Aiding in the resolution of areas of conflict in Columbus divorce cases is one of the most important contributions an experienced divorce and family law attorney can make. As a Columbus divorce attorney with more than 35 years of experience, I can tell you that one of the keys to a successful divorce is the resolution of areas of disagreement between the parties.
If both parties agree upon every issue needed to be contained in the “Separation Agreement” they could simply file for a dissolution under Ohio law, and complete the termination of their marriage quickly and reasonably inexpensively. What happens when the parties simply can’t agree upon issues during a divorce? In many cases, the most principled area of disagreement in divorce cases centers on the children, and how time with each child will be divided between their parents. However, there can be significant challenges with the valuation of business interests such as a closely held business ownership, or the marital interest in a professional practice.
Another common area of disagreement involves support payments, either for what many clients refer to as “alimony” known under Ohio law as “spousal support”, or for child support. There are guidelines for much of this under Ohio law, but in most cases these payments are negotiated based upon the unique circumstances of each situation. There is also the tax ramification of one form of support payment versus another, or the structuring of assets to be divided between the divorcing couple.
In my experience, when I encounter areas of principled and genuine disagreement (as compared to someone who is emotional and simply wants to take it out on the other party), the key is to find common ground and agreement upon the specific issues at hand. If there is a valuation involved, it is important to establish an independent value for the business ownership or professional practice before the asset can be properly divided.
If the issues involve children, we focus upon what is in the best interest of each child. That differs and is as unique as the child we are discussing. Ohio law does not “penalize” a parent for most behaviors (such as infidelity), and absent extreme circumstances such as drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse, mental health issues or criminal activity, Ohio’s Courts would prefer to see that the children spend equal amounts of quality time with each parent.
One key to remember as you approach any divorce: As these cases proceed further and further into litigation the couple loses more and more control over the outcome. Cases that must be decided in open court are almost never in favor of one party or the other, and both come away disappointed and unhappy with the Judge’s or Magistrate’s orders.
There are several tools available to help the parties to reach agreement without the need for a Judge to decide the case. I guide my clients through these decisions carefully, helping them to balance the genuine issues at hand with other issues such as time, expense, and the likelihood of achieving the best outcome. I invite you to contact my office at (614) 289-1227