Dagger Law Divorce and Dissolution Lawyers realize that the decision to end a marriage is a difficult and life-changing event.
The factors that contribute to making the life-altering decision to pursue a divorce are often emotional, complex, and personal. As an experienced legal team, we strive to ensure that your divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is handled in a respectful and efficient manner so that you can process the changes in your life and move on. Dagger Law firm’s Family Law attorneys focus on divorce and dissolution so you can be sure that you have a divorce lawyer who brings a wealth of experience to represent your best interests.
Below are some commonly asked questions that 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 divorce attorneys can assist you in the legal process.
A Dissolution of marriage, on the other hand, can save both time and money by allowing the two married partners to agree on all issues, which must be addressed to the court, before filing a Dissolution petition. These issues include, but may not be limited to:
- Designation of the residential parent, and custody arrangements for any children
- Visitation agreements and shared parenting time that is in the best interest of any children
- Spousal support
- Payment of debts
- Division of property and assets
- 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 associated with property division 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.
According to research conducted by Martindale-Nolo Research in 2015, the average cost of an Ohio divorce would be about $12,500 and typically range from $4000 to $27,000. In this same study, it was found that a divorce with children costs around $18,800. This additional cost is largely based on court-mandated protection and advocacy for the children to ensure that they do not become victims of a divorce. Additional work is needed to properly calculate child support, as well as setting agreed-upon child custody and parenting time.
In cases where alimony is in dispute; such as when there are disagreements about how much a spouse should be able to earn, or whether their reported earnings are factual, divorce cases cost about $13,400 if the case can be settled out of court. If an alimony dispute goes to trial the average divorce cost skyrockets to $26,200! This is a good example to demonstrate why we encourage amicable divorce and dissolution processes.
If there are additional factors, such as the need to represent a client in a criminal defense matter due to not following court guidance in regards to protection orders, or in cases of physical abuse, you should expect the cost to climb even higher.
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 family law issue so that you can be confident that your money is being used wisely. While it doesn’t happen often if your case can be completed without using all of your retainer fees we will issue a refund for the unused portion. It is more usual that divorce 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 on a month to month basis.
Q: How can I pay for my Divorce or Dissolution?
A: We are sympathetic to the fact that a Divorce or 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. There are also many lenders who offer loans to cover legal fees, or you may want to consider borrowing money from a family member or friend.
Q: Does hiring the best attorney mean that I will pay more?
A: Terms like “best attorney” are subjective. How would anyone judge that? Is there a contest for lawyers? To us, getting the best attorney is the one who can do the job effectively and efficiently. This saves you both time and money. Nobody wants to be stuck going through a divorce for over six months, let alone years. While the client controls a lot of the factors that contribute to increased cost and lengthy duration, your lawyer plays a role as well. Experience can allow an attorney to quickly move past the research and planning phase into taking action. At Dagger Law we are proud to have two Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialists. Whether your divorce or dissolution is complex, or straightforward, our legal team can still offer the same efficient and effective representation, and that saves you money and time in the long run.
Q: What is a Legal Separation in Ohio?
A: Legal separations do not legally end a marriage, however, they do allow a court to issue orders regarding division of property, spousal support or alimony, visitation, and support for minor children. So, why go through all this trouble to stay married? Those spouses who are legally separated can still take advantage of things like medical coverage, joint tax returns, and even living under the same roof. While that seems like the kind of situation that most people want out of, there may be considerations for children involved as well. It is an option that we can help with, should a client wish to explore it. It should be noted that there are some residency requirements associated with filing for a legal separation in Ohio.
It should be noted that there is no legal provision for a trial separation, or two people simply saying they are separated. A separation agreement, being a contract between two individuals who wish to separate, may have some legal and binding power as a contract though. As with any other contract, we encourage our clients to understand what they are getting into if they decide to pursue this route.
Will an attorney travel to me, or do I need to come to your offices in either Lancaster or Canal Winchester?
While some meetings with your attorney will need to be held in our offices, we do try to minimize your travel time by offering two convenient locations in both Lancaster and Canal Winchester, Ohio. It is our goal to minimize the disruption to your life caused by legal issues associated with family law matters, and many communications or meetings can be conducted through emails or phone calls. In certain circumstances, we realize that it isn’t possible for clients to reach us, and visits to your location may be required. If a Dagger Law attorney is retained to represent you, they will travel to the necessary court hearings and legal procedures in order to represent you, anywhere in Ohio! Please note that in some instances the cost to represent your case may require an unusual amount of money due to travel expenses. In such cases, we may recommend using legal representation closer to the location of your case. We are happy to provide referrals in these instances if we are able. Whether you are located in Central Ohio, Southeastern Ohio, Fairfield County, Hocking County, Licking County, Pickaway County, Franklin County, Lancaster, Baltimore, Circleville, Buckeye Lake, Newark, Logan, Canal Winchester, the Greater Columbus area or other locations nearby; we have you covered. Check out the nearest location to you by clicking Our Locations Page
How can I check the status of my Family Law and Domestic Relations matters?
First, and foremost, we encourage you to communicate with your attorney, and their support staff, for updates regarding your particular matter. This will provide you with the most recent and up to date information. Communicating frequently with your attorney will allow you to ask questions so that you understand the progress of your case, as well as provide opportunities to give them any new information that your attorney might need to know. If your question is about the status of filing or other basic information, you can follow our step-by-step guide located here:
Don’t see your particular issue listed above? That is no problem! We enjoy a challenge and are happy to assist you with the legal issue that you are facing. Use our convenient Contact Page to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal matter with an attorney.