Dissolution / Collaborative
Divorce / Divorce

Ending your marriage can often be one of the most challenging times in your life.  There are many emotions involved when ending a marriage such as anger, fear, disappointment, sadness, and anxiety.  Over the past decade, I have seen many of these emotions negatively influence decisions people make during divorce.  This often has drastic consequences, leading to expensive legal battles that create financial burden, resentment between spouses and even their children, and ultimately results in a third-party making decisions for you about how your finances will be divided and who will care for your children. 

I founded Lewis Legal Solutions because I believe that it is important for you to understand that you have options when it comes to ending your marriage.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach.  Your family is unique, and you know what is best for them.  Ending your marriage does not have to be financially or emotionally destructive.  You deserve an attorney who will objectively assess your situation with your best interests in mind and help you move forward. 

It is my goal to help you end your marriage with dignity and respect.  I pledge my best efforts to ensure you have the information available to you to make the best decisions you can.  I connect my clients to other professionals such as counselors, financial and tax advisors, and business experts as needed to ensure your concerns are addressed.  

Ending your marriage is a difficult decision and certainly not one to be made lightly.  With Lewis Legal Solutions, you will not go through this process alone.

Schedule a consultation with experienced divorce attorney Mary Lewis Turner to help you decide which process is best for you and your family in order to achieve your goals in ending your marriage.

Dissolution

In a Dissolution, you will end your marriage with an agreement.  You and your spouse will decide how to divide all of your assets and debts.  If you have children, you will also establish a parenting plan.  A parenting plan specifies a schedule for when each parent will spend time with the children, how you will divide the children’s expenses, and how you and your spouse will make decisions regarding your children’s needs going forward.  Your attorney will help you negotiate your agreement and ensure you understand your legal rights.  

Some couples choose to attend mediation to help them reach an agreement for their Dissolution.  Mediation is a process where you and your spouse meet with a neutral third-party mediator who will assist you in reaching an agreement.  You may choose to have an attorney represent you at a mediation or you may attend mediation without an attorney.  If you and your spouse reach an agreement during mediation, your attorney will draft and file the necessary Dissolution documents with the court and schedule your final hearing.  

Once you have reached an agreement for your Dissolution and your paperwork has been filed with the court, you will have a short final hearing with a Judge to confirm your agreement.  Your final hearing may occur outside of the courthouse in a conference room or even by Zoom with a private retired Judge.  A private Judge allows for more convenient scheduling for your final hearing. 

Your attorney will ensure all of the paperwork is properly processed through the court, and you will never have to go to the courthouse unless you choose to have your final hearing held there.  

Schedule a consultation with attorney Mary Lewis Turner to learn more about the Dissolution process and whether it is the best option for you and your family.

Collaborative Divorce

Through the Collaborative Divorce process, you will have a team of professionals assisting your family in reaching a resolution.  This process ensures both parties have access to the information and resources needed to achieve a smooth end to your marriage.  The collaborative team consists of an attorney for each spouse, a neutral financial advisor, and a neutral family coach.

Through a series of meetings, you and your spouse will work closely with your professional team to help you reach an equitable division of your assets and debts and prepare an age-appropriate parenting plan specifically designed for your children’s needs.  

A Collaborative Divorce process is a private process that provides a safe environment for you to express your concerns and address your goals.  Unlike a Dissolution or regular Divorce, the Collaborative Divorce process is uniquely designed to allow space to work through the numerous emotions that arise when you are ending your marriage.  Your trained collaborative team will help you stay focused on reaching a positive and equitable resolution.  

If either party decides to terminate the Collaborative Divorce process, neither party’s attorney will represent them in court, and the neutral financial adviser and family coach cannot be called into court as witnesses.  This allows for complete transparency in the Collaborative Divorce process which is not possible in either a Dissolution or regular Divorce.  

Your attorney will ensure you understand your legal rights through every step of the Collaborative Divorce process and help you make informed decisions.  Your attorney will also reach across the table in a Collaborative Divorce to understand your spouse’s concerns as well in order to help your family achieve a resolution that is workable for your future. 

Families that choose the Collaborative Divorce process are typically happier with the outcome of their agreement than couples that choose either a dissolution or contested divorce.  Couples that utilize this process usually report an easier transition to effectively parenting their children after the divorce. 

Divorce

A Divorce is a contentious process where one party sues the other and asks the court to end their marriage.  If you and your spouse cannot agree on one or more aspects of your financial separation or parenting agreement, then a judge will decide how you will divide your assets and debts, and how you will raise your children going forward.  

Sometimes, going to court is unavoidable.  In those cases, it is still possible to reach an agreement and resolve the case before the Judge issues a decision.  You may also reduce the issues the Judge must decide by reaching an agreement on as many aspects of your Divorce as possible and only having the Judge decide the issues that you and your spouse are unable to agree on.  

There are many actions that can be taken during the Divorce process and it is important to have an attorney guide you through the process.  Experienced Divorce attorney Mary Lewis Turner will ensure that you and your interests are protected and help you achieve your goals.

Post Decree Cases

Many people return to court after their divorce or dissolution is over to revise their parenting plan or to adjust the amount of child support or spousal support.  In some situations, parties may even return to court to re-open their divorce cases because one person failed to disclose significant assets during the initial case.  Attorney Mary Lewis Turner will guide you through the post decree process, advise you of your legal rights, and help you determine a reasonable amount of child support or spousal support given your specific situation.  Schedule a consultation today to learn more about your options.

Frequently asked questions

Can you have only one attorney in a dissolution? My spouse and I already have an agreement, we just need a lawyer to draft the paperwork and guide us through the court process. Can you do this?

Yes, but an attorney can only provide legal advice to one person, not both spouses.  I can draft the dissolution paperwork for both parties and ensure everything is processed through the court.  If you and your spouse already have an agreement, it should not be an issue if you do not both have an attorney.  However, if you have a disagreement, I can only advise and represent one person.  The person I do not represent may hire their own attorney to advise and represent them.  Some couples will hire me to draft the paperwork and guide them through the court process, and the spouse I do not represent will hire their own attorney simply to review the paperwork and advise them before they sign it.

My spouse’s attorney drafted dissolution documents, and I just want you to review them to let me know if there is anything I should be concerned about. Is this possible?

Yes.  I frequently review dissolution paperwork drafted by other attorneys.  You can schedule a consultation with me and provide those documents in advance.  I will advise you of your legal rights, and advise you if something should be included in or removed from the documents.  I will answer your questions and ensure you feel confident that your agreement is accurately reflected in the documents you sign.  After our meeting, you may decide that you are comfortable with proceeding on your own without further representation, or you may decide to retain me to negotiate on your behalf if needed.

How long does a dissolution, divorce, or collaborative divorce take?

This varies based on your specific situation and the time it takes to resolve the case.  Dissolutions and Collaborative Divorces typically take between 3-6 months but some are significantly longer, even taking up to a year or more.  Divorces litigated in court typically take 1-1.5 years or longer and can be significantly longer if there are appeals involved.

How much does a dissolution, divorce, or collaborative divorce cost?

This varies based on your specific case and the amount of time and work needed to complete it.  During your consultation, we will discuss the expense involved based on the details of your specific situation and the services needed.

What is the difference between sole custody and shared parenting?

Sole custody means that only one parent will make decisions regarding your child.  For example, what school will your child attend, who will be your child’s doctor, or what activities will your child participate in?  

Shared parenting (formerly called joint custody) means both parents will work together to make these types of decisions for their child.  

Whether you have Sole Custody or Shared Parenting does not affect how much time you get to spend with your child.

If my spouse gets sole custody, will I lose my children?

No. Custody essentially means decision making.  It does not have anything to do with the amount of time you get to spend with your children.  One parent may be awarded sole custody, but both parents could still be awarded equal time with their children.  The courts typically prefer shared parenting so both parents are working together to make important decisions for their children.  The court must consider many factors before ordering one parent to have sole custody so it only occurs in certain circumstances or by agreement.  Schedule a consultation with experienced custody attorney Mary Lewis Turner to determine whether you qualify for sole custody or shared parenting.

If I choose the Collaborative Divorce process but my spouse does not hire a Collaborative Divorce attorney, can we still use this process to end our marriage?

I will only represent a client in the Collaborative Divorce process if their spouse also chooses to be represented by a collaboratively trained attorney.  The Collaborative Divorce process requires solution-oriented professionals who are collaboratively trained.  I am happy to provide more information to both you and your spouse about the Collaborative Divorce process, and I can provide referrals to other collaborative attorneys for your spouse to consider.  I believe that it is very important for both parties to understand this process and feel comfortable and protected.  The Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals (COACDP) strictly governs our practitioners and ensures that we receive the highest quality and up-to-date training every year to help our clients achieve effective resolutions.

If we choose a Collaborative Divorce, do we have to include a financial neutral and communication coach?

Yes.  The Collaborative Divorce process works extremely well when it is utilized properly.  That means, all team members are included in their full capacity from the beginning of your case.  The neutral professionals are extremely important in helping you achieve a successful resolution.  Every team member does not have to be present at every meeting, but they must be part of your full team from the outset.  Problems always arise when parties try to piece-meal the process and exclude neutrals.  The Collaborative Divorce process is an effective and reliable process.  If you want it to be beneficial for you and your family, you must commit to following it properly.

The material on this webpage has been prepared by Lewis Legal Solutions for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific matter.  No attorney-client relationship is implied or created by the information found on this website.  Lewis Legal Solutions practices law within the state of Ohio.  Individuals should seek the advice of legal counsel licensed in their state.