DEATH DURING A DIVORCE PROCEEDING IN OHIO

The divorce process in Ohio is straightforward and moves from the petition for divorce to the final divorce order that grants the divorce. In some divorce cases, the divorce proceedings carry on for years due to issues related to child custody, property division, child support, and spousal support being litigated. When this happens, it can be very frustrating. However, when one of the divorcing parties passes away before the divorce is finalized, the consequences can be much more serious. 

It’s a misconception that filing for divorce equals obtaining a divorce. However, simply filing for divorce only starts the process. In Ohio, a divorce is not finalized until the legal issues involved in the proceeding, such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support, are resolved by the divorcing couple’s agreement or by the judge. Moreover, the Court must have the legal authority to grant the divorce. A divorce may be granted as long as one of the parties is a resident of Ohio for six months or longer prior to the filing for divorce. A divorcing party must also be a resident of the county where the petition was filed at least 90 days before filing the petition. If these requirements are not met or satisfactorily resolved, the Court might not grant a decree of divorce. 

In Ohio, death during a divorce is like no divorce at all. If a party to a divorce passes away without creating or updating their will or trust, then the divorcing parties are considered to be still married. Any marital property will go to the decedent’s spouse unless a valid will or other estate planning document speaks to the contrary. 

It is important that your make changes to your will or trust prior to filing for divorce to protect your interests. This should be done through an attorney to avoid violating any laws. It is a good idea to speak with our Ohio estate planning lawyer about your options. 

Dawes Legal, LLC handles both Ohio divorce cases and is an Ohio estate planning law firm. Our office is committed to helping protect what you have earned and ensuring that you are capable of successfully moving forward after your divorce is finalized. We are a professional yet tenacious law firm: we will work diligently throughout the divorce process to bring about the finalization of your divorce decree as expeditiously as possible. Talk to us and learn more about what we can do for you: Dawes Legal, LLC’s office can be reached at (614) 733-9999.