We, at Dagger Law, realize that the decision to end a marriage, either by Divorce or Dissolution, is a big one. The factors that contribute to your decision are often emotional, complex, and personal. We strive to ensure that your divorce, or dissolution, is handled in a respectful and efficient manner so that you can process the changes in your life and move on. The attorneys in our Family Law practice area focus on divorce and dissolution so you can be sure that you have an attorney who brings a wealth of experience to represent your best interests.
Below are some commonly asked questions which can help you in determining whether Divorce, or Dissolution, is right for you.
Q: What is the difference between a divorce and a dissolution?
A: Both a Divorce and a Dissolution result in the legal ending of a marriage, but a Divorce is an allegation of fault under one of several grounds for divorce in Ohio. Most often these include (but are not limited to):
- Willful absence for greater than one year
- Extreme cruelty
- Habitual drunkenness
- Gross neglect of duty
- Fraudulent contract
- Imprisonment in a state or federal institution
Some of those terms can be confusing, such as “extreme cruelty” or even “habitual drunkenness.” As in other areas of the law, there are often specific ways to measure whether a circumstance meets the definition of grounds for divorce. This is one way in which our attorneys can assist in the process.
A Dissolution, on the other hand, can save both time and money by allowing the two married partners to agree on all issues that must be addressed with the court before filing a Dissolution petition. These issues include, but may not be limited to:
- Designation of residential parent
- Spousal support
- Payment of debts
- Division of property
- Child support
- Parental rights
- Payment of attorney fees
Because of this, a Dissolution is often referred to as a no-fault Divorce.
Q: How much will a Divorce or Dissolution cost?
A: This answer can vary a great bit, but you should know that you, and your partner in the marriage, are in control of this cost. As discussed above, a Dissolution can reduce legal costs if both parties are willing to work quickly to agree on the issues listed above. Children always add to the cost of ending a marriage as the courts ensure that adequate protections are in place to ensure that children are taken care of, and that requires additional work by your attorney. Couples with more marital assets will also likely incur a greater cost as it can take more time to evaluate, and determine a value for, those assets. You can visualize the difference between the time it takes to inventory the belongings in a one bedroom apartment as compared to someone that has multiple homes. Again, all of these costs can be minimized by agreeing on issues and being willing to cooperate so that you each can start new lives. At a minimum, you should assume that you will be asked to pay a retainer of $2000, or more.
Q: Why do you ask for a retainer?
A: Retainer fees are collected so that our attorneys have an operating fund with which to represent you. Some legal proceedings can take a long time, and we don’t want to drag out that process by waiting for money to pay for some basic expenses associated with almost any legal case. Whether this money is used to cover filing fees, pay for an attorney to write motions on your behalf, or even cover the cost of complex legal research, you will be presented with an itemized account of how that retainer is spent. We believe in being good stewards of your resources, and keep records of how we spend our time on your case so that you can be confident that your money is being used wisely. While infrequent, if your case can be completed without using all of your retainer fee we will issue a refund for the unused portion. More often than not, cases cost more than the original retainer. If this is the case you may be asked to pay an additional retainer, or we will provide you with a billing statement.
Q: How can I pay for my Divorce/Dissolution?
A: We are sympathetic to the fact that a Divorce/Dissolution can be expensive. Because we understand this, we try to be flexible in how we accept payment. We do take cash, check, money orders, all major credit cards, and in some unique situations we may be able to arrange payment plans.