What can I expect after Divorce?
Most clients realize that divorce can be time consuming and stressful. However, far fewer individuals consider the challenges that can arise after a divorce is finalized.
What Should I do with my Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce?
A divorce is finalized by filing a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce. Each party is provided with a certified copy of the Decree. It is important for both parties to keep the certified Decree in a safe location. A certified copy is required in certain situations. For example, to obtain a passport for a child. If the certified copy of a Decree gets lost, another certified copy can be obtained by requesting it from the court where it was filed and paying a fee.
Division of Assets & Liabilities
Ohio divorce law requires an equitable division of assets and liabilities. After a divorce, property and debts must be divided according to the provisions in the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce if not done already. Personal property must be returned to each party according to the Decree. This is usually rather easy because it just involves giving possessions back to the owner.
Dividing assets and liabilities is not always so simple though. Certain property and debts must be reassigned. For example, vehicle titles often need to be transferred to the correct party and it is important to contact auto insurers to update your policy.
Dividing real estate often requires important legal actions to be taken as well. Quitclaim deeds must be executed to remove a party when real property is granted to the other party. Decrees sometimes require real estate to be sold. This process should be detailed in the Decree.
It is crucial to ensure that a former spouse's name is removed from all liabilities that they are no longer responsible for paying such as leases, mortgages, personal loans, and credit card debt. Also, a former spouse's name should be removed from assets that they no longer have a right to access, such as bank accounts.
Restoring Maiden Name
The Wife simply fills out a form and submits it to the Court prior to the divorce hearing. She then can take filed form to various institutions to have her last name restored. This is the best and simplest way to do it. It costs money and is more difficult to do after the divorce is finalized.
Enforcing Your Decree
It is important that both parties follow the Decree. If one does not, it can cause various issues to varying degrees. It is always a good idea to keep a journal after a divorce.If the other party violates the Decree, make a note of it. Depending on the violation, a Show Cause Motion or other suitable pleading should be filed with the Court. Sometimes it is prudent to file a Show Cause Motion right away and sometimes it is best to wait. Before filing a Show Cause Motion, it is important to try to resolve the matter by simply communicating with the other party and/or having your attorney communicate with the other party's attorney.
An example of a violation that should be addressed quickly is one parent is preventing the other from exercising parenting time. In contrast, if a parent is late for parenting time this should be addressed by a Show Cause Motion after at least a few times.
A Show Cause Motion informs the Court that the other party is not following terms and conditions of the Decree and you are asking they receive consequences. You will also inform the Court of any remedy you want based on the situation. The Court may find the violating party in contempt, order them to serve jail time, order the other party to pay for your attorney fees and filing fees.
Typically, the first time a party is found in contempt, the party that filed the Show Cause will be awarded partial attorney fees and complete filing fees. The party found in contempt will likely have the opportunity to “purge” the contempt by following the Decree for several months without issue. If the party does so, he/she will likely not face additional penalties if they are found in contempt in the future.
Modifying Your Decree
The parties can modify the Decree in writing and may make oral agreements as they see fit. However, if said agreements are not submitted to the Court by way of an Agreed Entry, then the Court will not enforce them. In other words, one party can change their mind on an agreement that is not submitted to the Court. It is always good to keep your promises.
Three Tips After Your Divorce
- Be organized.
- Keep a journal (Brief and concise entries).
- Communicate effectively and in either a business or friendly manner depending on your situation.