Factors Affecting Your Case
Unfortunately, few divorces are cut and dry cases. There are several factors that can affect the proceedings of your case, including a few you wouldn’t expect.
The length of your divorce case can be influenced by:
- Whether you and your soon-to-be-ex can agree on the details
- Whether you have businesses to be evaluated
- Whether you have property to be valued
- Any property division issues
- Issues related to children, including custody and child support
- The court docket
- The parties involved
A divorce can be relatively quick or long and fraught based on any of the above factors. Most of the time, though, it’s up to the couple.
Your Divorce Options
The avenue of divorce will also affect how long your individual case takes. That said, not every option is suitable for every soon-to-be-ex-couple. Here’s a quick look at some of the options available and how long they take.
A dissolution is the fastest option out there. In this case, you both agree to split, come to a complete agreement, file a dissolution petition, and wait to be notified of the final hearing date. Unlike an annulment, which undoes the marriage as if it never existed, a dissolution is simply a legal close to the marriage. A dissolution and a divorce operate similarly in that your marriage is terminated. However, the dissolution option, if possible, is much quicker and more cost-effective.
That said, dissolution is only suitable if your split is amicable enough to agree on the details. If children are involved, there must be a full agreement regarding all parental responsibilities. In addition to all child related issues, there must be a full agreement on the division of marital property, which also includes marital debt. If either party disagrees with any term or condition, you’re going to need attorneys, and it is likely that a dissolution is not possible. As you can guess, most situations aren’t this straightforward.
If things are amicable but you still have issues to resolve–not unlikely, considering that you’re divorcing–you’re probably going to need a mediator. This can occur pre-divorce or during divorce litigation. Either spouse or parent may request that the court order mediation.
A mediator is basically a neutral third party who will meet with you as a couple to help you iron out your issues before anything is filed and during litigation. This doesn’t necessarily need to be an attorney, but it’s best to have an attorney contribute because a mediator is not representing either spouse/parent but rather is there to assist in coming to a resolution.
How quickly this proceeds depends on the motivation and cooperation of both sides. This could be over in a few meetings or it could drag on for years, depending on how stubborn each side is.
Divorce mediation is a good option if you want to minimize hostility for the sake of your kids. Mediation is typically more peaceful and efficient than litigation.
If you and your soon-to-be-ex can’t stand to be in the same room anymore and every conversation quickly turns into an argument, you may find yourself navigating a negotiated settlement.
In this case, both sides leave everything up to the attorneys, who go back and forth to fit various pieces of the divorce puzzle together. This includes asset division, child support, and alimony.
However, both sides still have to agree to the terms their attorneys iron out. If you can’t iron out a dispute, you’ll have to go to court. That said, if you do go to court for a negotiated settlement, the judge will make the ruling.
This inherently makes the process takes longer. You have to get a court date, which could take months, even a year, for the hearing.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce Timeline
With all of that said, the basic fact of a contested or uncontested divorce will radically alter your timeline.
An uncontested divorce doesn’t mean that both sides are willing to get divorced. The term “uncontested” simply refers to their agreement to the terms of the divorce.
The most common route is a contested divorce. In this case, one party has filed a suit for divorce and the other does not agree to some or any of the terms set by the suit. Let’s say you file for divorce and request the family home. If your spouse wants to sell the house, or otherwise wishes the home be theirs, and files a counter petition, the divorce becomes contested.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Ohio?
So, how long does a divorce take in Ohio?
The simple answer: it depends.
Every divorce is unique. The primary factor determining the length of the divorce is the parties themselves. If both sides agree to make this as quick and painless as possible, the process can move rather fast.
A dissolution is fastest because both sides agree to the terms and simply have to wait for the legal paperwork to be finalized. You can get an uncontested divorce if you file for divorce and your spouse fails to respond within a certain timeframe, usually granted as-is.
That said, if your divorce is complicated (children, shared assets, property, alimony), or in other words heavily contested, you could spend up to a year, if not more, to finalize your divorce. That is full transparency.
Unfortunately, thanks to the current reality of the world we live in, your divorce is no longer entirely dependent on you and your attorney. The coronavirus has changed almost every unique facet of life, and divorce is no exception.
This is not necessarily due to COVID-19 cases as the delays caused by businesses and local jurisdictions in various stages of the shutdown. Businesses have begun enacting responsible protocols for reopening Ohio, but it will likely be some time before the state reopens completely.
In legal terms, that means that you should expect cases to be extended and often delayed since courts are operating on an amended system at the moment and attorneys are discouraged from meeting with their clients in person.
We will work with you to mitigate this as much as we can. That said, please understand that the coronavirus situation remains ongoing and will likely cause delays in your case despite our best efforts.
Navigating Your Divorce in Ohio
How long does a divorce take in Ohio? It depends on the couple, but having a seasoned divorce attorney makes a huge difference.
Our office can help you understand the divorce process and make the right decisions for you. We know divorce is a difficult and emotional decision. Our job is to lay the foundations of a brighter future after divorce.
If you need to speak with an attorney about your options, click here to get in touch.