Helping Ohio Families since 1991
(614) 497-9918
3163 S High St., Columbus, OH 43207

Columbus Divorce & Family Law Attorney

Columbus OH Divorce Lawyer - Child Custody Attorney, Marriage Dissolution | Rathburn & Associates - 1divorce

Splitting up a marriage can be a complex matter with many legal issues.  All assets and debts must be identified for purposes of equal and/or equitable division by Domestic Court.  It will be necessary to look at the income and expenses of each spouse and, depending on the length of the marriage, determine if spousal support is appropriate to present to Domestic Court.  Real estate, motor vehicles, financial accounts, pension plans (QDRO, DOPO) and personal property are some of the type of assets that need reviewed.  

You need an Ohio divorce attorney that is highly experienced in all matters to assure you have solid, competent legal representation.

A divorce may be started by one spouse.  To start a divorce case you must be able to allege grounds, identify marital assets and debts, separate assets and debts of each spouse, determine income and expenses of each spouse (potential spousal support)
If the parties have been separated for a period of time and/or are agreeing on everything, the process may be greatly simplified with the use of an Uncontested Divorce.  This can significantly decrease the time and cost.

Divorce involving minor children:

If there are minor children there are many legal issues that need to be addressed.  Those issues are Custody (sole custody or shared parenting, school placement parent), Child Support (Guideline, Deviation, Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) withholding Administrative Order or via Court Order), Parenting Time (Visitation, Local Court Rule for Guideline Parenting Time, Deviation, Supervised via person or facility), Parenting Class, Health Insurance coverage for the minor child(ren), division of uncovered ordinary / extra-ordinary, tax exemption, is a Guardian ad Litem (GAL)  necessary.   
Divorce with special circumstances:
There are additional issues to consider – the need for Restraining Orders, Civil Protection Orders, Anti-Stalking Protection Order, Consent Decree, Psychological Evaluations, Drug Screens, Mediation, Contempt of Court, Modification of an existing Court Order or Decree, Separation Agreement, Temporary Order’s (Motions, Affidavits, Non-Oral Hearings), Shared Parenting Plans, and Spousal Support.
If you are considering divorce, call Rathburn & Associates for solid advice and the legal assistance you need to ensure your needs are met. 614-497-9918

Ohio Marriage Dissolution

A Dissolution of a marriage can save time and money if both parties agree on all issues related to the separation.  A Dissolution requires both parties (Husband and Wife) to start the process.  When a Dissolution is used there is no Plaintiff or Defendant – both parties are “Petitioners” and Petition the Domestic Court for a Dissolution of Marriage. 

The Marriage Dissolution Process in Ohio:

The agreed upon terms are set forth in a document labeled as a “Separation Agreement” and it sets forth all terms of the agreed upon separation.  This document along with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed along with required financial affidavits.  There are other documents that may be included if there are minor children.  If there are minor children we need to discuss your options to be sure all matters are covered and the Dissolution is processed properly in Domestic Court.  The issue of Custody of the minor children is necessary to resolve.  See “Custody” below.

A Dissolution, once filed will require one final hearing with the Judge.  At that hearing, both parties are required to appear and provide verbal testimony.  We can help you with all the necessary documents to be sure your Dissolution is handled properly and granted by the Domestic Court.   In a Dissolution there are no Restraining Orders or Temporary Orders of any kind.  Generally these are not needed if both parties are cooperating and working together to get the matter completed economically and expeditiously. 

Considerations during the dissolution process:

There can be spousal support, child support, child issues addressed, division of marital assets, each party may retain their separate property – both personal property and real property should be reviewed to determine its status as marital or separate property.  Debts must also be addressed – who will be responsible for payment of marital debts must be determined in an equitable manner.

This can cross over into Real Estate Law if there is a marital residence or other real estate owned by either party.  Who will retain possession?  Must the real estate be sold and if so, how are the proceeds divided?  What about the mortgage?  Can one party be removed from being liable for the mortgage?  Is a deed from one party to the other needed and if so, when?  If one or both parties are in, or contemplating, a Bankruptcy to rid themselves of debt, this may temporarily disrupt the Dissolution or Divorce process.

If you are thinking of a Dissolution of your marriage and you want solid advice on all matters involved call Rathburn & Associates at 614-497-9918 and we will talk to you right from the first call.  Give us a try, you will be glad you did.  You will be treated with dignity and respect.  We want to earn your trust. 

Child Custody Attorney Serving the Greater Columbus Area

If you are a couple with children, whether you are married or not, there are special considerations regarding child custody. You need a qualified family attorney to help guide you through the special issues you will face during a Separation, Divorce or Dissolution. 

In all matters of custody, first and foremost is the consideration of the minor child.  The court system is set up to establish an agreement that is in the best interest of the child or children. Some of the considerations are:

  • Is the child born prior to the marriage to the other parent?
  • Is a paternity via DNA testing required?
  • Who will be the residential parent and have physical custody?
  •  Is shared parenting appropriate?

What’s the difference between Sole Custody and Shared Parenting?

Sole Custody is an arrangement whereby only one parent has physical and legal custody of a child. Visitation or Parenting Time, Child Support, and Health Care and uncovered medical expenses, as well as Tax exemptions are the major concerns that will be addressed.

Shared Parenting is provided for in Ohio Law.  One parent may propose a plan to the Domestic Court or it may be an Agreed upon Plan by both parents.  The plan may be requested for in the original Divorce or Dissolution documents or it may be processed by filing a Motion for Shared Parenting in Domestic Court.  If Shared Parenting is best for the minor child, there may be a deviation of the guideline child support – this must be addressed in Domestic Court by the filing of additional documents that must be approved by the Judge.

Unwed parent seeking custody of a minor child

If you have never been married and desire to establish formal custody of a minor child, all the same issues apply as with parents who have been married. Your case will be handled in the Juvenile Division of Domestic Court. Having a qualified attorney on your side will ensure your rights are protected.

Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)

A guardian is any person who is legally responsible for the care of another person or person’s property. A GAL is specifically responsible for protecting the interests of a child who is in someway involved in a lawsuit. A GAL will investigate the family situation and make recommendations to the court about where the child should live and what kind of visitation the other parent should be awarded. If the attorneys cannot agree on a GAL, a judge or magistrate will appoint one. A GAL cannot gain custody of a child.

Child Support Considerations

Child support is required to be withheld from income or an account and processed by the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).  Child Support can be the result of a Domestic Court Order or an Administrative Order through the CSEA.   If the parents are separated and the parent that has the child desires child support without filing documents in Domestic Court, they may get assistance from the CSEA.  If filling in Domestic Court is necessary, call Rathburn & Associates at 614-497-9918 and let us help you understand your situation and advise you on the best course of action.

If you are seeking custody of a minor child, call Rathburn & Associates. They have the experience it takes to guide you through the challenging juvenile legal system. Call 614-497-9918 for immediate assistance.

Dennis Rathburn is a member of the Columbus Bar Association Family Law Committee.