Practice Areas

Divorce, Dissolution & Legal Separation


Ohio law provides three ways for you and your spouse to end or alter your marriage: Divorce, Dissolution, and Legal Separation.

What Is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation is a legal action which does not end a marriage but allows the court to issue orders about the division of property, spousal support, and if there are minor children, child support and parenting time. You and your spouse remain married but live separately. When the court grants a legal separation, you both must follow the court’s specific orders.

What Is a Dissolution?

A dissolution is a legal action that is possible when you and your spouse mutually agree to terminate your marriage and reach an agreement on all issues regarding the division of assets, debts, support, and issues regarding minor children, if applicable.  Neither party has to prove grounds to end the marriage.  (See Property, Support, and Custody.)

After the Petition for Dissolution is filed with the court, you must wait at least 30 days before the court can hear your case, and the court must hear your case no later than 90 days after the petition is filed. At the hearing, the court will review the separation agreement, ask questions about assets and liabilities, and make sure you and your spouse understand and are satisfied with the settlement. If the court is satisfied that the agreement is fair, the court will grant the dissolution and order the separation agreement into effect.

What Is a Divorce?

A divorce is a civil lawsuit to end a marriage when the problems within a marriage simply cannot be resolved and an agreement on all issues cannot be reached without the court’s intervention.  In a divorce, the court makes the final decision and issues orders about property division, spousal support, and any issues regarding minor children in the event the matter is not settled between the parties prior to the final hearing.

Filing for Divorce

A divorce starts when one spouse (the plaintiff) files a complaint with the court. The plaintiff must have a reason why the divorce is being filed and eventually prove the reason for the divorce. Discuss with your attorney why you believe your spouse’s behavior justifies filing for divorce.

Notifying Your Spouse

The court will serve the defendant by certified mail or hand delivery with a copy of the complaint and a summons to appear in court. After the defendant has been served with the complaint, the defendant must file an answer with the court within 28 days. The defendant can file a counterclaim requesting a divorce, and the plaintiff can file a reply to answer the counterclaim.

Reaching an Agreement

During the course of the divorce proceedings, your divorce might be settled by you and your spouse in the event you reach an agreement. When this occurs, a separation agreement is prepared, signed by each spouse, and filed with the court.  If you and your spouse are unable to resolve one or more of your disputed issues, those issues are presented to the court at a final hearing.  The court will review the evidence presented, and issue a ruling based on Ohio law.  It is always our policy to endeavor to resolve every case amicably through negotiations and settlement conferences, but in cases where the court’s intervention is required, the attorneys of the Dungan & LeFevre are seasoned, experienced litigators who possess the experience, skills, and knowledge to bring all cases to trial.

Complex Litigation

Whether your case is an amicable, uncontested dissolution, or a high-asset, complex divorce, the attorneys at Dungan & LeFevre are renowned for progressing straight to the issues and achieving outstanding results.  If your case involves a marriage lasting more than 20+ years, a business, an inheritance, or a substantial gift, it is crucial that you obtain the right advice and work with an experienced Domestic Relations & Family Law attorney. Dungan & LeFevre is committed to addressing the specific needs of each client and will develop targeted legal strategies for the unique circumstances of each case.

Why Choose Dungan & LeFevre?

No matter the circumstances, divorce, dissolution, and separation can be very stressful. We can help ease the process by sharing our knowledge, explaining the process to you, and guiding you through tough decisions.  We work to resolve every case as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.  Navigating through the process of a divorce can not only be overwhelming, but financially stressful and emotionally draining. During these highly-charged emotional times, it is crucial to have strong, committed, and intelligent legal counsel protecting your legal rights and pursuing your objectives.  In the event your case cannot be resolved collaboratively, our attorneys are experienced in all areas of Domestic Relations and Family Law and can act as your advocate to fight for your interests.  Michael Jurek, and Jack Hemm both practice in the field of Domestic Relations and Family Law, and are available to discuss your legal issue with you at your convenience.

Free 30-Minute Initial Consultation

Michael J. Jurek devotes 100% of his practice to Domestic Relations and Family Law, and serves Miami, Montgomery, Shelby, Darke and occasionally neighboring counties.  Mr. Jurek offers a FREE 30-Minute Initial Consultation, which can be scheduled by calling (937) 339-0511.