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. Whether you reside in Columbus, Canal Winchester, or in Lancaster; we have you covered. Check out the nearest location to you by clicking HERE
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.
According to research conducted by Martindale-Nolo Research in 2015, the average cost of a divorce in Ohio as 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. 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.
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 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. What does that even mean? 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 this, 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 straight forward, we can still offer the same efficient and effective representation which saves you money and moves you quickly through the process.
Will an attorney travel to me, or do I need to come to your offices in either Lancaster or Canal Winchester?
While some meetings 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, 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.