Family Law Overview

The Divorce Process

Northeast Ohio Divorce and Child Support Lawyer

An Overview of the Divorce Process

Biviano Law Firm in Warren, Ohio will serve you as a trusted advocate through each step of your divorce from the initial consultation, planning and filing through the trial. Here is an overview of the divorce process.

Filing a Complaint for Divorce

The filing of a Complaint for Divorce starts the legal process. In Ohio, the person served with the Complaint for Divorce has 28 days to file an Answer. This generally requires the assistance of an attorney to make certain that your legal rights are protected. Within four to six weeks after the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the Court usually will have a hearing to make temporary orders. If the parties cannot agree on temporary orders, the court will decide where the children will reside during the divorce proceedings, how much a party will pay the other party for child support and spousal support, and who will be responsible for paying certain bills while a divorce case is pending. Although temporary orders are made early in the case and these orders can be modified by the court, temporary orders are very important for two reasons:

  • It is not unusual for a divorce case to remain pending for one year or more during which time both parties will be legally bound by the temporary orders, and
  • In some cases, the court makes a final ruling which is similar to the temporary orders the parties have been under while the case is pending. For this reason, it is very important for the case to be exceptionally well prepared by the attorney prior to the temporary orders hearing in order to achieve the most favorable outcome for the client.


Soon after the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the attorney is obligated to engage in Discovery. This is a legal term meaning exchange of information. Written questions, which are called interrogatories, will frequently be sent to the other party along with a Request for Production of Documents. It is also common for wage information, monetary and credit account information, and other financial data to be obtained from employers, banks, and other financial institutions in the early stage of the case.

Child Custody and Support

Divorce is a complicated legal process. When a marriage is terminated by divorce, the court must allocate parental rights and responsibilities (also known as determining custody), make a child support order where appropriate, determine whether either party should pay the other party spousal support (formerly known as alimony), and equitably divide the parties' assets and debts. After temporary orders are issued, the court will schedule a pretrial hearing. The purpose of the pretrial hearing is for the attorney to explain to the Judge what the case is about, clarify areas where the parties can agree, and identify those areas where the parties disagree. At this point in the case, all financial information and any needed appraisals of assets such as real estate or business interests should be completed. The Judge will attempt to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. If no settlement can be reached, a trial will be scheduled at a future date and the attorney will attempt to reach a fair settlement while continuing to prepare the case in order to present evidence for the Court to decide contested issues at the final trial.


On the day of the divorce trial all witnesses must be prepared to testify and all documents ready to be presented to the court. It is not unusual for the court to ask the attorney to take some time and determine if a settlement can be reached, even at this late stage of the case. If no agreement is reached, each party will present their case. This can take anywhere from several hours to several days or more, depending on the nature and complexity of the issues within the divorce or child custody case. At the conclusion of all the evidence, the court will usually take the case "under advisement," which means the judge will consider all the issues and write an opinion and judgment entry to be sent to each party after the divorce trial is over.

Careful preparation, planning and aggressive presentation are the most important ingredients of any successful divorce or custody trial.

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For aggressive, effective representation in complex divorce and custody matters, contact our Warren family law attorney.

Contact Us for a Telephone Consultation Regarding Your Case

Biviano Law Firm
700 Huntington Bank Tower
108 Main Avenue S.W.
Warren, OH 44481

Phone: 330-392-5000
Fax: 330-393-0008
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