The Divorce Process
What to Expect in Your Ohio Divorce
Guided by Certified Specialist Attorney John M. Dohner
The Dohner Law Firm favors a collaborative approach to dissolving marriage. Focused litigation has its place, but with through, in-depth planning and a philosophy of resolution, we aim to avoid the delays, expense, and animosity of courtroom battles.
Contact our Akron office to arrange a confidential consultation. Attorney Dohner is a certified Family Relations Specialist with over 25 years of experience. He can explain the divorce process and the possible outcome of your case.
Filing for Divorce
The process begins when you or your spouse files a Complaint for Divorce. The other party has 28 days to respond. Whether you are initiating the complaint or answering, Mr. Dohner is a believer in divorce planning to protect your personal and financial interests and anticipate where the friction will be.
The discovery phase begins as soon as the divorce papers are served. Parties exchange requested documents relating to employment, earnings, debt, and value of assets. The first court hearing is scheduled a month or so after the complaint is filed. Unless you have an agreement with your spouse, the court will issue temporary orders regarding:
- Who stays in the marital home
- Primary or shared custody and visitation
- Amount of child support and spousal support
- Responsibility for paying the mortgage and bills
These court orders will govern your life for one to two years until the divorce process is finalized. Because temporary child custody and support also influence the eventual outcome, we must go into this hearing well prepared to make your case.
Status Conference/Initial Pretrial Conference
The courts encourage divorcing parties to work out their differences to the extent possible. About three or four months into the divorce process, Mr. Dohner will appear before a family law magistrate in a status conference or initial pretrial conference to discuss unresolved issues. Mr. Dohner is a firm believer in principled negotiation, mediation, or arbitration to resolve these issues.
About nine months after commencement of the proceeding, there is a hearing before a judge if you have not reached an out-of-court settlement. In the pre-trial conference, the attorneys explain to the court which issues are resolved and which may need to be litigated. The judge might advise on remedies, an indication of how he/she might ultimately rule. If no settlement is reached, a trial date is set. Meanwhile, Mr. Dohner will explore possible solutions to avoid a courtroom showdown.
It is now a year or more since the complaint was filed. The judge will offer a last opportunity to settle. If parties cannot agree, the trial commences. Documents are presented; witnesses are called; and arguments are heard on the remaining disputed matters. Few cases go all the way to trial, but many are not resolved until those last stages.
John M. Dohner is a seasoned litigator who has tried many divorce cases in Summit County and northeastern Ohio. He is known for his ability to handle complex property division, such as business valuation, retirement assets, and separate property, as well as thorny issues like primary custody, child support deviations, and spousal support.
Attorney Dohner is caring and helpful, delivering personal and compassionate legal services throughout the process. Dealing with legal problems can be a difficult time, particularly when they involve emotional issues, such as a divorce or a child custody dispute. Attorney Dohner goes beyond the scope of his duty and works to counsel clients through whatever challenging situation they may be facing. Contact our office today.