Divorce

Going through a divorce can be a very emotional experience. Phyllis G. Bossin & Associates, A Legal Professional Association, of Cincinnati, Ohio, can guide you through the process to help get the right outcome.

The lawyers at Phyllis G. Bossin & Associates provide the highest quality legal representation in all aspects of the divorce process. The firm is located in Cincinnati and represents clients in Hamilton and surrounding counties.

A divorce is initiated by the filing of a complaint for divorce. Since Ohio is still a state in which grounds are generally required, most divorces are filed on the grounds of incompatibility and/or gross neglect of duty. Incompatibility is only a ground if it is not denied by the other side. The only true no-fault ground is living separate and apart for a period of more than one year without cohabitation.

While many divorces are contested on issues of property, support, etc., few are actually contested on the grounds for the divorce itself. Therefore, minimal testimony will actually be required to establish why you or your spouse is seeking the divorce. Most divorces are now granted on the grounds of incompatibility or living separate and apart.

The grounds for the divorce generally have little to do with how the property will be divided or how much support will be awarded, although under extreme circumstances, fault can have an impact. However, a ground is required to file a complaint. Once a divorce has been filed, an answer and counterclaim, which will usually contain similar grounds as in the complaint, must be filed by the opposing party within twenty-eight days from the service of the original papers. An answer is generally the method by which the opposing counsel enters the case.

In order to file for divorce in Ohio, one must be a resident for six months immediately preceding the filing. However, if residency is an issue, another option is to file an action for legal separation, which does not require a six month residency. In addition to being a resident of the state, one must establish venue; that is, the proper county in which the case should be heard. While this will generally be the county in which the filing party has resided for 90 days, there are other grounds for venue, such as where the defendant has his or her principal place of business. There may be more than one proper county in which to file.

Temporary orders. At the time the divorce is filed, it is often important to seek temporary court orders, which will be in effect while the divorce is pending. These temporary orders include custody and parenting time allocations, child and spousal support and temporary restraining orders to prevent abuse or the disposition of assets. The firm will determine whether it is proper to initiate a divorce and if so, whether temporary orders need to be obtained. The decision about if and when to file for divorce and what orders to request is a very important decision and is based upon the unique circumstances of every case, after careful evaluation by one of the firm's experienced attorneys.

Discovery. Very shortly after the divorce commences, the attorneys will engage in a process called "discovery." During this process, all assets, liabilities and income will be identified and valued. This process can be undertaken informally by the attorneys or through what is known as "formal discovery," utilizing document production requests, interrogatories, depositions and subpoenas. This process can be very time consuming and complex.

Division of property. Ohio is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the law requires that all of the property be divided in a fair and equitable fashion. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal, although the law presumes an equal division as a starting point. Generally speaking, property brought into the marriage by either party is that party's separate, non-marital property. Also, property received during the marriage by one party as a gift or inheritance will be considered non-marital property. All property acquired during the marriage with marital funds or through marital effort will be deemed to be marital, regardless of how it is titled. Property owned by one party prior to the marriage but which has increased in value may be considered a mixed asset. What is marital and what is non-marital is often the subject of dispute in a divorce and often requires detailed and complicated tracing efforts. Our attorneys have substantial experience in the tracing of assets for divorce purposes.

Many property issues revolve around the value of the property itself, particularly if there is a professional practice or business involved. Expert witnesses may be required to assist in the valuation process. The firm is very experienced in dealing with complex business valuations and we work with highly trained experts in this field.

Spousal Support. Ohio has a spousal support statute, setting forth several factors that the court must consider in determining the amount and duration of spousal support. At the present time, there are no guidelines or formulas as to how the court should award spousal support. Spousal support cases are by nature very individual and often unpredictable. In a long marriage or one in which one spouse sacrificed a career to stay home with children, spousal support might be the most difficult issue to resolve. Our attorneys are very experienced in negotiating and litigating complicated spousal support issues and in working with vocational experts and economists to assist in the presentation of the case.

Allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. In Ohio, the law provides for both shared parenting and sole custody, in which case one parent is designated as the "residential parent and legal custodian" of the child or children. There is no legal presumption in favor of shared parenting. It is simply an option that the court has. However, it is often a preferred resolution by the courts. Shared parenting is not appropriate in every case. While we try very hard to resolve parenting issues outside of court and often with the assistance of a mediator, the firm is very well-known for handling high-conflict custody cases. Ms. Bossin has unparalleled experience in litigating such cases.

Child support. All states have child support guidelines, which set forth how child support is to be determined. Parents are required to support their children until they turn 18 or until they graduate from high school. The support obligation can continue indefinitely for a disabled child. Ohio is an income-shares formula state, which means that child support is calculated by examining the total family income and then apportioning the support obligation. Cases with combined family income in excess of $150,000.00 must be decided on a case by case basis. Careful preparation and presentation of evidence is necessary to ensure a fair and reasonable child support award.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in the preparation, settlement and litigation of child support issues.