Divorce or Dissolution?

Divorce or Dissolution?

Divorce or Dissolution?

There are two ways to end a marriage – by dissolution of marriage and by divorce. 

Dissolution

A dissolution of marriage proceeding is where the parties agree on all of the terms and conditions of ending their marriage. Once an agreement is reached, the agreement is set forth in a Separation Agreement and filed with the Domestic Relations Court. Should the dissolution involve minor children, the parties’ parental rights are also set-forth in the separation agreement or a shared parenting plan which is also filed with the Court for final approval. After filing all the necessary documents, both parties attend a final hearing before a Judge. To save costs for our clients and for easy scheduling, we use a private judge service for the final hearing to occur at our office instead of attending court. This saves clients time and money!

Winkler Legal offers an affordable flat fee dissolution as an alternative to a costly, time-consuming divorce proceeding. Please call us to learn how to dissolve your marriage without stepping foot in the Courthouse.

Divorce

A divorce is a contested, adversarial proceeding where the parties sue one another and address the same issues of ending their marriage as with a dissolution; however, significant control over the outcome of the matter is deferred to the Court. Sometimes a contested proceeding is necessary when one or both of the parties cannot reach an agreement. However, the parties are not prevented from negotiating a settlement any time before divorce trial commences. 

Division of Marital Assets

The Court is required to allocate between the parties all assets acquired by the parties (individually or jointly) during the marriage, including the marital home, retirement and pension benefits, military benefits, savings and checking account balances, and business interests, to name a few. There are many exceptions so it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney to discuss your marital property rights.

Division of Marital Debts

Like marital assets, marital debts are liabilities incurred by the parties (jointly or individually) during the marriage, including credit card debt, mortgage(s), home equity line(s) of credit, loans against retirement assets, personal loans, delinquent taxes, and automobile loans, to name a few. As with the division of marital assets, there are exceptions and it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney to discuss your matter.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is not automatic when ending a marriage and it must be requested by a party. Spousal support paid is no longer deductible from the obligor’s income and includable as taxable income to the recipient. The parties may request for the Court to retain continuing jurisdiction to modify the spousal support amount and duration after the divorce is finalized. Spousal support is a means of equalizing the parties’ household income when it is necessary and reasonable to do so. As with all family law matters, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced family law attorney to better understand your spousal support rights.

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Child Custody

When ending a marriage with children, the parties’ parental rights must be determined. There are two types of custody arrangements, sole legal custody and shared parenting. Both types of arrangements address the legal rights and responsibilities of the parents. Sole legal custody is where legal authority regarding major decisions such as education, activities and medical care is vested with one parent. Shared Parenting is where both parties have the equal legal authority to makes major decisions jointly. In addition to custodial rights, the parenting time for the parents needs to be set forth in the final agreement. Parenting time includes regular weekly and weekend parenting time along with holidays, vacation parenting times, and winter and summer breaks.

Child Support

Regardless of the parenting arrangement, the financial support of the children must also be addressed. Everything from monthly child support, health insurance, payment of extracurricular activities, and allocating income tax dependency exemptions, must be clearly stated. Additionally, when determining the amount of child support to be paid, it is very important to accurately determine the parties’ incomes, along with important expenditures such as health insurance premiums and childcare costs. Not all income is includable for purposes of calculating child support, and some income such as overtime, bonus and commission income are subject to averaging rules. It is possible for the parties to agree to decrease or increase the child support amount (called a deviation in child support), so long as the factors set forth under Ohio’s child support statutes are observed and the Court finds that the deviation is in the best interests of the children.

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With knowledge and foresight, we assist our clients in being involved and informed in their unique decision-making process. We offer a wealth of information including videos, detailed blog postings on hot topics, informational articles, and comprehensive seminars to educate our clients. If you have any questions, we offer free consultations to discuss your personal needs. 

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