During my 17 years of representing parties in divorce cases, I have answered many questions. Here are the five very common questions I receive:
Most of the assets are in my spouse’s name, my spouse is telling me I have no rights to them. Is this true?
Under Ohio law, and most assets or debts accumulated during the marriage are considered marital in nature. Therefore, regardless of how a particular asset is titled, if it was accumulated during the marriage it will likely be subject to an equitable division by the court. For example, the husband has three cars all of which are titled in his name. As part of a property division in the case, the court could award those vehicles to the wife and order that title is transferred into the wife’s name. Retirement accounts accumulated by a particular spouse during the marriage are subject to an equitable division by the court. An example of an asset accumulated during the marriage that may be considered separate property would be an inheritance.
2.My spouse is telling me that he/she is filing for divorce and he/she is going to have me removed from the house. Can he/she do this?
Typically a court will not force a spouse to leave the marital residence unless there is domestic violence, substance abuse or another pressing issue that would require the parties separation. In cases where these circumstances do not exist the court usually requires the parties to cohabitate together until the conclusion of the case.
3. My spouse is telling me that if I leave the marital residence he/she will charge me with “abandonment.”
There is no criminal statute or civil penalty outlined in Ohio law for an abandonment of a spouse. That being said it is always wise to ensure that financial obligations will be maintained at the commencement and during a period of a separation so that the parties credit is not harmed.
4. Typically the court will not be concerned about extramarital affairs and will not punish a party for same. The court’s primary objective in divorce cases is to identify, value, and divide the marital estate in a fair and equitable manner. If there are children involved the court will seek to allocate parental rights and responsibilities in a manner that will in the children’s best interests.
5. How long does a divorce take to be finalized?
While every case is different and has its own intricacies, most divorce cases can be completed between 6- 12 months. More complicated divorce cases can last up to two years and simple divorce cases can be finalized in two months.