Divorce

Serving the greater Columbus, Franklin county and Central Ohio areas.

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Columbus Ohio Divorce Attorneys

Family Law specialists with over 59 years of experience.

You may be surprised to hear this, but there are a number of different ways to approach a divorce. It’s not usually appropriate for a divorce to last years with each issue hotly contested while everyone, including the children, suffers. Though sometimes litigation is necessary, there are other approaches to divorce including mediation and collaborative divorce, which a dedicated Columbus divorce attorney is uniquely prepared to handle.

Issues that Divorce is Designed to Handle

  • Division of property. When two people occupy the same residences and start a family, their finances become hopelessly entangled. When the divorce begins, so too does the process of separating what’s yours from what belongs to your spouse. This includes property and other assets like bank accounts, investments, and your debts as well. In Ohio, Ohio Revised Code Section 3105.171 specifies that the distribution of all marital property should be equitable. While a couple can–and is encouraged to–come to an agreement about the division of property without the interference of the court, if they are unable to reach an agreement, the court will intervene and make a decision that is equitable, but not necessarily equal. Marital property–which is property that is subject to equitable division–includes all property that is owned by both or either spouses; separate property is that property that was acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance. Factors that the court will consider in determining what is equitable include the duration of the marriage, the assets and liabilities of each spouse, whether or not the family home will be awarded to the spouse who will be the primary caregiver for any children of the couple after divorce, whether or not the property to be distributed is liquid in nature, the tax consequences of a property division settlement, and any other factors the court finds relevant and necessary to consider in order to make a determination about equitable division. 
  • Child custody and visitation. Here, there are many decisions to be made. These include with whom the children will live and which parent has the right to make medical and educational decisions for the children. 
  • Like the issue of dividing property, parents are strongly encouraged to work together–often through mediated sessions–in order to reach an agreement about the custody of a child and to form a parenting plan. It is only when parents are unable to do this that the court will intervene and issue an order (after hearing each parent’s case). A court is obligated to make a child custody determination that is in the best interests of the child. In order to understand what arrangement would satisfy this requirement, the court will consider the wishes of each parent, the wishes of the child (when the court has interviewed the child), the child’s relationship with each parent and their relationship with anyone else in the home, the child’s adjustment to home and community, the mental and physical health and needs of each party involved in the decision, any history of abuse or neglect, each parent’s abilty and willingness to support the other parent’s relationship with the child, the ability of the parents to cooperate, the geographic proximity of the parents to one another, the recommendations of a guardian ad litem, and other factors the court deems relevant. 
  • Child support payments. The state of Ohio uses a formula to determine how much child support a non-custodial parent must pay to a custodial parent. In other words, the parent with whom the children live receives child support based on a number of different factors that the court takes into consideration. 
  • Spousal support or alimony. The state of Ohio uses a complex set of factors to determine if one spouse is entitled to collect spousal support or alimony. This is separate from child support but taking care of the children’s needs is one factor that is considered when calculating child support. As found in Ohio Code, factors that are considered in making an award of spousal support to one party in a divorce include the earnings of each party, the ages of each parties, the duration of the marriage, the education and training of the spouse seeking support, the standard of living established during the marriage, the extent that it would be appropriate for the support-receiving parent to seek work outside of the home (if they are caring for a small child), the tax consequences to each party, the amount of time and expense it would require for the spouse seeking support to gain education or training, the contribution of each party to the education or training of other, the assets and liabilities of each party, and any other factor “the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.”

The Lawrence Law Office’s Approach to Dissolving Your Marriage

Generally speaking, we have found that the less adversarial the process is, the better it ends up working out for everyone. Most importantly, this includes your children. So mediation or collaborative divorce are good places to begin. These methods will not be appropriate for every marriage, however, so it’s important to recognize that there may be a struggle or the mediation process may end up in litigation. That is not uncommon.

We have also found that in order to see your interests realized, you should have a plan for moving forward. For instance, some folks sacrifice their career aspirations in order to stay home and raise the children. When it comes time to divorce, they may need time to get training or to go back to school. This is where spousal support would come into play.

Ideally, both spouses can reach an agreement that works for everyone. When this process falls apart, however, the only option left is a contested divorce or litigation.

How Much Will a Divorce Cost?

That depends on a number of factors. The longer the divorce, the more it costs. In addition, contested divorces tend to take longer and cost more money. Again, mediation is generally preferable for you, your former spouse, and for your children. A skilled divorce mediator can help you through the process and potentially save you thousands of dollars in court costs and legal fees. Still, mediation can cost a couple thousand dollars depending on how long the process takes.

Litigation, on the other hand, can go into the tens of thousands of dollars. Costs can include:

Forensic accountants who unearth hidden assets;
Private investigators who collect evidence against your spouse;
Psychological evaluations to determine child custody;
And fees related to the endless depositions that are required.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a divorce case in which both parties are in agreement about how issues in the divorce should be settled. On the other hand, a contested divorce is exactly the opppositie – a divorce case where parties to the divoce disagree about one or more of the issues, such as where children should live or how property should be divided. If a divorce is contested and cannot be resolved through mediation, it will require the intervention of the court through litigation. 

What are the Benefits of Mediation over a Contested Divorce?

Besides the costs involved with litigation, mediation ultimately gives the power to you and your spouse to decide. When the courts step in, they take control of the situation and make decisions that impact both you and your former spouse. In other words, the ultimate decision making power is no longer in your control. It’s in the courts. It’s a hefty sacrifice to make, but it’s sometimes necessary. It should, however, be considered a last resort.

What Happens if I’m the Non-Residential Parent?

Ohio Revised Code 3109.051 lays out the law when determining visitation rights. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then the courts must determine if it is in the children’s best interests to have the parent be a part of their lives. The default stance of the court is that it is in the child’s best interests to have two parents taking an active role. In other words, the court will not deny a parent visitation unless it has a good reason to.

What If I Have a Particularly Complicated Divorce Case?

While most couples will need to resolve the common divorce dilemmas listed above–how to divide property and debts, where shared children will live and what the visitation rights of the other parent will be, and whether or not alimony will be part of a divorce settlement–some divorces are expecially complex. For example, those in high-asest marriages may have a more challenging time dividing property; this is also true for business owners who are wondering how to protect their business from division during a divorce or how business assets will be divided during a divorce. If you are a business owner, regardless of what type of business you have–from bakeries to medical practices and everything in between–it’s important to speak with an attorney about how a divorce can impact your business and the best strategies for protecting your business from division. 

How Will a Columbus Divorce Lawyer Help Me?

The decisoin to work with an attorney when getting divorced is very personal, and it’s important to note that there is no legal requirement to have representation during the process; however, failing to work with an experienced divorce lawyer may be one of the biggest mistakes that you make, especially if you have a complex divorce case or have children. When you work with an attorney, your attorney will advise you of the various family laws that will impact your case and what you need to know; will listen to your side of things and hear what you want out of the divorce case; will design a case strategy with the intent of protecting your best interests; will aggressively and fairly represent you in negotiations and divorce mediation; will be responsible for gathering evidence to support your case; will review any settlement that you and your spouse agree to in preparation for finalizing the divorce; will represent you during divorce litigation; and more. At the Lawrence Law Office, our Columbus divorce lawyers will do all of the above and more. As seasoned divorce attorneys with years of practice behind our name, we know what it takes to secure the case outcomes that our clients are looking for. We also know how emotional and sensitive a divorce can be and approach your case with the level of empathy, dedication, and commitment that you deserve. Whether you have a simple divorce case that just needs the eyes of an attorney on it before it’s finalized or a very complex divorce case that will require weeks or months of hard work and investigation, our law firm is ready to support you.

Client Reviews

Had free consultation. Advice given was taken, and resulted in change of mind in the other/opposing party. We therefore did not need to retain. Should opposing party resume original opinion, we will retain.

Kit

I was in a terrible custody dispute with my ex. I was very upset and afraid of my ex. Rodd listened to everything I said and remembered everything I said. He was aggressive in court and used the information I gave him very well. We won the case and my ex has backed off.

anonymous

I wanted an easy divorce from my wife. She wanted a fight. Rodd and I discussed fair terms for a dissolution. Because he was pro active and stayed on top of the case, my wife and I finally reached an agreement and had a dissolution. I highly recommend Rodd.

anonymous

I hired Linda Lawrence because I have a business and I wanted to protect it in my divorce. Linda is top notch and knows about business finance and assets. I was able to keep my business and not have to pay my wife anything from it. Hire her.

Linda

I hired Linda Lawrence because I needed an aggressive attorney. Linda was able to stand up against the other attorney and was very aggressive in court. It was an expensive divorce case, but that was because the other attorney was very aggressive and Linda was very thorough. I had great results in my case and highly recommend Linda.

Joy
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Talk to a Divorce Attorney in Columbus Today

If you’re in the midst of a divorce and need someone to either mediate the divorce agreement or advocate on your behalf, the Lawrence Law Office can help you toward that goal. Give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment.

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Our Practice Areas

Family Law

Attorneys for Divorce, Child Custody & More At the Lawrence Law Office, we are committed to helping families in conflict find creative solutions that focus on addressing their goals and...

Divorce

Columbus & Delaware, OH Divorce Lawyers In Ohio, there is more than one way to separate from your partner and dissolve your marriage. A divorce is typically a contested proceeding, with each side...

Contempt and
Enforcement and
Post divorce

When working through your divorce with an Ohio family law attorney, chances are your divorce agreement made allowances for child support. spousal support or

Business owner
divorce

Dividing the marital assets between divorcing people can be one of the most contentious issues during the entire divorce process. Ohio law allows the couple to work together with...

Child Custody

Dividing the marital assets between divorcing people can be one of the most contentious issues during the entire divorce process. Ohio law allows the couple to work together with...

High Asset
Divorce Cases

Helping With Child Custody, Visitation & Support Updates Or Modifications Sometimes circumstances substantially change after a divorce and require parents to revisit an existing...

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