Long Term Marriage Divorce in Ohio

Divorce of a long term marriage makes the divorce process a bit more complicated than for divorces of shorter term marriages.  Mainly, over the course of a long marriage there are many more shared assets, which makes asset division more complicated.  With shorter term marriages, couples have not had as long to comingle their assets. Furthermore, the longer a couple has been married, the longer they have been economically intertwined and issues of spousal support can arise.

If you've been married for over 20 years, then properly dividing your marital assets is a financial decision that will affect the rest of your life.  The attorneys at Harris & Engler are experienced counselors for clients going through a divorce of a long term marriage.  The law firm of Harris & Engler is located in Columbus, Ohio, and serves clients in Delaware, Union County, and Fairfield County. 

The longer you've been married it potentially makes the stakes during a divorce even higher.  Often, with a long term marriage, one spouse has elected to leave the workplace in order to take care of the kids or take care of the house.  When there is a big income difference in a long term marriage, then it becomes more likely that spousal support would be awarded in the divorce.  Furthermore, if one party in a long term marriage has been the primary earner, then there are likely to be retirement accounts and other assets listed in the primary earner's name only.  You need an attorney experienced in divorces of long term marriages to make sure that you're on the best footing moving forward after the divorce is finalized.

Spousal Support

In Ohio, there is no such thing as "alimony."  In Ohio, alimony is called "spousal support."  Basically, spousal support requires one spouse to make regular payments to their former spouse for either a definite or indefinite amount of time after the divorce is finalized.  Spousal support typically comes into play when the parties have been married over 10 years.  Spousal support is designed to help get the spouse who is receiving the payment to get enough money and time to get their feet off their ground on their own after the marriage is over.  For instance, many households will have a stay-at-home parent who quits work to take care of the kids.  In that situation, spousal support might be instituted in order to give the former stay-at-home spouse enough time to make themselves marketable enough to re-enter the work place.  Spousal support is usually temporary, but for very long marriages (over 30 years) they may be permanent if the former spouse will be unable to re-enter the work place.  You can read more about spousal support here.  The attorneys at Harris & Engler are experienced in all aspects of long term marriage divorces.

Property Division

Ohio is an equitable property division state.  Equitable means "fair" and does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split.  However, many types of assets will actually be split 50/50 if doing so is the "fair" thing to do.  Some things, like assets accumulated during the marriage will be divided up equally during a divorce.  Other things, like retirement accounts and pension plans will be divided up equally during the marital time period.  This means if one spouse had a retirement account before getting married, they will be entitled to 100% of those pre-marital assets, but whatever amounts were accumulated during the marriage can be divided 50/50. 

An experienced divorce attorney can subpoena financial records to make sure there are no hidden assets.  If you have been married for a long time and are starting to go through the divorce process, then you want to make sure that you are setting yourself up for the best case scenario for life after divorce.

Divorce Attorneys for Long Term Marriage

The law firm of Harris & Engler is located in Columbus, Ohio and is conveniently located for residents of Delaware County and Union County.  If you would like legal advice about getting a divorce then you can talk to an attorney today by calling (614) 610-9988. 

The Divorce Process in Ohio for Couples Who Do Not Have Children Born of the Marriage

Obtaining a divorce is often simpler when there are either no children that born from the marriage or when the children are grown.  Complications arise when one or more spouse has children from another relationship or the parties had children together before they were married.  However, the factor that usually contributes to having a long drawn out divorce is a highly contested custody battle.  In the absence of children, it is usually much quicker and easier to get a divorce, unless there are complicated or significant assets of the marriage. 

The attorneys at Harris & Engler try to make the divorce process simple for you, and you can talk to an attorney today by calling (614) 610-9988.  Depending on the assets and debts of the marriage and your ability to reach an agreement with your soon to be ex spouse, it may be possible to get a relatively quick and easy divorce.  The attorneys at Harris & Engler will help you obtain a quick divorce if possible and will be there to best look after your interests and help you navigate through the process if a quick divorce is not possible. The law firm of Harris & Engler is located in Columbus, Ohio, and its attorneys help clients obtain divorces across Central Ohio.

Divorce or Dissolution?

The only reason to get a divorce instead of a dissolution when there are no children from the marriage is because the parties cannot agree on how to divide up the property that was acquired from the marriage.  You can read more about divorce v. dissolution here.  

Columbus Attorneys for Divorce With No Children

When you're going through a divorce, it helps to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side.  If you need a divorce attorney in the central Ohio area, then call (614) 610-9988.  

An Overview of the Divorce Process in Ohio for Couples with Children Born of the Marriage

A divorce with children, especially minor children, typically makes for a more difficult divorce process in Ohio.  The attorneys at Harris & Engler try to make your divorce with children as quick and easy as possible for you and your kids.  Otherwise, when the parties to a marriage cannot agree on who gets time with the children (and when), and who pays child support (and how much), then those issues must be submitted to a judge who will decide.

There is hardly a more important issue than the custody of your child or visitation rights with your child.  The law firm of Harris & Engler has attorneys experienced with all issues surrounding getting a divorce with children.  The law firm of Harris & Engler is located in Columbus, Ohio, and its attorneys help clients successfully navigate all issues surrounding getting a divorce with children all over Central Ohio.

Parenting Issues in Divorce

Often there will be a spouse who during the marriage was otherwise an absent parent and then all of the sudden during divorce they want equal or full custody of the children. Sometimes the motivation for doing this is simply to have lower child support payments.  However, equally frequent is when a parent who was largely an absentee parent during the marriage will want to fight hard to ensure that they do not continue to be an absentee parent after the marriage is terminated by acquiring court ordered parenting time.  These issues can be resolved with the assistance of an attorney experienced with issues that frequently arise when getting a divorce with children in Columbus and greater Central Ohio.  Many issues regarding a dispute over child custody also require the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem.

The Guardian Ad Litem's Role in Ohio

A Guardian Ad Litem is a court appointed advocate for the children.  Each parent in a divorce usually has an attorney as their advocate, and a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is an advocate for the children.  It is usually recommended that a Guardian Ad Litem be appointed for contested custody divorces because the GAL will personally investigate the children's situation and interview the children in order to come to their own opinion of who should have child custody.  The appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem drives up the costs of a divorce because the parties have to pay the Guardian Ad Litem's fees as well as their own attorneys' fees.  You can read more about Guardian Ad Litem's here.  

What to Expect When Going Through a Divorce with Children in Ohio

When the parties to a marriage are both trying to get full custody of the children, then the Court will look at a number of factors in order to determine which parent is better suited for the role.  First and foremost, the Court will always make a determination as to what is in the best interest of the children.  

In order to determine which parent should be the child's sole custodian, the court will consider the relative incomes of each party, the support structure of each party (friends and family), the geographic location of each parent, the desires of the child, the personal history of each parent with the children (has the parent been absent/primary caretaker), and any other factor that could serve as an indication of what parent would be a better suited parent.  You can read more about child custody here.  

Are Your Responsible For Your Spouse's Debt in Ohio?

Generally, the answer is no.  However, there are a few situations where you can be held liable for your spouse's debt, or you will be directly affected by it.  When any kind of debt is taken out in just one person's name, it is only that person who is liable for the debt. Creditors will try to convince parents and spouses that they are liable for someone else's debt, but if this happens it is generally a lie and you should contact an attorney about possible actions against the creditor.  

When Creditors Can Seize Your Assets to Collect On Your Spouse's Debt

You can be directly affected by your spouse's debts when creditors seize jointly held assets.  In Ohio, if a creditor has a judgment (obtained by filing a lawsuit and winning), they can garnish the debtor's bank accounts or file a lien on all real property owned by the debtor, and foreclose on the real property in order to collect the debt.  

You can be affected by your spouse's debts if you have any joint bank accounts or own any real property jointly with your spouse.  Even though the money in the bank account or the real property is half yours, the creditor can take all of it if necessary to satisfy your spouse's debt.

When Creditors Can Go After You Personally For Your Spouse's Individual Debts

There is a body of law known as the "Doctrine of Necessaries" that is codified as ORC 3103.03.  This law provides that if a married person or a parent neglects to support their spouse or their child, and any other person supplies the neglected spouse or child with necessary support, then that third person can sue the spouse/parent for the reasonable value of support that they provided.  

The Doctrine of Necessaries limits liability to "necessary support," which is usually interpreted to mean things like food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.  What this all means is that if you are unable to provide certain necessary items to your spouse or child, and someone else (or a business) provides those items to your spouse or child, then they can sue you to recover their costs.  

This doctrine originated at a time when women did not really have any rights, and they lacked the right to form contracts- meaning that women were not able to get credit. Thus, when the woman of the house would purchase necessary items such as food and clothing for the household, any merchants who lent the items on credit could not recover their costs unless they could sue the husband for the value of goods provided.   

This has had the effect today of having medical providers who provide care and services to one spouse to go after the other spouse, even though the other spouse never signed anything and never intended to pay for the medical debt of the spouse who incurred the debt.  

This doctrine has been tempered in Ohio with the language that a married person or a parent must provide necessary support to their spouse or child to the extent that they are able to do so from their property or their labor.  This means that if you were unable to pay medical bills at the time your spouse incurred them, then by the law the medical provider should not be able to collect from you.  As a practical concern, the medical provider will still go after you to try to collect on the medical debts of your spouse or child.

If you are having problems with your spouse's or your child's creditors, contact an attorney at Harris & Engler to discuss your options, call (614) 610-9988.  

Legal Obligations of Marriage in Ohio

Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.  Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967), quoting Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942).  Marriage is not without its burdens and obligations.  In Ohio, marriage is a contract requiring mutual respect, fidelity, and support.  Ohio Revised Code section 3103.01.  

Duty of Support

The duty of support has big implications, and repurcussions if those duties are not met.  Each person in a marriage has the legal duty to support their spouse and their children through efforts of their labor or through use of their property.  Ohio Revised Code section 3103.03.

What Happens if a Person Doesn't Support Their Spouse?

In Ohio, if a person neglects to support their spouse, any other person who supplies the spouse with reasonably necessary living items (food, clothing, shelter, etc.), can recover the reasonable value of those items from the person who neglected to provide them to their spouse (by filing a civil lawsuit).  



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