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4 myths you may believe about divorce in Ohio

The electronic age has brought us access to more information than ever, but is all of that information accurate? It’s important to remember that your best source for legal information is your lawyer.

Do you believe any of these myths about divorce and the division of assets?

Myth 1: Getting a divorce means going through a courtroom trial.

We’ve all seen divorce trials on TV shows, but the truth is that most divorces are resolved out of court. A negotiated divorce agreement, or one achieved through mediation or collaborative law, merely needs to be approved by a judge and turned into a court decree. Many people are able to resolve all or most of the issues in their divorce without taking them to trial.

Myth 2: We’re in a common law marriage, so we don’t have to officially divorce.

If your common law marriage is a valid marriage, you do need to end it officially through the divorce process. If it’s not a valid marriage, you still have the same major issues to resolve, but you do not have to access the court system. Not sure? Ohio ended the practice on Oct. 10, 1991, but otherwise legal common law marriages contracted before that date are still valid. Likewise, if your common law marriage is recognized in the state where you were married, Ohio will generally recognize it.

Myth 3: As a divorcing father, I’ll only get to see my kids on the weekend.

It sometimes seems as if the legal system is intentionally more favorable to mothers when it comes to the allocation of child custody rights and shared parenting, but most fathers can and should be fully involved in their children’s lives. Legally, there’s no rule saying that mom or dad should get a specific amount of parenting time -- the legal standard is that parental rights and responsibilities should be allocated in the children’s best interest.

Myth 4: My spouse is going to keep the house, so I’m no longer responsible for the mortgage.

There are a lot of myths about how the family home is divided during divorce. Generally, if you bought the home while you were married, or if you were married for a significant amount of time, the home will be considered marital property, which must be divided equitably between the spouses.

If your spouse will continue living in the house after the divorce, whether you will still be responsible for the mortgage is open to negotiation. If it is determined you will not be, you’ll need to take steps to have your name removed by the bank so you don’t remain liable if your spouse defaults.

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