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Dealing With Divorce Can Be Hard – We Can Help

Strong emotions and strained communications can get in the way of practical solutions in divorce and its related issues, including custody, support and property division. At Mahaffey & Associates, LLC, we guide clients to sensible arrangements while protecting their financial interests and the best interests of their children.

Our experienced Toledo dissolution of marriage lawyers handle all facets of ending a marriage, dividing parental responsibilities and dividing property. Our philosophy is to help the parties find common ground and resolve difficult situations as professionally and amicably as possible. But if the other side takes an adversarial stance, you have capable trial lawyers in your corner.

“I treat you like I would my own family. I value your money as much as you do. I will not spend $1,000 of your money to win $500.” – Ty Mahaffey & Associates, Sylvania, Ohio

Divorce And Division Of Marital Assets

Our divorce attorneys have handled a variety of scenarios, including:

  • Contested divorce: Unresolved disputes over money or children must be argued before a judge.
  • Uncontested divorce: The other spouse does not answer or oppose the petition.
  • Dissolution: The spouses come together and agree on everything, and a judge signs the settlement agreement. This is the fastest, most economical and least stressful approach for both children and adults.

Even in an amicable dissolution, it is important to have legal counsel to get a fair settlement. Our attorneys will ensure that assets are properly identified as joint or separate property and are accurately valued. We will evaluate retirement savings, the marital home, cars, interests in closely held businesses and other personal possessions. We are also skilled at negotiating debt trade-offs, home equity disputes and asset valuations so that you get the fairest possible outcome in property division.

The Divorce Process In Ohio

There is a series of steps you and your spouse must complete before your divorce is complete. Depending on several factors, this could take anywhere from several months to up to two years. It officially begins when one spouse files for divorce in the county where they or the other spouse has lived for at least 90 days. However, most people work with their divorce attorney to gather financial documents and complete other preparations before actually filing. The law also requires you to include forms in your divorce filing that discuss your income, property, debts and expenses. You must also serve your spouse with copies of the divorce papers so they have proper notice.

It is common for either or both spouses to ask the court to issue temporary orders related to things like child support, child custody and alimony. If the judge issues them, they will last until the divorce is finalized. The judge might order a hearing to hear evidence before deciding what temporary orders to issue. They may also schedule a “pretrial hearing” or “settlement conference” to discuss terms of divorce and require you to try divorce mediation to potentially speed up settlement negotiations. If the sides can settle matters themselves, the court will review the settlement and decide whether to approve it. Otherwise, the judge might need to schedule a trial to determine things like the division of property and what to do about a child custody dispute.

This describes a contested divorce. Uncontested divorce is another option when the spouses agree on all basic matters from the beginning. It can save both sides a lot of time and money, but they must be able to work together amicably despite the end of their marriage. The same is true of collaborative divorce, another type of alternative divorce in which the spouses agree to work together outside of court to reach a settlement.

Grounds For Divorce

You can file for a no-fault divorce in Ohio, but only if you and your spouse have lived separately for at least one year and agree that the two of you are incompatible. Otherwise, you can file based on one (or more) grounds for divorce, such as:

  • Gross negligence of duty, such as your spouse refusing to financially support the family
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment, meaning your spouse left your home and has not returned for at least one year
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Imprisonment
  • Habitual drunkenness

What grounds you give for filing depends on your individual experience in your marriage. We will work with you to do what is best for you and your children.

How Do I Choose The Right Divorce Lawyer?

Your choice of divorce attorney can make a huge difference in how your case ends up. We encourage you to meet with several family lawyers before hiring one.

In our opinion, an experienced divorce attorney gives the client an advantage. Every divorce case is different, but someone who has handled a wide range of cases is more likely to have the knowledge to help you in your specific situation. In addition, your lawyer should keep up with changes in Ohio family law and use the latest technology in legal research, court filings and discovery.

On a personal level, your attorney should be someone you get along well with. The two of you will be working together closely throughout your divorce proceedings, which typically last several months. The only way this can work is if your lawyer treats you with respect, answers your messages promptly and explains the legal process in clear and useful ways to help you make difficult decisions about your divorce issues. They should act with integrity and do what they promised to do. They should also charge an hourly rate or retainer fee that fits your budget.

Child Custody And Child Support

There is a trend toward shared parenting time (equal or nearly equal time), but you may prefer the traditional residential parent and visitation arrangement. Our attorneys strive to avoid costly and counterproductive custody litigation and keep the focus on a detailed and workable child custody schedule that keeps both parents involved in the child’s life. We also strive for fair child support payments that protect the best interests of the child. We handle modifications in addition to initial determinations.

Contact Our Toledo Dissolution Of Marriage Attorneys

Contact our law firm online or call Mahaffey & Associates, LLC, at 419-741-0111 to arrange a consultation, including evenings and weekends by appointment. We accept all major credit cards and can meet clients at our office in Sylvania.