What To Expect When Divorcing

Biviano Law Firm will serve you as a trusted advocate through each step of your divorce from the initial consultation, planning and filing of the case through the trial. Below is a summary 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 the option of filing a Counterclaim for Divorce or legal separation. This ultimately requires the assistance of a qualified experienced 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 an initial important hearing to take testimony and to issue 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.
  • In some cases, the court makes a final ruling that results in being 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.

Discovery In Divorce

Soon after the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the attorney is obligated to engage in pretrial Discovery. This is a legal term meaning the 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. Many cases are complex and the gathering of this information or seeking it from the other side provides certain obstacles that must be navigated around by the usage of various procedural devices known to, developed and practiced by attorney Biviano.

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 series of pretrial hearings. The purpose of the pretrial hearings 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. Many times it will be necessary to return to court in order to obtain needed records and documents not provided during the discovery process requiring input from litigation support experts as well as the client and the historical accountant of the client or the parties.

Divorce Trial

On the day of the divorce trial all witnesses must be prepared to testify, and all documents labeled as exhibits must be 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 total agreement is reached, each party will present their case on the contested remaining issues. 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. Many times the trial judge will require each party through their lawyer to submit written proposed findings of fact and legal conclusions.

Careful preparation, planning and aggressive presentation are the most important ingredients of any successful divorce or custody trial by attending to the matters detailed above.

Contact Us

For aggressive, effective representation in complex divorce and custody matters call our Warren law office at 330-392-5000 or contact us online today.