Divorce Lawyer for Women in Westerville and Columbus, Ohio
Women in the Columbus, OH area need to know where to turn when they are confronted with divorce. No matter the underlying reason for the breakdown of a marriage, the divorcing spouses must prepare for the difficult legal proceedings they face as they settle the divorce process. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we provide the comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel Ohio women need from their divorce attorneys.
Woodford Sathappan McGee focuses exclusively on providing holistic divorce representation to women in Westerville, Columbus, and throughout Delaware, Franklin, and the surrounding Counties in Ohio. We understand that divorce can affect your life for many years to come. For that reason, we not only provide the legal guidance you need to navigate your divorce proceedings with confidence, but we also provide post-divorce support to assist you in reorganizing your life after ending your marriage.
How to Begin the Divorce Process in Ohio
Divorce proceedings begin when a married person files a complaint for divorce with the family court. It is possible for spouses to agree to divorce and file a petition for dissolution jointly. The court then serves formal divorce papers to the other spouse, providing them the opportunity to submit an Answer and Counterclaim. At this point, it is possible for the divorce to proceed in many ways. In the rare case that divorcing spouses agree to all terms, own limited assets, have no children, and are otherwise disentangled from one another’s lives already, an uncontested divorce can unfold relatively quickly.
However, the majority of divorces involve some measure of dispute. The divorcing spouses may disagree about property division, custody of their children, who will keep the family home, alimony, or many other issues. Hiring an experienced divorce lawyer for women is the best way to navigate these challenges. Woodford Sathappan McGee can draft your complaint for divorce or respond to your spouse’s complaint for divorce. We can not only assist you during the preliminary phases of your divorce case but also provide comprehensive legal counsel throughout all your proceedings until your divorce case concludes.
Dissolution vs. Divorce
We strive to ensure every client we represent has a streamlined and relatively stress-free experience with the divorce process. One of the most valuable options for handling divorce in Ohio is alternative dispute resolution, a way of settling your divorce outside of the contested divorce process. Many divorcing couples choose mediation because of the many benefits this form of alternative dispute resolution can provide, including privacy and substantial time and money savings. If you can settle your divorce by agreement, through mediation, this is called a dissolution.
It is relatively common for women facing divorce to think there is no way they could endure negotiations with their spouses. In fact, many assume that any attempt at doing so would be fruitless. The reality is that divorce mediation offers significant benefits to everyone who is willing to take advantage of the process. Even if you and your spouse feel you cannot agree, divorce mediation, with the assistance of attorneys, can offer significant benefits to both of you. Additionally, if you cannot solve all your issues through mediation, we can still assist you in taking advantage of the process to streamline divorce litigation.
If your spouse is entirely unwilling to compromise, your divorce will proceed through litigation the same way as most other civil claims. You can rely on Woodford Sathappan McGee to provide detail-oriented representation through all phases of divorce litigation. With our firm on your side, you can approach this situation with the clarity and peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a dedicated legal team prepared to fight for your best interests.
Essential Elements of the Divorce Process
Every marriage is unique, so every divorce case will unfold differently. Your divorce could involve a multitude of issues and attempting to organize these concerns can be maddening without direction from an experienced divorce lawyer for women. Woodford Sathappan McGee can help you determine the best approach to your divorce case and help you set your priorities in this process. Depending on the nature of your divorce, you could face a quick dissolution or a multiple phase divorce process.
Child Custody Determination – Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities
One of the most challenging aspects of any divorce is child custody determination. If you and your spouse have children together, whether biological or adopted, the court must determine an appropriate Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities. It is vital to remember that no matter how you choose to approach your divorce case, the Ohio family court system must ensure your child custody order suits the best interests and needs of your children. Even if you participate in divorce mediation, and you and your spouse negotiate a parenting plan, you will still need to submit your proposal to the Ohio family court for review and approval.
When the court must rule on child custody and child support, the judge overseeing the matter will evaluate many distinct best interest factors so they can determine which custody, parenting time, and support terms would suit the child’s best interests. The Ohio family court upholds that both parents must contribute to their child’s financial needs, so the judge will review both parents’ respective incomes to determine each parent’s financial obligation. Typically, the lower-earning parent receives child support from the higher-earning parent, unless the higher-earning parent becomes the primary custodian of the couple’s children. The court will also examine the children’s schedule and unique needs to determine the best possible custody arrangement.
Woodford Sathappan McGee can help you make the strongest possible case for child custody. We will gather the evidence and documentation you need to substantiate your arguments and show the court why you deserve the custody rights you seek. Our team will also assist you with your child support determination.
Another contentious issue for most divorce cases is property division. Ohio upholds an equitable distribution law for divorce, meaning both spouses are entitled to equitable shares of their marital property when they end their marriage. This statute is not as strict as community property laws found in other states, but many divorcing spouses will find it difficult to accept some equitable distribution resolutions.
It is extremely important to understand the meaning of “equitable” when it comes to property division in Ohio. “Equitable distribution” does not necessarily mean “equal distribution.” Unlike community property states, equitable distribution states aim for fairness instead of an even 50/50 split of marital property. The court will evaluate each spouse’s contributions toward the marriage, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s unique needs when determining equitable distribution of marital property. If you and your spouse are willing to try divorce mediation, it is possible for the two of you to reach a more personalized property division determination than a judge would issue.
Ohio state law upholds that in a divorce, both spouses are entitled to keep their respective separate property, which can include anything they owned prior to marriage, gifts they received, and inheritance from other family members. Marital property includes all property the couple earned or acquired during their marriage. This may include real property like their marital home and investment properties, vehicles, joint bank accounts, and all income earned by both spouses during their marriage.
If you are concerned about the outcome of your property division determination, Woodford Sathappan McGee can provide guidance and support through all phases of your case. We understand that property division can be a sensitive issue, and you have every right to expect your fair share of your marital property. We will help you gather the evidence and documentation you may need to establish your separate property ownership rights and guide you toward the best possible outcome in the property division process. This is especially important in high asset cases and marriages where the primary source of income was a self-owned business.
In most marriages, one spouse earns more income than the other. When such a couple divorces, the higher-earning spouse may pay alimony to the other to account for this difference in income. Such a payment is designed to ensure the lower-earning spouse can maintain a standard of living similar to what they had while married. The court will also take other actions into account, such as whether a spouse sacrificed job opportunities or quit their job to support the family from home or paid for the other spouse’s education.
Whether you expect to pay or receive alimony from your divorce, it is vital to have a reliable divorce lawyer for women on your side as you navigate this aspect of your case. We can help you prove your income and provide the court with a complete and accurate financial disclosure. In cases where one or both spouses are highly compensated in manners other than cash, such as stock options, restricted stock units, deferred compensation, or other benefits, we will make sure that every dollar is accounted for in your alimony award. We will also ensure the property division determination you reach aligns with your best interests and accounts for alimony you may require to maintain your standard of living. Most importantly, Woodford Sathappan McGee can help you ensure that your alimony agreement is fair and reasonable.
It is an unfortunate reality that many women face domestic violence during a marriage. If you have suffered any form of domestic violence, it is crucial that you remove yourself and your children from this dangerous situation as quickly as possible. Woodford Sathappan McGee takes domestic violence very seriously. We can assist you in securing orders of protection for you and your family to keep you safe during your divorce proceedings. We will help you gather evidence to ensure the Ohio family court system understands the full extent of your experiences when handling your divorce proceedings.
How to Find the Right Attorney for You
Hiring a divorce lawyer for women can be a complex and deeply personal choice. Most women tend to prefer discussing their marital issues with female divorce lawyers. It is natural to feel more comfortable talking about sensitive personal subjects with someone of the same sex, but your choice should ultimately hinge on the attorney’s skill, experience, and the resources they can offer in handling your case.
Consider a few example questions you should ask when interviewing a potential divorce attorney:
- “How long have you practiced family law?” When it comes to hiring an attorney, experience is one of the most important qualities you should evaluate.
- “Do you notice anything unique about my divorce case?” A good divorce lawyer should be able to quickly assess whether your case presents unique opportunities or challenges.
- “What approach do you plan on taking if you handle my divorce?” Most modern divorce attorneys encourage their clients toward divorce mediation to save them time, money, and stress. Ask your attorney for an assessment of your case, and what they believe will be the best way to handle it.
- “How long will it take for my case to conclude?” An experienced divorce lawyer for women should be able to provide a realistic timeline for your divorce. They should identify any variables that could streamline or lengthen the process.
These are just a few examples of general questions to ask any attorney before agreeing to their representation. Take time to develop more questions specific to your situation and choose the attorney who inspires you with the most confidence about your divorce case.
Legal Assistance Beyond Your Divorce
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we know that your divorce order serves as the beginning of the next chapter of your life, but this does not necessarily mean you will never need to revisit your divorce case in the future. This is especially true if you and your ex-spouse have a child custody agreement. In fact, it is common for divorced parents to require modifications to their family court orders in the wake of unexpected life events.
The modification process is unique to family law. When you need to change something about your divorce order, you must submit a motion for modification to the family court. Your divorce lawyer can assist you in drafting this motion, in which you must clearly state your desired changes and provide your reasoning for requesting these changes. For example, if you are requesting increased child support from your ex-spouse because you learned they recently earned a promotion and pay increase, you must provide justification to the court regarding why this change should prompt an increase in child support.
It is possible to request a modification to alter the terms of your child custody agreement, your child support arrangement, or various other aspects of your divorce. It is also possible to request a change to your property division determination if you discover that your ex-spouse concealed assets during your divorce proceedings. Woodford Sathappan McGee can provide the objective and detail-oriented legal guidance you need to navigate difficult situations like these.
It is also possible that you may need to file contempt proceedings against your ex if they violate the terms of your divorce order or fail to fulfill their obligations. For example, if your ex-spouse is refusing to pay child support, we can help you file contempt proceedings against them to secure past-due child support. Alternatively, the court may decide to garnish your ex-spouse’s wages, seize their property, or even put them in jail to ensure compliance with your divorce order.
Ultimately, there are many reasons you may need to revisit your divorce order in Columbus, OH, and Woodford Sathappan McGee can provide the legal guidance you need in these situations. We understand that no one wants to revisit a painful experience. If you do need to return to court for any reason related to your divorce, you can rest assured we will do everything we can to streamline the experience.
Why Choose Woodford Sathappan McGee?
It is not difficult to locate hundreds of divorce lawyers in Columbus, OH and surrounding areas, but none can match the dedicated focus of Woodford Sathappan McGee when it comes to divorce representation for women. We are the only firm in the Columbus, OH area that exclusively represents women facing divorce and have years of experience addressing our clients’ unique concerns. We understand how emotionally challenging the divorce process can be for any woman and will do everything we can to provide comprehensive legal support through every phase of the divorce process.
We will begin handling your case by reviewing the reasons for your divorce and the events that have led to the breakdown of your marriage. Next, we will help you determine the best approach to your divorce proceedings, learning as much as we can about you to provide comprehensive and individualized legal counsel. We understand that the stressful components of divorce can make it difficult to remain objective about practical issues like alimony and property division. You can rely on our team to manage your legal affairs so you can achieve peace of mind during this difficult transition.
If you are looking for divorce lawyers for women in Columbus, OH, Woodford Sathappan McGee is proud to assist you. We have years of experience successfully handling difficult divorce cases on behalf of our clients. Even more importantly, we have the skills and resources to help you navigate your divorce case, no matter how complex it may be. For more information about your legal options in advance of your Ohio divorce and to learn how our firm can assist you, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.