Face it, folks. No matter who you are or how long you have been married, you are never out of the woods when it comes to the possibility of getting a divorce. Our firm has handled many divorces that you would classify as a long term marriage. We have handled divorces involving a sixty-one (61) year marriage, a fifty-five (55) year marriage and many more with forty or more years of marriage between the parties. We have also handled divorces involving marriages that have lasted less than six (6) months. We have handled the whole gamut.

Based on our experience, no one, with complete 100% confidence, guarantee that they will not get divorced. Marriage is a two way street, and when one of the parties to the marriage decides that they don’t want to be on that street anymore or try out another street, you, my friend, are headed toward a divorce. Over the years of marriage, people change. Sometimes that change is for the better and sometimes that change is for the worse. Sometimes the parties adapt to the change and continue on with their marriage. However, sometimes the parties do not adapt and a divorce or dissolution follows.

There are two (2) main issues when dealing with a divorce case involving children. Those issues are Children and Assets/Debts. If the parties have children who have not yet graduated high school, the court will have to address which party is the Residential Parent and which party is the Non-Residential Parent. A few years back the Ohio Legislature amended the divorce laws and removed the words Custody and Visitation from the Ohio Revised Code. So now when the word “Custody” is used you are actually talking about who will be “Residential Parent” and who will be “Non Residential Parent.” Likewise the word “Visitation,” has been changed to “Parenting Time.” In addition to these changes the words “Joint Custody,” have also been changed to “Shared Parenting.”

Once a divorce has been filed the court will examine the assets and debts and start with the proposition that both spouses are equal partners to this venture (the marriage) and attempt to fairly and equitably divide the assets and debts of this marriage. Marital assets are those that were acquired during the marriage. Title to this property in the name of one spouse only does not remove it from being classified as a marital asset. One party may argue that a specific asset is non marital and if the court finds that to be the case, then that asset would belong solely to the spouse who proved it to be non marital. Please note that the law in the State of Ohio is that all property is presumed to be marital and if someone cannot sufficiently prove that a particular piece of property is non marital then the presumption takes over and the property has to be classified as marital. So this means that if you have separate property, it is your burden to prove it or you will lose half of it to your spouse in the final division of assets and debts. So make sure you keep all your papers from any transactions that could be used to trace the source of funds used to purchase said separate property.

Remember, Divorce is not the end of the world. Don’t get us wrong, it's no picnic. However, most of our clients are happier after the divorce than when they were stuck in a marriage that was not working. We are firm believers in the proposition, “When life hands you lemons- make lemonade.”