unmarried mothers who wish to retain sole custody of their children.
  • Civil Protection Orders (CPOs): CPOs are sometimes filed just prior to, or during divorce cases. CPO’s can be necessary for the protection of a party or the children, but sometimes a CPO based upon false accusations is filed solely as an attempt to get the upper hand in divorce or custody cases.

How Is Property Divided In A Divorce?

Some spouses can agree on how they want their property and assets divided. For others, the court must decide. This does not necessarily mean your property will be divided 50/50. Proving why you deserve more can be important. Anything you acquired before your marriage is known as separate property and typically will stay in your possession.

What Is A “No-Fault” Divorce?

Each state is different, but in Ohio, if you are living separately for one year you are eligible to file for a no-fault divorce. This means you are not required to show wrongdoing of either party in order to file the divorce.

Are There Alternatives To Divorce?

Yes. You can get legally separated, which allows you to retain your marital status. Typically, people do this because of religious beliefs or to maintain health care benefits. It is also an option for those who might consider reconciling in the future. Another alternative is an annulment which means your marriage was never legally valid; this can only happen for specific reasons.

In-Court Divorce Is Not Your Only Option

Terminating a relationship inevitably involves some degree of stress or pain. It is the end of a fond dream, no matter how you go about it. But the law provides several ways to exit from a marriage, apart from the usual court-based divorce.

This section examines other ways we can help you to bring your marriage to an end, short of contested divorce.

Marriage Dissolution

Our lawyers can guide you through every step of the marriage dissolution process. The first step is to negotiate and draft a separation agreement and a shared parenting plan containing all of the terms the parties have agreed to. The next step is to prepare all of the other documents that are required to file the case with the court. The final step is to conduct the final dissolution hearing, during which the judge confirms that the parties understand and are in agreement with the terms of the separation agreement and shared parenting plan; that the parties both wish to end the marriage; and then, grants the dissolution of the marriage and signs the  final decree.

Collaborative Law

The collaborative process is an alternative way to conduct the marriage dissolution process, that requires both parties to be represented by an attorney and that both parties and their attorneys work as a group to gather all of the information necessary to address all of the relevant issues and to negotiate a settlement agreement that is fair and acceptable to both parties. A collaborative law case differs from a simple dissolution in that both parties and their attorneys must execute a contractual agreement stating that they will not abandon the collaborative case and initiate a contested divorce case. If one of the parties does decide to abandon the collaborative process and initiate a contested divorce, neither party may be represented by the same attorney that represented them in the collaborative case.

Annulment

To have a marriage annulled, one spouse must establish one of six grounds for annulment. Requests for annulment must be brought within two years of the marriage or two years of discovering the reason why the marriage was not a real marriage. Property division is often less equitable in an annulment.

Our lawyers also assist with uncontested divorce, an affordable and low-key process in which no major issues require resolution.

Schedule A Divorce Consultation With One Of Our Attorneys

To schedule a divorce consultation with a lawyer at Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, call 380-217-3322 or fill out the contact form on this website. Our law office is on Fifth Street in downtown Columbus.

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